A lot of people have both asked and answered the question, “When is the best time to meditate?” Is morning meditation better than in the evening? Until now, there has not really been a clear answer.
Most answers come from the perspective of, “Well, because my guru told me so.” Or, “Because that’s the way it’s always been done.”
In this post, I’ll go through all the theories, what they’re based on, what I’ve noticed in my own personal experience meditating, and which times of day have the most benefits and scientific evidence to back it up.
Morning Meditation Just After You Wake Up
In the argument of morning vs evening meditation, Some people believe if we do a morning meditation first thing after we wake up, our brain’s pineal gland, which many people believe to be our third eye, will still be producing melatonin.
The theory goes, your brain is still in this in-between sleep and awake state so that we are best primed to have a deep and successful meditation.
While there is some truth to that, morning meditation does bring with it all sorts of other benefits. In the morning before our day has begun, we are less likely to become side-tracked or interrupted. The day becomes so full of unexpected surprises, but before all that happens we can set aside time for a morning meditation every single day.
In addition, a morning meditation first thing in the day is a phenomenal way to start your day off right. It’s the best way to set your day up for mental, physical, and spiritual success. How you start the day has a tremendous impact on how the rest of your day goes.
Some days, I wake up and I don’t feel that pop-right-up-and-take-on-the-day-with-a-smile attitude. Sometimes I’m still sleepy and mopey when I first wake up. But right after my morning meditation, I’m always right as rain.
Morning Meditation At 4 AM
This is an answer that has been given by many spiritual teachers I’ve met because as they say, the energy of the earth is still mostly undisturbed at this time.
While I am able to meditate at 8 am completely undisturbed, a morning meditation at 4 am may have its advantages. After all, the discipline acquired from meditating this early will certainly spill over into all aspects of your life.
Also, who doesn’t feel great waking up at 4 am and getting a jumpstart on the day? Well, truth be told, I don’t, so 4 am is not the time for me. But if you’re a morning person, your schedule allows and you love the idea of this particular challenge, you’ll surely find 4 am to be a very productive and advantageous time for morning meditation. This should definitely clear things up between morning vs evening meditation.
Evening Meditation Just Before Dinner
Some gurus tell their followers to meditate in the evening before dinner. While they don’t usually explain a reason, it does have its advantages.
The end of a stressful day can be resolved with a relaxing meditation. It helps separate work and home life and allows us to be more present at home.
For many people, especially those who cook dinner, meditation before dinner is not really possible. And that’s ok too.
Just as a morning meditation sets us up for the next several hours, an early evening meditation can do the same for our evenings. If your schedule allows, it’s a great way to bring peace throughout your whole day and night.
Evening Meditation Right Before Bed
This one is a bit of a controversy. Some people say this confuses sleep with meditation. Not only this, but they say that rather than becoming more fully alert and aware in meditation, they become sleepy and doze off.
Certainly, as stated in the previous section, meditating earlier in the evening gives you a chance to experience more of the benefits of meditation.
However, from my experience, meditating before bed has its advantages too. For one, when I meditate in the evening with the intention to fall asleep, I usually fall asleep in under two minutes. The quieting of the mind sets me up for a quick, deep and peaceful sleep.
Second, when I meditate before bed but I need to make sure I don’t doze off because I didn’t have a chance to do my second meditation of the day yet, I make sure to do it either sitting up or with some pillows under me to prop my head up. This way I avoid falling asleep.
For an excellent night’s sleep or for help with getting to sleep, I highly recommend meditating every night when you lie down to go to sleep.
The Real Answer For When Is The Best Time To Meditate
You guessed it: anytime is the best time to meditate. Morning vs evening meditation doesn’t matter, you can meditate on your lunch break, coffee break, bathroom break, before or after breakfast, before or after the gym, with or without the kids, etc…
Meditate when you’re stressed or calm, happy or sad, excited or worried. If you get stressed at work, you can just take a minute to pay attention to your breathing. You’re always breathing so you can always be meditating. You don’t have to close your eyes and sit in the lotus position to meditate.
As for carving out a time to sit down and close your eyes, picking a regular time and never missing a day is the absolute best way to make any new habit stick, and that is what this is all about—developing a daily practice.
With consistency, every day your peace and happiness will just grow and grow. Set a time that fits into your schedule and do your best to never miss a day.
I like to do a morning meditation first thing when I wake up before any of life’s surprises can occur, and last thing at night because that’s when my schedule allows.
These times provide me with inner peace and joy, health and happiness, discipline and focus that I need to live my best life.
When Not To Meditate
Perhaps the only bad time to meditate is when you’re driving or operating heavy machinery. Although, even those activities can be turned into spiritual practices. You know how? By bringing your full awareness to what you’re doing. Maintain peace and patience, and observe your observations without labeling. Just don’t close your eyes 😉
If you’ve ever wondered about whether it’s best to meditate with open eyes or closed eyes, here is a perfect podcast for you.