Interest in meditation has been growing in recent years, as more and more people realize the power of this ancient practice. Having a daily meditation practice can help you to stay calm, clear, and connected to your inner wisdom, helping you to navigate your life with more peace and ease. It can help improve focus, lift your mood, and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
If you’re considering starting a meditation practice, then you might be wondering about the best way to get started. Making meditation a daily habit is definitely recommended, but what time of day should you meditate to get the best results? The answer isn’t necessarily the same for everyone, but there are advantages and disadvantages to certain times of the day.
Early in the morning
Many people enjoy meditating in the morning, as part of their morning routine. This allows you to take advantage of the quiet hours before the chaos of the day starts to creep in. Unfortunately, it’s common for most people to start the day by checking their phones, which can throw you into a state of overwhelm before you even get out of bed. Starting with meditation instead can help you to clear your mind and prepare for the day ahead, so you can navigate whatever challenges arise with greater ease. In addition, you’ll likely feel the most refreshed and energized in the morning, so you’ll be less likely to start feeling tired during your practice.
Getting enough sleep is always a priority. If you choose to meditate in the morning, make sure you go to bed early enough that you’re not feeling sleep-deprived when you wake up. Otherwise, you’ll just spend your whole meditation practice trying not to fall asleep.
In many yoga traditions, it’s recommended that you practice asana (physical yoga poses) first, and then do breathwork and meditation afterward. After exercise, it’s often easier for the body to remain still, allowing the mind to move deeper into the practice.
Even if yoga isn’t your exercise of choice, you might find it beneficial to meditate right after some type of physical activity. For example, you could try a few minutes of meditation after you go for a run. If you have a regular exercise routine, then adding meditation at the end could help you build your meditation habit.
Some people find it helpful to meditate after their workday is done. This helps to create a boundary between work and home life so that you can leave any work stress behind and move more freely and joyfully into your evening. Creating this type of boundary can be especially tricky for those who work from home, and meditation can be a beautiful way to separate work from play.
Try a few minutes of meditation at the end of your workday, with the intention of setting aside your work for now and moving into a relaxed and calm headspace. After taking this time to center yourself, you’ll likely be more present with your family or friends and will find it easier to unwind for the evening.
Don’t meditate right before bed
Although different people choose different times of day for meditation, there’s one time of day that you should generally avoid. If you meditate right before you go to sleep, then it’s easy to fall asleep during your practice. In addition, over time, your brain will learn that meditation means that it’s time for bed, and you’ll likely find yourself becoming tired every time you meditate.
You can certainly choose to meditate towards the end of the day if you’d like, but try to leave at least an hour between meditation and bedtime, so that the two states stay clearly separate in your awareness.
Choose what works best for you
Although there’s plenty of advice out there about the “right” time of day to meditate, the truth is that whatever works for you is what’s right. You’ll need to find what feels best for you, considering your natural rhythms and the demands on your time. You can always try a few different options until you find something that really works for you. Remember that your practice doesn’t need to be long to be effective. Just five or ten minutes of sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing can make a huge difference in your energy levels, focus, and mood for the whole day.
Of course, you’re not limited to meditating only once a day. Some people choose to meditate twice or more every day, and others simply add in an extra meditation session any time they feel stressed or overwhelmed. However, the greatest benefits of meditation come when you make it a daily habit. Try starting with once a day, and see what you experience over the next few weeks. If you make meditation a part of your routine, then you’ll reap the many benefits of this powerful practice.