Meditation is one of those things many of us want to start doing, but struggle to actually start. One of the questions our mindfulness coaches receive frequently is about the best time to meditate during the day. It’s a tough question, and the truth is that there isn’t one perfect time that works for everyone.
Different Times to Meditate
There are a few times people meditate frequently that we’re going to cover. These include:
- Morning Meditation
- Meditating in the Afternoon
- Evening Meditation
- On-Demand Meditation
Keep in mind a few things. First, you can benefit from finding what works for you. We are all different individuals with different body chemistries, schedules, and habits. Investigate, and discover what is useful.
Next, remember that there are many different types of meditation. One meditation practice may work well in the morning, while another may be best suited for evening meditation practice. If you are interested in meditating with a teacher, you can try One Mind Dharma’s free online meditation classes.
Finally, remember that there is not one time to meditate for greatest benefit. The research on meditation has found benefits regardless of when the individual meditates. We will cover a few advantages of each time, but don’t get too stuck on which time will be absolutely beneficial or perfect.
Morning meditation is my personal favorite. I love starting the day with a few minutes of practice. There are many benefits of morning meditation. You will have the opportunity to start the day off on a healthy and mindful note, you will build a routine in the morning that incorporates meditation, and meditation can actually help you wake up in the morning.
Some people like to meditate right when they wake up, while others like to have their coffee or tea first. Find what works for you. Set aside a few extra minutes in your morning. One of the downsides of morning meditation is that some people may experience a lot of sleepiness right when they wake up, or you may find yourself thinking about the upcoming day. Give it a shot. Try a guided morning meditation practice to get your day going right.
Meditation in the Afternoon
Some people love their period of afternoon meditation. You can do it at your lunch break or in the late afternoon for a little pick-me-up. This can create a little break in our day, and help us from falling into dealing with stress in unhealthy ways. Think of it as your afternoon rejuvination practice!
One downside of the afternoon meditation period is that some of us can’t seem to find time to fit it in. If you work in a formal workplace environment, such as an office or school, it may be hard to find some time to sit alone quietly. The afternoon can also be a time of sleepiness, especially if you’ve already had your lunch. However, if you can find even five minutes to spare in your afternoon, you can get a bit of a “reset button” and find some new patience, mindfulness, peace, and energy.
Meditating at Night
Meditation at night is a tricky one. According to SleepAdvisor, there is indeed research to suggest that meditation in the evening will help you sleep better. If this is your goal, definitely give the nighttime meditation a shot. You can even find meditation practices to do while in bed at night! A little bedtime meditation can help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep more consistently.
The downside is that if you are trying to do a dry practice such as concentration, you may find the mind sleepy. You also have a day full of experience, worries, and thoughts floating around, so it can be a tough time to really settle the mind. However, many people love meditating to wrap up their day, so give it a shot!
On a similar note, you may want to investigate other practices at night. The practices of meditation and yoga share many similar benefits, and I personally find a short yoga practice at night to be super helpful. I use the Yoga with Adriene videos in the evening, as they are gentle, meditative, and help both my mind and body wind down. Couple it with a period of meditation practice, and you’re golden!
The on-demand meditation can really help us to live one day at a time. Rather than trying to find the perfect consistent time during your day, you may try just meditating when the time is right. Maybe you have a few extra minutes between tasks, or some free time in the morning after dropping the kids off. Take advantage of these free moments and use them to practice some mindfulness.
The great part about the on-demand meditation is that you’re meditating when it feels right. You aren’t forcing yourself just to fit a routine or what you think you “should” be doing. The downside is that if we leave too much freedom in our minds, we may not end up meditating. Sometimes the routine, especially for beginners to meditating, can be beneficical in helping establish a regular practice.
Finding the Best Time for You
As mentioned, there is not one time to meditate that works for everyone. The best advice we can give is to try each one a few times, and see what works for you. Investigate, and keep an open mind. You never know what may be most useful for you. Maybe you’ll find yourself relaxed and at ease during mornings, or maybe the bedtime mindfulness is where you find yourself most supported and helped.
We dicuss in our post 25 Awesome Benefits of Life Coaching that a life coach can help you find what works for you. This holds true for our mindfulness coaches and meditation practice. With the help of a trained coach, you can find what is benefiting you and what you can leave behind.