The Best Time Of Day To Meditate

Ancient texts refer to different times of the day as beneficial meditation hours. However, the best time to meditate is the time that works best for you and that doesn't feel forced.
Community/Publishing Manager at Insight Timer
best time to meditate
Community/Publishing Manager at Insight Timer

The best time to meditate is the time that works best for you. Although ancient texts refer to auspicious meditation hours before sunset, at midday, or in the evening, it’s the meditation you actually do, because it fits best with your schedule, that’s the most effective. 

Some meditation practices can make our minds and lives feel more spacious and free. Rather than forcing your meditation into one set time, explore with practicing at different times to see when meditation feels best for you. When you find a time that works, commit to it.

We explore the pros and cons of common meditation times below.

Morning, Midday, Evening: When Is The Best Time To Meditate For You?

Morning Meditation

Is morning the best time to meditate? Morning, and especially before sunrise is a special time of day when the world is in a state of transition. We move from darkness toward light, nature awakens as we do, and our surroundings are quiet, peaceful and relatively still. Those who meditate in the early morning find that the quietude of the natural world is reflected in their own minds at this time. It’s calm outside, and we feel calm within. 

By making meditation the priority of the day, we’re much more likely to get it done. For many of us, it’s just too much of a challenge to step away from activity and return to the cushion once the tasks of daily life have begun. 

Meditating first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. We can recall our meditation and remember its benefits as we move throughout the day. 

Benefits Of Morning Meditation

  • The world around us is relatively calm, quiet, and still
  • We’re likely at home in a private, quiet space
  • Prioritizing our practice ensures it will get done
  • Morning meditation sets the tone for the day
  • The stomach is empty which is traditionally considered beneficial
  • Pre-dawn is an auspicious time to meditate

Start your day with these popular guided morning meditations:

  1. Morning Meditation With Music - Happiness Affirmations Jonathan Lehmann 10:28
  2. Morning Ritual - Setting Daily Intentions Jason McGrice 10:03
  3. Morning Meditation - Guided Visualization Bethany Auriel-Hagan 6:01
  4. I AM Morning Affirmations: Happiness, Confidence, Freedom, Love, Passion & Purpose Kenneth Soares 15:01
  5. Good Morning Gratitude Practice David Gandelman 10:52

For some, it just doesn’t make sense to wake up early enough for a morning meditation. Work schedules vary as well as sleep schedules and family life. Meditating first thing in the morning doesn’t always work for those who wake up feeling groggy or too agitated by the pending tasks of the day ahead. 

If this sounds like you, try making space for meditation later in the morning, or get a few things done, and come back to your meditation practice midday.

Read more: Do you regularly feel anxious when getting up? Explore how a healthy morning routine can alleviate a buzzing mind and anxious thoughts.

Midday Meditation

By noon we’re awake and so is the world. There can be an energy of alertness and clarity that arises when the sun is highest in the sky. We’ve likely gotten a few important tasks out of the way, and we’re ready for a midday break. It’s possible that, for you,  midday is the best time to meditate. 

Meditating at noon allows us to stop and slow down even amidst the movement of the day. It’s a chance to practice our ability to create space between the pace of the world outside and the pace of our world within. While challenging at first, we soon learn that nothing is as urgent as we once thought it was, and by taking a mindful break, we can return to the busy world with greater clarity and peace of mind. 

Midday Meditation Hacks: How To Meditate In The Middle Of The Day

  • At work? Find a quiet space in the bathroom, an unused conference room, or in your car
  • Lunch break? Meditate before you eat for greater alertness
  • Put all devices on pause. Turn off notifications
  • Go for a walk or take your practice outdoors
  • Put meditation on the schedule as you would for any meeting
  • Plan your morning with a noon meditation in mind

Take a break to unwind with these guided midday meditations:

  1. Meeting Preparation Meditation Kate James 2:26
  2. Reducing Work Stress Sara Christensen 4:20
  3. Take A Moment To Pause At Work Neil Tranter 8:56
  4. Start Work Emily Toner 6:00

Discover a variety of free mindfulness and work meditations that help to manage work stress.

Daytime can be a tough time to take a break, whether due to scheduling conflicts, or the activity of the mind. When the mind is in peak activity mode, and work or life is pulling us in all directions, to stop and meditate can cause more stress than it’s worth. With an understanding that this too is what the practice can help us overcome, we need to be loving and kind to ourselves. We need to give ourselves a chance for a successful and enjoying meditation. 

If meditating midday causes too much stress, an afternoon or evening meditation may work best.

Read more: Discover how to lower stress levels and increase happiness levels by meditating during a long commute.

Afternoon & Evening Meditation

In the hours before and after sunset, the world is once again in transition. There’s a natural shift in energy and it’s a good time to pause and reflect. Our day is done, or winding down, and your meditation can allow for a more spacious and conscious transition between the activity of the day and the quiet of the evening. 

Similar to our midday practice, an afternoon meditation is an opportunity to remember that we may never feel completely “done” with our to-do lists. We must give ourselves the space to meditate regardless, and in the late afternoon, it may be easier to challenge ourselves a bit with this practice. After 15, 20, or 30 minutes of meditation, we return to the same problems, different problems, or none at all, but we’re likely better equipped to handle them. 

Benefits Of Late Day Meditation

  • The tasks of the day are (mostly!) accomplished
  • Afternoon meditations help us unwind, or help us feel more aware and alert
  • Afternoon meditation create space between work life and home life
  • Dusk is a natural time of transition between day and night
  • Evening practice finds us back at home, in a private space
  • Evenings may feel quieter than the day
  • Evening meditation can improve sleep

Let go off the day and come home to yourself with the help of these guided meditations, ideal for the afternoon and evening:

  1. Just Got Home Andy Hobson 12:16
  2. Evening Meditation Andrew Martin 13:25
  3. Coming Home 19:51

While meditating in the evening indeed improves sleep, we don’t always desire sleepiness in meditation. If sleep is not the intention of the meditation, it’s best to leave an hour or more of space between your meditation and your bedtime to keep the mind alert and awake.

Read more: Kate James reflects on how to find inner peace and unhook from drama in our daily lives.

Meditation Anytime & All The Time

Finding a regular meditation time that works for you each and every day will accelerate your practice. We’ve all had an experience of the body’s intuitive schedule. We’ve woken up before the alarm clock, we feel sleepy at bedtime, and the same can happen when we commit to a regular meditation time. Our minds can and will get more focused, peaceful, and calm at meditation time, and eventually, the mind itself will assist us in our meditation out of habit.

That said, we can also meditate at any time! If we find ourselves with a canceled meeting, if we’re bored, angered, feeling joyful, overwhelmed, or anything, we can step aside and meditate.

Read more: Meditation teacher Giovanni Dienstmann reflects on how to meditate properly to fully experience the many benefits of meditation.

Eventually, we learn to integrate our meditation practice into our every moment of our lives. Practice mindfulness on your cushion, then practice it as you’re brushing your teeth. Practice breath awareness on your cushion, then practice it when your coworker is yelling at you. Practice loving-kindness on your cushion, then practice it on your morning commute. 

The best time to meditate is the one that works for you. Meditate often, stay aware of your experience, and you’ll learn which time of day is best through meditation itself.

Learn how to meditate in 7 days with the help of our free course. Explore your breath, mind, body and emotional states. After learning several techniques, you will walk away ready to continue your practice using whichever method suits you best.

Meditation. Free.
Always.