When Is the Best Time to Meditate?

person meditating on the floor of their bedroom

COROIMAGE / Getty Images

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Meditation is a practice that can help you relax and cope better with stress. It can also have a wide range of other health benefits. Even if you've enjoyed the practice in the past, finding the time to incorporate regular meditation into your life isn't always easy. 

Does when you meditate have an impact on the benefits or effects it has on your mind, body, and well-being? For many people, morning can be the best time to meditate. But even if you can't work meditation into your morning routine, it can benefit your mind and health at any time of day.

Here's what you should know about when to meditate, why it is important to find the time to meditate, and some tips that can help make meditation a regular habit.

When to Meditate

So when is the best time to meditate? While it's essential to choose a time that works best for your schedule, there may be certain times that can help you maximize the benefits of meditation. 

In the Morning

Meditation first thing in the morning can be an excellent opportunity to set the tone for the day. During these early morning hours, when work, family, and other commitments haven't yet started vying for your time and attention, you often have the focus and clarity to focus fully on meditating. 

How long you meditate is up to you and may depend on your goals and preferences, but even a quick five-minute meditation can provide a healthy start to your day.

Research suggests that a brief, daily meditation can produce many positive effects, including enhanced memory, attention, and emotional regulation.

Setting your intention for the day with meditation can also help you maintain a positive and relaxed attitude that can help you better manage any stresses that might arise during the day.

During Your Lunch Break

If you have difficulty making time for meditation in the morning, consider doing it over your lunch break instead. This can be a great way to take a much-needed break from work and recharge for the afternoon ahead. 

How to Meditate at Work

Find a quiet place to meditate to make the most of your lunchtime meditation. If you're at work, this may mean stepping away from your desk or cubicle to find a nearby conference room or empty office. If you're working from home, try sitting on your porch or in the backyard.

In the Evening

Ending your day with meditation can help you wind down and prepare for a good night's sleep. This can be especially helpful if you have trouble sleeping or are ruminating on the day's events before bed. 

If you typically have trouble sleeping, try meditating for 10 to 20 minutes before bed. You may also want to focus on breathing exercises or listen to a guided meditation designed to help you relax and fall asleep.

After You Get Home From Work

For many people, the time immediately after work is when they're most likely to feel stressed. This can make it difficult to relax and may lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating or drinking alcohol.

Meditation can help you decompress and transition from "work mode" to "home mode" in a healthy way. 

After a Workout

Meditation can also be a great way to cool down after a workout. If you feel revved up or stressed out after hitting the gym, yoga studio, or running trail, take a few minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breath. This can help center your mind and ease any post-workout tension you may be feeling. 

Try meditating in the same place you worked out to make the most of your post-workout meditation. This can help anchor the relaxation response during meditation to the space where you exercise, which can help you cool down following a workout.

When You Need to Relax


In addition to these specific times of day, it's important to be flexible and meditate whenever you need it most. If you're feeling stressed or anxious, take a few minutes to step away from whatever is causing your discomfort and practice some mindfulness. 

When choosing when to meditate, always prioritize your mental health. If you're feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or down, take a break to focus on your breath and be present in the moment.

While there are many ideal times for meditation, the best time to meditate is whenever you can fit it into your schedule. Always prioritize your mental health and meditate whenever you need it most.

Whenever You Can

The best time to meditate is when you can fit it into your schedule. While there may be certain times that are ideal for meditation, the important thing is to find a time that works for you and make it a regular habit. 

It takes time and consistent effort to build a new habit. You can make it easier by picking a time that helps you stick with it. If you know meditating in the morning will be difficult, pick another time of day, whether during your lunch or in the evening when you're winding down from the day. The longer you stick with it, the more likely it is to become a lasting habit.

If you have trouble meditating at home, try listening to a guided meditation during your commute or while you're out for a walk. You can also download meditation apps that provide short, 10-minute meditations you can do anywhere, anytime.

A 2022 study comparing the impact of morning vs. evening meditation found that meditation that occurred at either time decreased anxiety and increased mindfulness. The study's authors concluded that meditation could improve mental well-being whether it was done in the morning or evening.

Benefits of Making Time for Meditation

In addition to finding the best time to meditate, it's essential to understand why meditation can be beneficial. While there are many reasons to meditate, some of the most common include: 

  • Reducing stress: One of the most common reasons people meditate is to reduce stress. Studies show that mindfulness meditation can help relieve symptoms of stress-related conditions like anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
  • Improving sleep: If you have trouble sleeping, meditation may be able to help by reducing racing thoughts and promoting relaxation. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can improve sleep quality and quantity.
  • Increasing focus and concentration: Meditation can also help improve focus and concentration. If you have trouble staying present or you find yourself constantly distracted, regular meditation can help increase your attention span and improve your ability to stay on task.

Meditation has several other health benefits, including normalizing blood pressure, improving immune function, and decreasing cortisol production. So, if you're looking for a way to improve your overall health and well-being, consider making time for meditation.

Why It's Important to Make Time for Meditation

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to take care of yourself. But taking even just a few minutes out of your day to sit quietly and focus on your breath can greatly impact how you feel.

So, if you're looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, make sure to carve out some time for meditation. You may be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.

Recap

Meditation can reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost focus and concentration. It can also help ease anxiety, depression, and pain. Plus, it's a great way to promote overall wellness and find a sense of calm amidst a hectic day. 

Tips for Making Meditation a Habit

If you're new to meditation, starting slowly and being patient with yourself is important. Here are a few tips to help you get started: 

  • Find a comfortable position: You can meditate sitting, lying down, or even standing. Just ensure you're comfortable and won't be distracted by your body. 
  • Focus on your breath: Once in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe deeply and slowly, in and out through your nose. 
  • Notice thoughts, but return focus to your breath: It's normal for ideas to pop into your head while meditating. When they do, just let them go and refocus on your breath. 
  • Start with a short session: If you're starting, try meditating for 5 to 10 minutes daily. As you get more comfortable with it, you can gradually increase the length of your sessions.

A Word From Verywell

With a little practice, meditation can be a great way to reduce stress, improve sleep, and promote overall health and well-being. Find a time that works for you and make it a regular part of your routine. Your mind (and body) will thank you.

7 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Basso JC, McHale A, Ende V, Oberlin DJ, Suzuki WA. Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators. Behav Brain Res. 2019;356:208-220. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2018.08.02

  2. van der Weiden A, Benjamins J, Gillebaart M, Ybema JF, de Ridder D. How to form good habits? A longitudinal field study on the role of self-control in habit formationFront Psychol. 2020;11:560. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00560

  3. Basala T, Morin B, Durocher J. The effects of morning vs. Evening mindfulness meditation on sleep, anxiety, and decentering: a pilot analysis. The FASEB Journal. 2022;36(S1):fasebj.2022.36.S1.L7631. doi:10.1096/fasebj.2022.36.S1.L7631

  4. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Meditation and mindfulness: What you need to know.

  5. Black DS, O'Reilly GA, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Irwin MR. Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):494. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081

  6. Norris CJ, Creem D, Hendler R, Kober H. Brief mindfulness meditation improves attention in novices: Evidence from ERPs and moderation by neuroticism. Front Hum Neurosci. 2018;12:315. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00315

  7. Sharma H. Meditation: Process and effects. Ayu. 2015;36(3):233–237. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.182756