What's The Best Time To Meditate?

By Leo Gura - March 7, 2017

First, let’s not lose sight of the highest goal: it’s far more important to just meditate anytime in the day whenever you can vs not meditating that day at all.

But once you’ve got that habit locked in, you might want to optimize it further. Best times to meditate are:

  • Whenever you’re naturally most alert and awake
  • Immediately after a nap
  • Early morning (as long as you aren’t still sleepy)
  • After orgasm/sex

Worst times to meditate:

  • When you’re dead-tired
  • When you’re sleepy
  • At the very end of your day
  • When you’re motivated to be elsewhere: hungry, horny, busy, etc.

The general rule of thumb is: your meditation session will be most effective when you are most refreshed, most mentally sharp, and least sleepy. Whatever time of day that is for you, that’s your ideal time to meditate. For some people that will be early morning. For others, mid-day. For others, right after gym. Etc.

Right now I meditate first-thing when I wake up, but this is not my ideal time, because I’m still sleepy and foggy. I like to have a second meditation session mid-day, when I’m most alert. Of course when I’m most alert I tend to procrastinate meditation the most because I tend to want to put that alertness towards getting work done. It’s a counter-intuitive move to interrupt the peak of my workday for an hour of meditation, but this is an investment that will pay back in spades over the long term, so it’s worth it — an example of applied strategic thinking.

Note: this rule-of-thumb also applies to self-inquiry. Especially so!

I find my meditation and self-inquiry ability skyrockets immediately after naps, and orgasm. Because in both these cases the mind is relaxed and attentive, but not sleepy.

Also, make a distinction between an established meditator vs a newbie meditator. Once you’ve spent a few years doing daily meditation, your practice will be strong enough that you can meditate almost anywhere, any time. But during those first few years of starting up your practice, you need to focus on building a quality meditation. This is where it really helps to meditate at the ideal time in the day. If you’re a newbie, you need all the help you can get. It won’t do you much good to ingrain a habit of meditating while you’re dead-tired. Your results from that will be very minor compared to meditating when you’re most alert. The key to meditation is to do it consciously, not mechanically.

Always be double-checking with yourself: “Has my meditation become mechanical? Am I just going through the motions of meditating but actually forgetting to be aware?”

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