The benefits of meditation in the morning have less to do with meditation itself and more to do with setting the stage for the day ahead.
Meditation is an umbrella term for a variety of mental focus techniques that can help unify the body and mind. It involves aspects of concentration, relaxation, mindfulness, and emotional neutrality. For many people, it’s also a spiritual experience.
Meditation is generally viewed as a safe way to improve your overall well-being, and it may provide a number of physical and mental health benefits.
If you want to add meditation to your routine, there’s no “bad” time of day to do it, but the benefits of meditating in the morning may be appealing.
The best time of day to meditate is the time of day that works for your schedule and your level of motivation.
“The best time to meditate is the time that you can actually commit to doing it,” says John Mathews, a licensed clinical social worker from Midlothian, Virginia.
“Conventional wisdom is that the morning is a great time to do it, and if you can make time in the morning, that is great. But if not — any time you can set aside for meditation is the right time.”
Starting the day off right
Aine Rock, a certified meditation instructor and integrative wellness expert from Los Angeles, California, explains that meditating in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
“Morning meditation lays a foundation of calmness and balance for the day ahead,” she says. “It helps in centering the mind, managing stress, and enhancing overall emotional well-being.”
Managing extra-stressful days
Morning meditation may help you manage feelings of worry, anticipation, and anxiety on particularly stressful days.
Mathews points out there’s a meditation saying, often attributed to Gandhi, that on the days he is really busy, he meditates for 2 hours in the morning instead of 1.
“The point he is making is that meditation can help us prepare for the day, and the days that we may think we have the least time for meditation are perhaps the days we can benefit the most from it.”
Morning peace and quiet
Meditation in the morning can set the stage for your day, but the morning may also set the stage for meditation.
According to Caroline Schmidt, a licensed clinical social worker from St. Louis, Missouri, mornings tend to have an innate sense of peace before the hustle and bustle of the day.
Your mind is naturally calm from rest, and the world around you is quiet from collective slumber.
“Early mornings give an opportunity to have time alone, while everyone else continues to sleep,” she says. “This time can be for you, and you alone. And that’s something that’s pretty rare to experience, in a world that’s ever more connected by technology.”
Easy opportunity to practice meditation
One of the great things about meditation is that you don’t have to set a significant period of time aside for it, especially when you’re just starting out.
Schmidt adds that mornings are also a perfect time to explore meditation in an environment where you’re already relaxed and comfortable — your bed.
“As you’re just waking up and are still lying in bed, you can take the chance to connect with yourself for even just 5 minutes,” she says. “You can mindfully feel and explore how your body feels under the blankets.”
The research on how long you need to meditate to experience benefits is limited and mixed. Some experts suggest repetition, competence, and consistency are more important than duration.
One study from 2018 found that 13 minutes a day for 8 weeks was enough for most inexperienced meditators to notice positive changes.
Sometimes a few minutes of mediation may be all you need to achieve the right level of focus and clarity to meet a challenge head-on.
“There really isn’t a good or bad amount of time to meditate,” Mathews says. “I advise my clients that even 30 seconds of deliberate meditation can have a benefit.”
Any type of meditation can be a morning meditation.
The practice you decide on should be one that appeals to your goals and your principles. If you aren’t a spiritual person, for example, spiritual-focused meditation may not be for you.
Examples of meditation formats to choose from include:
- mindfulness meditation
- spiritual meditation
- focused meditation
- mantra meditation
- transcendental meditation
- loving-kindness meditation
- progressive relaxation
- walking meditation
- focused breathing
- trauma-informed meditation
Schmidt says she prefers morning meditations that are based on gratitude or movement. Both of these options are ways to focus on appreciation for the gift of another day and your ability to move along with it.
You can slowly incorporate meditation into your day in a way that makes sense and doesn’t feel like a chore.
Rock and Mathews recommend:
- starting with a small time goal of 5–10 minutes
- setting aside time specifically to meditate, if possible, but staying flexible
- exploring different areas of your home or nature for a meditation spot
- trying different meditation practices to find a good fit
- learning more about your chosen meditation format
- connecting and sharing experiences with others who also meditate
- utilizing aids like meditation apps or calming music
Most importantly, Rock says to be kind and patient with yourself while you learn. Meditation is intended to enhance well-being, and it’s OK to figure things out as you go.
The benefits of meditation in the morning have to do with setting your day up for success. Morning is a naturally quiet time, and meditating early can start your day out on a positive, focused note.
There’s no wrong time to meditate, however. Morning may be a great time for meditation, but the “best” time of day for meditation is whenever you’re most likely to seize the opportunity.