As I am myself trying to improve my meditation practise every day, I was wondering how important timing is. I stumbled upon the 3 a.m. meditation practice, which some claim is the best time to practice.
Is 3 a.m. the best time to meditate? The reason why 3 a.m. is said to be the best time for meditation is that, according to ancient wisdom, this is when earth consciousness is silent. However, when trying to implement meditation in your daily life in a sustainable way, morning (6-8 a.m.) and evening practice seem to be better options.
Now, let’s dive deeper into why 3 a.m. is said to be the best time for meditation…
3 a.m.: the Best Time for Meditation?
Why 3 a.m. is a special time to meditate
In ancient wisdom, 3 a.m. is considered to be a special time for meditation. At 3 a.m., “earth consciousness” is silent, helping to have a deeper, more profound meditation practice.
Where exactly does this belief come from?
“Brahma muhurta” means the time of Brahma, or “Creator’s hour”. It is said to happen approximately 1hour 30 minutes before the sun rises and to be the most auspicious time for meditation practice, or other spiritual activities.
I, personally, believe that the times of the day indeed play a very important role in your mind and meditation practice – or even on other types of activities. One could argue that our biological rhythm is involved.
For instance, it seems like we naturally feel very tired at certain times of the day on average, such as between 1 and 3 p.m., and from about 12 p.m. to 6 a.m.
So it can certainly be argued that your brain emits different types of waves, in sync with your biorhythm, which could influence your meditation practice, making it seem deeper at certain times of the day.
Another way to look at it is to think about our surroundings and environment. Most of us now live in cities, surrounded by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.
Well. Your neighbours, when awake, make noise, drive with the car, take a phone call, check out the latest news on TV, work on their laptop etc. Although we often forget about it, science has shown that all of this, especially when compounded millions of times, has an impact on your brain and, more generally, your health.
Hence, when everyone around you is still asleep and everything is still quiet, your mind and brain will simply feel more relaxed as well. Which is why – if you are well awake – meditating at 3 a.m. could give you a very deep experience.
What speaks against the 3 a.m. meditation practice?
Obviously, if you have a rather normal life rhythm, then waking up at 3 a.m. every day may be a challenge to you and your health. A good night of sleep is essential, and, I would argue, to prioritise before thinking of your meditation practice.
In my opinion, though you can practice the 3 a.m. meditation from time to time if you feel like it, a better option would be to wake up slightly before your city’s mass awakening time. You can develop a feeling for this over time – and each city has a different waking hour, in my opinion.
For example, Berlin has an amazing nightlife, and people tend to go to work later (around 10 a.m.) and stay awake longer at night. It can still be fairly quiet shortly before 8 a.m.
Other cities I know can already feel very busy at 8 a.m.
Try to get a feeling for your own city’s rhythm and, if possible, wake a somewhat earlier than the rest of your neighbours in order to enjoy more calmness.
When is the best time to meditate for the greatest benefits?
Meditation is most impactful when practised every day. Therefore, although every time of the day certainly will have a different influence on your way to meditate, the first thing you should consider is sustainability.
I highly recommend putting in place a morning meditation practice. Not only will you benefit from the calmness around you, but you will also feel more at peace yourself and have a feeling that the day is yours, from the very start of it.
Besides, this is when your willpower is strongest, and hence the best time to put in place important habits. Even if it does not seem like meditation would require any effort – you would be surprised to see how difficult it can be to get yourself to meditate after a long day of work.
However, when it comes to meditation, any time is a good time. If you are better able to set up an afternoon or evening meditation routine, then go for it. I have discussed whether meditation routine is good or bad more in details in this article.
How to have the most benefits out of your meditation practice
Besides the 3 a.m. (or very early morning) meditation practice, there are several ways in which you can improve the benefits of your meditation practice.
First and foremost – as we have already mentioned above – you should meditate every day. Meditation is like a muscle. You need to train it very often. And the brain barely needs any time to recover. The effects of meditating every day will compound over time and your meditation practice will become deeper quicker, over time.
Second, make sure you have a separate area for your meditation practice. It could be a comfortable cushion or chair. And it would be best if it is a dedicated space or object. It will help your brain differentiate and switch into meditation mode quicker in the long run.
Some people argue that combining meditation with other activities will also help you have a deeper experience. For example, starting with a walk or light run, then doing some yoga and meditating afterwards could help you a lot meditating deeper.
The reason for this is that your body was able to release accumulated tensions, and your mind had time to relax. It makes it that much easier to focus and have a great meditation experience.
Other ways to spice up your meditation practice
Another way to augment your experience is to meditate in a group. I have felt the difference in the past. Even when meditating with just one other person, I was able to go deeper and had a different experience.
Last, fasting also appears to enhance the meditation experience. I tried this in the past and I would say that it certainly felt more intense to meditate while fasting for a few days.
This probably is because, when fasting, your digestive system and body can have a rest. Digestion takes an incredible amount of your body’s energy, every day. This is why, when fasting, some people report that they are better able to focus. Paradoxically, they seem to have more energy throughout the day.
However, fasting can be difficult. If you plan on undertaking a longer fast you should first consult your medical doctor.
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