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Why you should not meditate at night

It can mess with your sleep quality by:

It can lead to subpar meditation sessions because:

My Experience With Meditating At Night

I actually love meditating every night. It allows me to relax or tap into deeper states of consciousness at a faster pace than when I meditate in the mornings.

But this wasn’t always the case.

I was a victim to all the frustrations I talk about in this article until I became more experienced with meditation.

Practicing meditation at night is a powerful tool you can leverage with intentionality but only after you understand how to meditate properly.

Key Takeaways

  • If you’re trying to fall asleep: It can mess with your sleep quality by delaying when your body gets ready for bed (melatonin production), making you more awake and alert, making your heart beat faster, and even making you a bit warmer.

  • If you’re trying to practice meditation: You might end up falling asleep instead of meditating, or you might start thinking of meditation as just a way to fall asleep.

  • At night, you might feel more of the bad vibes or negative energies, and you might not be as focused or disciplined as you’d be during the day.

  • Choose meditation practices that help you relax and not get too caught up in your thoughts like: Guided meditations, Alpha meditations, and Yoga Nidra.

  • If you’re aiming for deep meditation, keeping some lights on might help you stay awake and not fall asleep too quickly.

why you should not meditate at night

Have you heard that you shouldn’t meditate at night?

Night time meditations are actually fantastic and have their own advantages over morning meditations…so why do some people say that you shouldn’t meditate at night?

Well, it all comes down to your goals and level of experience in meditation.

Most people either have the goals of getting good sleep or deepening their meditation practice so I’ll briefly go over the pitfalls you want to avoid depending on your goals.

Then, I’ll share the solutions so you can learn how to maneuver around the downsides while experiencing all the upsides like an experienced meditator. 

Let’s get into it!

This is from my blog about Meditations and Personal Development in general. Here are the 9 Personal Development Skills that changed my life.

Why You Should Not Meditate At Night

You might hear reasons for why you should not meditate at night.

It’s not that meditating at night is BAD per se.

But depending on your goals, meditating at night can be frustrating, sometimes downright counterproductive.

Let’s talk about the reasons why.

Why Night Meditation is Bad for Sleep Quality

reason 1 – Delayed Melatonin Production

why you should not meditate at night , delayed melatonin production

If you’re not an experienced meditator, you may not be slowing your body down more than you think.

Instead of slowing down your brain activity, there’s a chance that you might be in beta or even high beta without even realizing it!

This causes a delay in melatonin production which is essential for falling asleep.

By the way, other things that could cause a delay in melatonin production is any sources of light, lights from digital screens in particular. This is why blackout curtains are so effective at helping you fall and stay asleep.

reason 2 – Heightened Alertness and Focus

why you should not meditate at night, heightened alertness and focus

If you’re a beginner meditator, another trap you might fall into is getting caught up in your thoughts, feelings, and sensations of your body.

The quiet stillness of the night might actually bring up even more things for you to think about which your brain will happily oblige by keeping you up for longer than if you hadn’t meditated in the first place!

reason 3 – Increases in Heart Rate

why you should not meditate at night, increase in heart rate

Another frustrating experience for the beginner meditator is an increase in your heart rate.

This might happen when you’re reflecting on your day and your body starts re-living the experience you’re reflecting on.

Even if it’s not a particularly emotional, embarassing, or traumatic event and your heart rates not increasing, your brain activity will be high making it really difficult to fall asleep.

reason 4 – Increases in Body Temperature

why you should not meditate at night, increase in body temperature

And the last on this list is an increase in body temperature. The causes are similar to what I mentioned above with the heart rate and brain activity.

Did you know that hot showers help you fall asleep not because your body temperature is high? It’s actually the opposite.

The high body temperature cools off quickly when you get out of the hot shower and it’s the low body temperature that actually induces sleep.

So if you’re getting caught up in your thoughts and feelings and getting worked up in your heart, brain, and body, no wonder it’s so difficult to fall asleep even though you’re ‘meditating’!

Are you seeing the pattern?

It’s not that late night meditation is always going to lower your sleep quality. You just have to make sure you’re meditating the right way to make sure you’re not triggering the states that keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

I’ll talk about how you can do that in the next section. But first let’s talk about why night meditation might be a bad idea for someone who wants to deepen their meditation experience and practice.

Why Night Meditation is Bad For Meditation Practice

reason 5 – Falling Asleep

why you should not meditate at night, falling asleep

This one sounds obvious but has to be said.

Falling asleep during meditations isn’t bad. It might be what your body desperately needs!

But in order to experience the benefits of deeper meditations, you do have to be ‘awake’ in theta or delta whether it’s your morning meditation or nighttime meditation. And meditating at night when you’re at your most tired state isn’t going to help!

On that note, if you’re having trouble staying awake during your meditations, make sure you’re not meditating on your bed or laying down on your back. We’re just asking for it!

reason 6 – Associating Meditation With Sleep

why you should not meditate at night, associating meditation with sleep

If your one and only meditation session is the one you do right before bed time, you might start to associate meditation as a fancy sleeping pill.

If your goal is to fall asleep there’s nothing wrong with that… but if you want to intentionally linger in deeper states of consciousness, you definitely don’t want ot be falling asleep everytime you sit down to meditate.

reason 7 – More Susceptible to Negative Energies and Influences

why you should not meditate at night, susceptible to negative energies and influences

This one depends on the person because some people are very sensitive to energies while others aren’t at all.

Even if you are sensitive to energies, some days might be totally fine while others will make you start sweating bullets.

If you’re on the more sensitive side, try establishing a consistent meditation habit in the morning first. Then when you get better at feeling the negative energies even in the morning but have no problem letting them bounce right off of you, try going back to night meditation again.

reason 8 – Lower Discipline and Focus

why you should not meditate at night, lower discipline and focus

Practicing anything when we’re at our most tired and least disciplined is hard.

You might find that instead of zoning in, you’re spacing out.

Get more experienced with morning meditations where you’ll learn how to connect with the present moment consistently and reliably.

When you’re familiar with the process and how it feels for your mind and body, you’ll be ready to take off the training wheels and start practicing meditations at night.

So what now, Mike?

Are night time meditations a waste of time and should be avoided at all cost?

Not necessarily!

Solutions for Getting Better Sleep With Nighttime Meditation, Meditation Techniques

why you should not meditate at night, solutions for better sleep quality

The reason why meditating at night to get restful sleep works for so many people is because it helps them do one thing:

relax.

The only time we’ll get into trouble is if we fail to do this by getting caught up in our own thoughts.

So how do we avoid this?

It all comes down to choosing the right meditation techniques.

Some meditation techniques are designed to stimulate your awareness or encourage you to ask questions.

Some are designed to help you relax.

As a general rule of thumb, any meditation technique that helps you relax or focus on your breathing is going to help you avoid all the downsides I mentioned above.

The 4 kinds of meditation that I personally recommend are:

  • Guided Meditation
  • Alpha Meditations
  • Yoga Nidra Meditations
  • Mindfulness Meditation or Breath Meditation

The kinds of meditation practices I would avoid are:

  • Mantra Meditation
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Any type of meditation that requires mental or physical engagement

If you’re just starting out, I always recommend sticking with the guided meditation technique. Guided meditation will keep the mental chatter and conversations to a minimum.

The more experience you have, the more you should think about learning other meditation techniques that you can use to achieve your desired state in minutes, if not seconds!

Practicing and ‘mastering’ a new meditation technique is like adding another tool to your toolbelt of meditation practices. You can pull out the right one for the right situation whenever you want!

Falling asleep hasn’t been an issue for me in years. After mastering Alpha Meditations, I can relax and fall asleep within a few minutes every night. If you really want to guide your mind and body to deep relaxation, learn how to do Theta Meditations as well.

PRO TIP

Just make sure you’re letting go. Falling asleep is like descending down a flight of stairs. And the way you take a step down is by letting go.

Be very careful about re-engaging your thoughts, feelings, and body once you’ve started this process.

Your mind and body will ‘wake up’ and this resurfacing is what makes falling asleep hard for some people.

Solutions for Deeper Meditation Practice With Nighttime Meditation, Meditation Techniques

why you should not meditate at night, solutions for deeper meditation practices

If meditation was a game, meditating at night would be like playing the game on hard mode. 

But it does have its benefits!

The main benefit for meditating at night is all the reasons why it’s so difficult to practice meditation at night in the first place: staying awake.

Another way of looking at being tired and feeling sleepy is that your body is primed to enter theta or even delta.

What might take 30-40 minutes in the morning might only take 1-2 minutes at night.

The hard part is staying awake.

So what I personally do is I keep on some lights.

I normally use an eye mask during my meditation practices but I don’t use them for my night meditation either.

My body is leaning so heavily toward falling asleep to begin with that I don’t give it anymore ammunition.

This helps me strike the perfect balance between my body being super ready to fall into theta/delta states while my environment helps me stay awake without completely falling asleep.

PRO TIP

If you still find that you’re falling asleep too quickly or too deeply, this could mean that you just need more practice with meditations overall.

Pay attention and familiarize with your thoughts, feelings, and body as you descend from beta, to alpha, to theta and beyond.

When you’re familiar with each step, you’ll know where you are even in your evening meditations and when to stop your consciousness from descending too far or too quickly into the delta (sleeping) state.

Conclusion

conclusion for why you should not meditate at night

Personally, I love meditating at night. Whether it’s for relaxation getting ready for bed or engaging in deep levels of meditation, meditating at night is great.

But it’s important to realize how meditation may be counterproductive to your goal depending on your level of experience with meditation.

Watch out for the signs that would keep you from relaxing or staying awake, whichever the case might be, and learn to overcome it using the tips I mentioned.

If you’re new to meditation, I would say stick to morning or mid-day meditations for now.

But meditating at night doesn’t have to be something that scares you or something you shy away from. You can harness the power with enough practice.

For an introduction to relaxing meditations, learn more about alpha meditations here and for deeper levels of relaxation, check out this article on theta meditations here.

Happy Meditation Journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why not meditate at night?

why not meditate at night

Meditating at night can be challenging for various reasons such as delayed melatonin production, heightened alertness and focus, increases in heart rate, increases in body temperature, and the risk of associating meditation with sleep.

Is it bad to meditate right before bed?

is it bad to meditate right before bed

Meditating right before bed can have negative effects on sleep quality and may hinder the ability to reach deeper states of meditation due to the body being in a tired state.

What are the dark effects of meditation at night?

what are the dark effects of meditation at night

The dark effects of meditating at night include difficulties in falling asleep, associating meditation with sleep, increased susceptibility to negative energies and influences, lower discipline and focus, and challenges in achieving deeper levels of meditation practice.

Which time is not good for meditation?

which time is not good for meditation

Nighttime may not be the most ideal time for meditation, especially for beginners or those seeking to deepen their meditation practice, due to the challenges it poses in terms of relaxation, focus, and maintaining wakefulness. But with practice, familiarity, and experience with meditation, you can learn how to reap the benefits of nighttime meditation without suffering from the downsides!