Measuring Conscious versus Subconscious Thought


First, I’m not a psychologist or neuroscientist so please excuse and misuse of terms of art.

I’ve noticed that when I use Muse first thing in the morning there is a noticeable difference in my calmness versus later in the morning after I’ve exercised (first in the morning about 60% calm, after exercise 99%). The strange thing is that during both times, I don’t sense that my mind is wandering to any great degree and certainly there’s no difference in wandering between the two times.

Here’s my question: Does Muse measure both conscious and subconscious thought? I’m thinking that maybe first thing in the morning my subconscious is working harder.

A side question: Has there been any research on the role of exercise and endorphins in promoting calmness in meditation? Has anyone else on the forum experienced the same phenomenon?


If you meditate first thing in the morning, there is definitely a greater degree of subconscious thought and imagery (and the closer to sleep consciousness one gets, the more so called hypnagogic events can occur), which is often put in connection with theta wave activity. Whether that is a fair generalisation, and if so, exactly how this theta wave activity looks on an EEG (most apparent in what sites of the brain, etc.) I don’t know. But it is often mentioned.

I also think that the difference you see could be partially ascribed to body tension - the body is typically the stiffest in the morning (no, not only that part of the body…), and after exercise, being thoroughly warmed up, is more flexible - and (I would imagine) has an easier time relaxing any tension.

This is yet another uneducated opinion, so take it for what it is, until somebody who actually knows comes along.


My two cents:

I noticed that when I first wake up in the morning, my perception of time is that it passes more quickly. This is one of the reasons I meditate first thing in the morning – I’ve found it’s easier to meditate for longer durations.

I’ve also done a lot of meditation right after working out, and I’m not seeing a difference in session scores when compared to morning sessions.

I hope more people post questions like this because it’s good to see actual data from people using Muse: that brain sensin’ headband. :slight_smile:


the general rule is that morning meditation (which tends to be the standard for most serious meditators) will find your mind less cluttered with the flotsam and jetsam of the day

you will not have had time to pick up notions, plans and projects which are likely to be on your mind in an afternoon or evening meditation

your mind is “cleaner” in the morning

obviously this is something that is highly individualized and ymmv

i can use an analogy from yoga which i practice every day: morning practice finds your muscles more stiff but your energy and focus tends to be better

evening practice finds your muscles looser and more pliable but your energy and motivation tends to be lower