How To Have A Deep And Restful Sleep Every Night Thanks To The 90 Minute Rule
If you’ve read me before, you know I’m a Sleep Junky. There’s nothing I’m more passionate about than sleeping, and I’ve been practicing for years.
However, it is not always easy to have a deep sleep. So I always like to try new techniques and products that help me sleep like a baby and wake up as a responsible adult with bills to pay.
Melatonin, binaural beats, sunlight lamps. You name it, I’ve tried everything. You could create a series called Learning To Sleep with Mindsmatter.
Every time I hear about a new sleep trend I go into bounty hunter mode. I will not rest (no pun intended) until I try it and see if it works.
Today, I will tell you about the famous 90 Minute Rule. I recently heard some friends talking about it and shortly after I came across an article explaining how it works. If I’m sure of one thing, it’s that our phones are listening to us.
What is the 90-minute rule?
Interestingly, while researching this method, I came across two versions of it.
They both share the same scientific reasoning but are applied differently.
What you should know first is that sleep is a process that is divided into cycles. The REM cycle is the best known and is where rest happens. The ideal is to wake up at the end of a cycle and not in the middle of it.
When we wake up rested, energetic, and have no trouble getting out of bed, it’s because we wake up at the end of a REM cycle.
When we felt like our sheets were lead, and we woke up like a raccoon in rehab, we were surely in the middle of a cycle.
So what should you do?
Make sure to wake up between cycles. How to do it? That’s where the fun begins.
I found two ways to accomplish this, and they both call them the 90-minute rule. However, in some articles, they named one as the sleep calculator and another as the snooze hack.
Version A: Sleep Calculator.
This one is a bit tricky and requires a bit more calculation. This one took more work, maybe because I suck at math.
To ensure that you wake up at the end of a REM cycle, you must count back from the time you want to wake up in blocks of 90 minutes. That way, you will know what time you should go to sleep.
For example, let’s say you must wake up at 6:00 am. Calculating backward 90-minute cycles, you should go to sleep at 9:00 pm or 10:30 pm.
I had some problems with this method as it is a bit strict. If you cannot fall asleep at the correct time, you must wait 90 minutes to try again.
Fortunately, this article from the Sleep Health Foundation explains that this is not an effective method.
They do recognize that waking up at the end of a REM phase helps us feel rested. However, there are many variants to consider.
Not all of us manage to fall asleep in the same amount of time, and changing the time to the time we usually go to sleep for 90 minutes can make it more difficult. Also, waking up in the middle of the night is inevitable, and we couldn’t recalculate cycles again.
So I’ll give this version a solid Maybe.
Version B: Snooze Hack.
This one is a bit more straightforward and it honestly worked better for me. This method will help you avoid hitting the snooze button every 5 minutes, which is terrible for your rest.
It consists of setting two alarms, one at the time you should wake up and another 90 minutes before. So to wake up energetically at 8:00 a.m., you set an alarm at that time and another at 6:30 a.m.
That way, you make sure you have a full sleep cycle before waking up.
I have been using this method and although I cannot guarantee that I wake up in better spirits, I have stopped snoozing the alarm every five minutes.
Facts or fiction?
Several studies support or disapprove of each of these versions.
Mainly, both are based on a proven fact. Everything we know about REM cycles. However, they fail to generalize in the time of each cycle.
The 90 minutes per cycle is average, but it is not the same for everyone. For some, it may be longer or shorter. So not everyone can be advised to do the same.
My personal recommendation? Try to vary the time of the cycles, try 60, 70, 80, or up to 100 minutes and evaluate the results.
There is the possibility that calculating the cycles does not have a real effect, but this leads us to have healthier sleeping habits. Worrying about the time we go to sleep and not hitting the snooze button repeatedly.
I will continue looking for new myths about sleep to test and you should not do it that way.
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