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Use the 90 minute rule for better sleep

28-05-2014

Use the 90 minute rule for better sleep

Sleep can be a difficult beast, for most of us we never seem to get enough or even if we do we still wake feeling average. So what is the deal, is there any rule that can help us to feel better when we wake? Turns out there very well may be a rule that can help. Recent research has found that we should try to sleep in 90 minute blocks. The 90 minute rule might help us all sleep better so why not give it a go and see if it works for you, what have you got to lose?

The key to understanding why this rule might just work is to look at sleep itself. We sleep in stages, or cycles, or phases. There are 5 stages, cycles or phases (these terms are used synonymously in the literature)  and you wake feeling more refreshed if you wake at the end of the 5 stages rather than in the middle.

It is fairly basic then, if you want to wake feeling good then you need to sleep for either one and half hours, three hours, four and a half hours, six hours, seven and a half hours or nine hours. Obviously the sweet spot is seven and a half hours as this is the recommended amount of time that we need to feel truly refreshed and rejuvenated, but if you are not able to sleep for that long, if you have shift work to get to or you are leaving on an early flight, then you need to try to get three hours, four and a half or six.

While most people aim for the seven and a half hour mark there are a number of people who use this new understanding of sleep to live a more unconventional life. They are people who have jobs or lifestyles that demand a different sleep pattern from the ordinary. One man who works as a DJ in night clubs sleeps for three hours at night after he has finished up at around 4 in the morning and then has a 90 minute power nap during the day. This works much better for him than trying to get all of his sleep in one go, as he becomes out of sync with the world.

If all this sounds a bit too precise for you, if you are worried that you will struggle to follow the 90 minute rule then you can get help. There are smart phone apps that can help you. These apps monitor your breathing to detect when you fall asleep and then they will wake you at your designated 90 minute mark.

So if you want to get a more refreshing sleep you can try the 90 minute rule. It makes sense to try to synchronise your sleep length with the natural patterns of sleep. Give it a go and see how it works for you.


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