Remember The 90 Minute Rule To Ensure A Refreshing Night’s Sleep

Remember The 90 Minute Rule To Ensure A Refreshing Night’s Sleep

It seems more difficult than ever to get a decent night’s sleep and feel good after it. If you’d like to wake up refreshed every morning instead of groggy and grumpy (no matter how little you might sleep), remember the 90-minute rule.

Photo by Sean Davis

It’s all about timing your bedtime so you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle (which is 90 minutes on average) instead of in the middle, when you’re in a deeper stage of sleep.

This isn’t a new concept, of course. Sleep apps like are based on the 90-minute sleep cycle and are designed to help you wake up naturally. While your sleep patterns might not follow precisely this 90-minute rule, it’s a good rule of thumb if you’re not using sleep tracking apps. The Daily Mail reminds us of this technique of counting back in 90-minute segments from your desired wake time so you know what time you should fall asleep by.

The article also offers other helpful tips like figuring out when to nap and what kind of snorer you are.

How to feel refreshed even after too little sleep [Daily Mail]


  • Count back in 90 minute intervals?

    I wish I could fall asleep that accurately! I thought this article was about it taking 90 minutes or more to get to sleep, and how to fix that, how disappointing.

    • I’d have to agree with Cameron on this one, it often takes me quite some time — and perhaps more importantly a very inconsistent amount of time — to fall asleep, so counting backwards from my desired waking time in 90 minute intervals just provides me with a target sleeping time I’m unlikely to be able to accurately hit.

      Anyone got any advice on being able to more reliably and consistently time how long it takes to fall asleep so that the original article’s advice can actually be used by people like myself or Cameron?

      • I have trouble falling asleep too, the only time I fall asleep quickly are when I’m travelling on holiday (so exhausted) or drunk. Normal days I toss and turn for who knows how long 🙁

      • I once saw a study on insomniacs that trained themselves to fall asleep by getting really tired and then in a controlled room they would have someone watch them, once they were asleep for 20 minutes they were woken up, forced to get out of bed and repeat the cycle over and over.

        Painful yes but it taught them to get to sleep straight away.

        I can go to sleep as soon as I want to now after training Tai Chi for a number of years and being able to stop my internal chatter. I get into sleep position and the next thing I know I’m waking up the next morning, so you can train yourself without going to extreme measures.

        Avoid all your gadgets for an hour before bed can help too, read a book instead of a tablet etc. lavender on your pillow is said to help and a number of other things.

    • Who can fall asleep on command like that? How quickly i fall asleep has a LOT of variables, sometimes it takes me ages, sometimes not at all. I’m not sure how you get to be that accurate.

  • I’d probably recommend counting back so that you have at LEAST 90 minute sessions counted out, then tack on however long it usually takes for you to fall asleep, or just straight-up give yourself an extra session’s worth, before you have your alarm set.
    That way, you’ll slowly wake up naturally at roughly the right time, and probably before your alarm, rather than getting jerked rudely out of a deep sleep session.

    Everyone’s experienced that, right? Waking up naturally at a ‘good’ point, rather than being yanked out of sleep by something external? If you don’t set yourself enough time to allow roughly five of those 90min sessions, your alarm will wake you before your body wakes you, which is where the potential for the sleep-whiplash comes in.

    Learned a lot about those cycles after sleeping polyphasically – only about 20min of that 90min cycle is actually restorative REM sleep, and sleeping polyphasically (some are familiar with the ‘uberman’ schedule – 20-30min every 3.5hrs) cuts the fatty edges off that deep goodness. But takes forever to get into and can’t be done easily on caffeine.

  • It is actually bad to fall asleep right away because that is an indication that your overexhausted. It should take you 15 min to get to sleep. Of course everybody is different but that is the general time

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