How to Incorporate the R90 Technique into Your Daily Routine

5th March 2020

Anyone can apply the R90 Technique into their routine, it is a very easy process that doesn’t have to be the same for everybody, but the starting point always is – outlining your constant wake time. Choose your constant wake time based on the most common time you wake during the week, this is likely to be related to your occupational demands or family life rather than your Chronotype (morning or evening person characteristic). Aim to wake at this time every day, even at weekends, this is particularly important for PMers (evening person) who need to wake early during the week.

Once your wake time is set in place you can work out your ideal sleep time. To do this count backwards in 90-minute cycles for 5 cycles (7.5 hours) to begin with. For example, if your wake time is 6.30am, your sleep time will be 11pm. You can then adjust your sleep time if needed, if you feel you need more sleep add in an extra cycle taking your sleep time to 9.30pm or reduce if needed.

Keeping this sleep-wake routine the same is ideal however, this may not always be possible, so the R90 Technique allows you to change it if needed, without undoing all of your hard work. The trick is to always ensure you move your sleep or wake time by 1 cycle (90 minutes), this adjustment means you are still waking at the end of a cycle which leaves you feeling refreshed upon wake.

The next part of the R90 Technique is to create a pre-sleep routine starting 90 minutes prior to your set sleep time, this routine should contain some simple activities that are going to get you ready to enter a sleep state. A good tip is to make your bedroom slightly cooler (not cold) than the rest of your home. Keep your routine the same each night as this will build the association in your mind that it is time for sleep.

You can also create a post-sleep routine, which will be in the 90 minutes following wake. Again, it should remain the same each day and contain activities that set you up for the day, such as eating breakfast, hydrating and getting plenty of blue light (sun light or a daylight lamp in winter).

An important part of the R90 Technique is to stop thinking of sleep in a monophasic way, which means sleep can only be during one block at night. There are actually two other sleep periods during the day that come naturally to humans, in line with the circadian rhythms. The first is between 1pm – 3pm and the second is between 5pm – 7pm.

This is where you can incorporate what is classically known as a nap, but we call it a CRP (controlled recovery period), which is a managed way to take 10, 15 or 30 minutes sleep, in a period that will raise alertness and awareness, as well as enhance performance. A CRP can also be used as an effective way to balance a more restricted sleep programme at night.