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Natural rhythms: 90 minutes in the float tank

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Why do we offer only 90 minute floats? The simple answer is - because we feel like it! But in seriousness we have put thought and intention into every aspect of our offerings. This is why we offer a default 90 minute float.

Reason #1: Many bodily functions operate on 90 minute cycles!

R.E.M. sleep is a deep form of sleep that runs in 90-110 minute intervals and is measured by Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.). There are five main frequencies of brain waves, Alpha, Beta, Theta, Delta and Gamma. Some people fall fast asleep in the tank, others do not, and most teeter on the border of consciousness. There's a word for it, hypnagogia, the edge of sleep. Whether you are falling asleep or not during your float, your brain is likely to reach the slower range brain waves which has been linked to lucid dreaming and hypnosis. These deep slow brain waves can be considered the subconscious; they govern the part of our mind that lies between the conscious and the unconscious and retain memories and feelings. It also directs your beliefs and your behavior which is why a float tank can be so transformative for people with addictions or bad behaviors. It seems to reason that if the float tank is mimicking the same brain waves as R.E.M. sleep, then operating on the same interval of 90 minutes couldn’t hurt.

An excerpt from Inner Time, the Science of Body Clocks and What Makes us Tick by Carol Orlock:

"At first, scientists thought this ninety-minute pattern only occurred during sleep, but... test subjects kept in bed all day ... tended to move around more about every hour and a half. In another experiment, subjects were kept in isolation, but with the free access to food and coffee. They headed for the refrigerator or the coffeepot about every ninety minutes. Testing sensitivity to pain ... showed that pain thresholds varied on approximately ninety-minute schedules. We show ninety-minute cycles in the secretion of some hormones, as well as in rise and fall of our appetite and attention span. This may be because the brain itself changes what it's doing every hour and a half."

Reason #2: It just feels right! I have logged hundreds of hours in the tank. I float without a timer, and although I’ve gotten out after only 45 minutes, I’ve also gotten lost in there for 3 hours, yet time and time again I’m emerging right at the 90 minute mark. Maybe it’s because I’m pre-programmed for 90 minutes? Maybe it’s my bladder telling me to get out – I can’t put my finger directly on the reason but 90 minutes feels like the sweet spot so maybe I don't need any more reasons; but I have them.

Reason #3: You deserve it! When was the last time you took 90 minutes all to yourself? We're so programed to live our lives in 60 minute segments but when you stop and think about it, why?

Reason #4: First Timer's! During your first float it can take 30 – 60 minutes to fully relax. Most float junkies don’t recount their first float as their best float. When you are new to the tank it can be weird, strange, and we might not allow ourselves to fully relax. Some people would benefit from starting with a shorter float and working their way up to longer, but some people don’t relax until they hit that point that they say to themselves “screw it, I’ll just wait for the music to come on” once that happens, they completely surrender and reach a level of relaxation they might not have otherwise found if they had gotten out after 60 minutes.

For those who want a shorter float, by all means, please float for as long or as short as you’d like! Everyone’s float practice is completely unique and no one knows your body as well as you do – listen to it! You are absolutely free to exit the tank whenever you want, but we do encourage you to take the full 90 minutes because you are absolutely worth it! Extended floats are available upon request.

The goal of the float environment is to let go of all of your senses. Your sight, sound, smell, touch and taste (side note, don’t taste the water – I assure you it is very salty!). We want to extend that release to include your sense of time. Let us take over the burden of time so you can just focus on you!

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