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Natural rhythms: 90 minutes in the float tank

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

oGoFloat offers (up to) 90 minute sessions. Calming music will gently bring you out of your experience and let you know when time is up. The music comes through the float solution as vibrations, which guarantees that even the heaviest sleepers, while wearing ear plugs will awaken. You are always in control of your float and you can call it early and get out at any time. All float sessions are scheduled for a full 90 session whether you use the full time or not.

Why do we offer exclusively 90 minute floats? The simple answer is mostly because it just feels right, but we have put thought and intention into every aspect of our offerings, including the duration of your float.

Here's the long answer of why we offer a default 90 minute float session.

Reason #1: R.E.M. Sleep operates on 90 minute cycles

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. This isn't really the REM sleep we're going to talk about.

No matter how familiar you are with the details of REM sleep, I highly recommend you take 5 minutes to watch this fantastic crash course from sleep researcher Matthew Walker.

REM is that deep form of sleep linked to lucid dreaming and hypnosis. Deep 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.

While you're asleep, your brain waves wander through 4 lower stages of non-rem sleep and then approximately every 90-110 minutes your brain shifts into the REM sleep stage. This is when your eyes will move behind your lids as if you are experiencing true reality. Your dream becomes more lucid, you may even briefly awaken as you peak and before falling into a slower brain wave state as the next cycle starts. Matthew Walker describes this imperative sleep time at Emotional First Aid, and that sounds very important for our overall wellbeing, and resonates true with everything about floating.

If the brain and body's strategy for restoration already operates on a 90 minute schedule, then it just seems to make sense to mimic that schedule. I believe this is why many great eureka moments don't necessarily come while your floating but later, sometime after your float. Floating is the 90 minutes of calm followed by the bigger idea spike later.

For a crash course in sleep and how to improve yours, check out more from Matthew Walker.

Reason #2: Many bodily functions operate on 90 minute cycles! Turns out our bodies were actually best suited for a 90 minute 'hour' instead of 60. Our attention span, pain thresholds, appetite and many more regular functions operate on 90 minute intervals. It's more than just sleep.

"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 #3: It just feels right! I have logged hundreds of hours in the tank, and although I’ve gotten out after only 45 minutes, I’ve found myself lost in there for 3 hours. Even without a timer, I most commonly emerge right at the 90 minute mark. It's not just me. Our guests are often getting out of the tank right as the music is turning on. Maybe it’s because we're pre-programmed for 90 minutes? Maybe it’s the bladder telling you to get out – I can’t put my finger directly on the reason but 90 minutes feels like the sweet spot.

Reason #4: 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? It was once said to me that getting out of a tank early would be like getting off a massage table half way through and saying "that's good, I'm relaxed enough now, thank you.". Sounds unfathomable when you think about it that way.

Reason #5: 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. For some the magic happens when they hit that point when they say to themselves “screw it, I’ll just wait for the music to come on” and then 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. I promise we gotchu!

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