Most of us have suffered from insomnia at some point in our life. For some people these episodes are infrequent and do not disrupt their daily life. For others, persistent or chronic inability to sleep can become a serious health concern with devastating consequences such as irritability, impaired coordination, poor concentration, extreme fatigue, and stress to name a few.
WHAT CAUSES INSOMNIA?
There is no single cause for all insomnia. It may be due to medical or psychiatric conditions, poor sleep habits, biological factors or the use of certain substances. If your inability to fall or stay asleep is stress-related and you have tried several remedies without success, binaural beats may be the solution you are looking for. It has the same effect in the brain as meditation but without the effort.
MY BRAIN WAVES ARE ON THE RACE TRACK ALL THE TIME
Our brain activity is modulated by synchronized electrical pulses emanating from billions of neurons communicating with each other. These pulses produce brain waves that can be categorized in four groups ranging from the most active to the least active.
- Beta waves are produced when the brain is actively engaged in a mental activity that requires alertness and focus. These waves are the fastest of the spectrum. (14-30 Hz).
- Alpha waves are present when the brain is in a more relaxed state but still alert. In the alpha state our creativity and inner awareness are activated. (8-14 Hz).
- Theta waves occur in a state of deep relaxation or a dream state. (4-8 Hz).
- Delta waves are characteristic of deep sleep and are the slowest of the four (0.1-4 Hz).
I NEED TO HIT THE BRAKES BUT I CAN’T
When we are asleep, there is a predominance of delta and theta waves which are the slowest and the largest of the brainwaves. During this time of profound relaxation, the body can heal and rejuvenate.
But if your mind is racing when you are ready to rest as a result of stress and the daily worries of today’s busy life, it is the beta waves that are running the show and keeping you awake. The more you try to fall asleep the more anxious and agitated you become.
WHAT ABOUT SLEEP AIDS?
Many people resort to over the counter or prescription drugs to deal with their lack of sleep. These drugs are effective when used short term for cases of occasional insomnia but when used for extended periods of time they may cause addiction. With regular use, higher doses may be required in order for them to be effective.
There are common side effects associated with the use of sleeping pills such as constipation, diarrhea or dizziness. Some of these effects could be far more serious like parasomnias which are characterized by behaviors or movements over which you have no control. Some cases have been reported of people driving while they are asleep under the influence of sleeping pills.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
One of the most effective methods of helping the body and the mind relax is through meditation. During meditation, the brain produces theta waves which are the same waves during light sleep. The goal of meditation is to calm the mind in order to attain inner awareness. By allowing our thoughts to flow without passing judgment or attaching ourselves to them the mind reaches a state of blissful stillness. Our feeling of fragmentation begins to dissipate and we experience peace, wholeness and connection with everything.
Most people find in meditation an effective technique for stress reduction although it has far more reaching and beneficial effects. As the mind calms down, stress disappears and we are able to make better decisions, be more compassionate, happier, tolerant and of course, sleep better.
MEDITATION CAN BE HARD – IS THERE A SHORTCUT?
Many of us who have tried meditating are aware of the difficulties that go with it. Sitting in a posture for an extended period can make us achy, uncomfortable and ultimately irritable. Sitting still for twenty minutes or more can bring boredom, sleepiness or restlessness and all these drawbacks can deter the least disciplined and patient of us from even trying or sticking with meditation.
EASE YOUR WAY INTO RELAXATION AND SLEEP THROUGH BINAURAL BEATS
Fortunately, there is a shortcut. What if I told you that there is a technology that creates the same effect as meditation but requires no effort? This technology has been around since the seventies. It is called brain entrainment. It uses two minimally different sound frequencies (binaural beats). One tone is sent to one ear and the other to the second ear simultaneously via headphones. When the brain hears the two different beats it has a physiological response that makes it perceive a third tone which is the result of the mathematical difference of the two frequencies. Then the brain synchronizes itself to the new frequency and produces brainwaves in that frequency.
All you have to do is to find a comfortable position, wear stereo headphones or earbuds and listen to the beats through your device of choice. Your brain will do the rest of the work for you.
Brain entrainment has many uses but If you are using this technology to relax and sleep, you need to listen to sounds that entrain the brain to produce delta waves (within 0.1-4 Hz) required to achieve deep sleep.
Make sure to get an audio on CD or through download that is intended for relaxation and keep in mind that different recordings are created in different frequencies to induce different mental states.
IS THIS RELAXATION MUSIC?
Not exactly. Even though relaxing music or other sounds may be used to sooth the listener, many times what you will hear is the effect created by the two different pulsating beats in the background entering each ear. For some people, these unfamiliar pulses may feel uncomfortable at first but within several minutes into the session you may not even hear them anymore.
WILL I BE ABLE TO SLEEP RIGHT AWAY?
Not necessarily. Some people may feel the beneficial effects immediately but for others it may take some more time. But by listening to these tones regularly, most people are able to improve their sleep pattern relatively fast.
ARE ALL BEATS CREATED EQUAL?
No. Before you purchase binaural beats make sure that you are buying high quality products from a trusted site. You may find free downloads or companies that scam people by selling duplicates with different labels or poor quality recordings.
A SAFE ALTERNATIVE
There are no known adverse side effects to this technology so there is really nothing to lose and perhaps a lot to gain. So, why not give it a try?