You may want to have a nice sleep but are not in the right state of mind to do so from anxiety. In order to do so, you need to quiet your mind and be in a state of peace. Binaural beats can help your brain respond to sound to move you to a deep relaxation which can help you get better sleep.
Binaural beats are when you combine two different sound frequencies to create a new frequency tone. It is said that when you experience two different sound frequencies with one in each ear, the brain perceives it as one tone. If your left ear gets a 300-hertz tone and your right ear gets a 280-hertz tone, your brain will think of this as a 10-hertz tone which is a low-frequency sound that you cannot hear. Being exposed to these binaural beats can create low-frequency sounds to slow down brain activity to help you sleep better.
Four Types of Brainwaves
There are four different types of brainwaves that determine our state of consciousness, emotion, and mental state. Beta waves are where we are the most alert. This helps us focus, concentrate, make decisions, and be analytical thinkers. These waves are fast with high frequencies between 10-15 hertz which are associated with anxiety. Alpha brainwaves are when you are alert but still relaxed. With hertz between 9-14, alpha waves are associated with meditation and to be creative.
Theta waves are associated with deep relaxation and non-REM sleep. They are of lower frequency between 5-10 hertz in the state where we feel we are drifting in and out of sleep. Delta waves are slow frequency waves of 1.5-4 hertz that dominate deep sleep. Being exposed to binaural beats can influence brainwaves that achieve slower frequencies that put you in deep relaxation.
Being exposed to binaural beats can change three hormones that are associated with sleep. One hormone is DHEA which strengthens your immune system and fights disease. DHEA suppresses cortisol which stimulates alertness and provokes stress. Binaural beats help with cortisol production in that this hormone at high levels normally causes insomnia. Melatonin levels tend to rise dramatically in the evening by relaxing your body and mind to fall asleep. Listening to binaural beats will strengthen the hormones that make you relax and help you fall asleep more easily.
One study showed how binaural beats can help beat anxiety. The study showed how binaural beats had an effect on those who felt anxiety going through surgery. For six months, patients would spend half an hour listening to binaural beats on the day of their surgery. Compared to those who listened to music without binaural beats and those who listened to no beats at all, the ones listening to binaural beats had greater decreases in anxiety levels. Another study showed how binaural beats helped reduce the anxiety and blood pressure levels of those about to undergo cataract surgery.
In order to get into a meditative state, you have to calm the posterior cingulate cortex which is known as the non-focused state. When you listen to binaural beats, it accomplishes the job of calming that part of the brain. It enhances the other part of the brain that easily brings you to a flow state. Using binaural beats will give you the same effects of meditation but done much faster.
How to Use Binaural Beats
All you need to have with you is binaural beat audio and a pair of headphones or earplugs. You can find online audio files of binaural beats music on YouTube or Spotify. There are also CDs you can purchase that you can download to your phone or MP3 player. In order for binaural beats to work, the two tones have to have frequencies of less than 1000 hertz with the difference not being more than 30 hertz. Look for beats based on which soundwaves you are trying to influence. Find a comfortable place to listen free of distraction and listen for half an hour every day to make sure that the rhythm is synched in your brain. How much you listen to all depends on your mental health symptoms. For example, those experiencing high anxiety symptoms can try listening for an hour to binaural beats or longer. You can also try closing your eyes to avoid any distractions.
Binaural Beats Versus Meditation
While meditation is a good practice to help yourself be calm and live in the moment, you may want to use binaural beats to achieve a faster effect. Meditation can provide a lot of obstacles like having trouble focusing or taking too long to achieve the desired effect. Binaural beats are simple in that you put on your headphones, relax, and listen.
Side Effects of Binaural Beats
There are no known side effects other than making sure that the volume in your headphones is not too high to hurt your ears. Listening to these sounds at or above 85 decibels, which can equate to heavy traffic, can cause hearing loss over time. If you have epilepsy, it is best to speak to your doctor before trying it. If you are having trouble sleeping or need to quiet your mind of anxious thoughts, binaural beats are the way to go in order to teach your brainwaves to calm down which in turn will make you calm enough to sleep.
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