Binaural beats are the physiological process of sending different sound frequencies to each ear at the same time. This process was first discovered by Prussian physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839. However, it wasn’t until 1973 that Dr. Gerald Oster introduced binaural beats to the mainstream with his paper titled “Auditory Beats in the Brain.” Since then, binaural beats have been studied at great length and the results are very positive with many proven benefits like improved sleep.
How do binaural beats work?
To get a better understanding of how binaural beats works, there are some key brain functions that we must first discuss:
Brainwaves – neurons within our brains communicate to each other by synchronized electrical pulses known as brainwaves. These patterns of electrical communications between neurons can change depending on our thoughts, feelings, and actions. The speed of these brainwaves are measured in Hertz (Hz) and monitored via an EEG.
Brainwave Entrainment – is the external method of stimulating the brain into a certain state. This stimulation can be done via a rhythmic sound, electromagnetic field or light. For this article, we’re focusing on sound as the source of stimulation. When listening to sounds at a specific frequency, our brainwaves will naturally synchronize with that frequency.
Binaural beats send two slightly different frequencies into each ear at the same time, causing the brain to make up the difference in the frequencies.
For example, a 300 Hz sound frequency is sent to the right ear and a 310 Hz sound frequency is sent to the left ear at the same time. The brain will then perform the following functions:
- Process the two frequencies
- Identify a new frequency at 10 Hz
- And then follow along at the 10 Hz frequency
This new frequency of 10 Hz will influence our brainwaves to follow at the same rate and entrain our brains into a specific state.
5 different binaural beats brainwave states
Binaural beats are used to entrain the brain into one of 5 different brainwave states, with each state having its own unique set of benefits:
Delta (0.1-4 Hz) – anti-aging, deep sleep, pain relief, healing
Theta (4-8 Hz) – deep relaxation, inner peace, meditation, REM sleep, creativity
Alpha (8-14 Hz) – stress relief, positive mindset, increased learning
Beta (14-30 Hz) – focused, increased thinking and problem-solving, increased energy
Gamma (30+ Hz) – high level of mental activity, peak awareness, peak performance, heightened senses
How to use Binaural Beats for improved sleep
Binaural beats have become an increasingly popular option for individuals suffering from sleep impairments. They are a safe alternative for those not wanting to try sleep medication. As described above, there are two specific states that help put our brains into a sleep mode:
Delta – this is the lowest frequency and it helps put the brain into a state of deep sleep. This is the type of sleep that aids in restoring the body and doesn’t involve dreaming.
Theta – Lower theta frequencies are used to help individuals get into a drowsy, relaxed state which eventually leads to REM sleep and dreaming.
It’s important to note, that binaural beat is a method that requires consistent training. This means that you should be using this method over several days to remap the brain and entrain it into the Delta or Theta state. Also, it’s recommended that individuals start listening to binaural beats roughly two hours before bed.
For example: if you go to bed at 9:30 pm then start listening to Theta binaural beats at 7:30 pm and progress to Delta binaural beats at bedtime.
Sleep Technology for Binaural Beats
Modern sleep technology makes it easier than ever to listen to binaural beats at bedtime. One of the best options on the market today is theZEEQ Smart Pillow. This comfortable memory foam pillow has eight built-in speakers that allow you to stream binaural beats by wirelessly connecting to Bluetooth devices like smartphones or tablets. With a remote control or smartphone, you can control the volume of the binaural beats for a more customized sleep environment. Additionally, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow can be used to track and analyze your sleep, relieve snoring and wake you up at the optimal time.by