We all have our preferences when it comes to what we hear when we study, work, or sleep. Generally speaking, loud, disruptive noises are not great for focus. Soothing sounds or silence tend to help us work better. The power of a passing siren will disrupt our focus, but what about the music you’re listening to? What effect does it have on your brain?
It turns out, the music or sounds we listen to can make a big difference, and the right frequency can even help you study better, reduce stress, and improve focus. There are many professional apps to improve brain function, and Brainwave is one of them using brainwave and frequency sounds and music.
According to Psychology Today, binaural beats can also be used to improve memory (both long-term and working memory) as well as help to strengthen your brain’s neurological connections. If you’ve ever studied for a final exam or prepared for an important presentation, you can likely understand the potential benefits of easier information recall. Binaural beats can help.
But what are brainwaves exactly? How can you stimulate them? And what else may they be helpful with?
Binaural beats are nothing new. Ancient cultures across the world have used things like steady, consistent drumbeats or chanting to elicit relaxation or inspire deep meditation. Despite their ancient roots, binaural beats can help today’s students and professionals reduce anxiety, promote creativity, and improve the brain’s ability to create memories.
Scientists now believe there are 5 different types of human brainwaves, all of which move at different speeds (measured in hertz). These brainwaves change constantly throughout the day according to what you’re doing and feeling. For instance, when you’re producing predominantly slower brainwaves, you feel calm and relaxed. But when higher-frequency brainwaves are dominant, you’re super alert.
Binaural beats in the Gamma frequency (higher frequency beats) tend to show promise in helping with increased cognitive flexibility, attention to detail, focus, divergent thinking (a marker of creativity), and more. As a student or working professional, increased cognitive function might help; try listening to Gamma beats to help you solve a complicated problem or brainstorm new ideas.
If you’re feeling a bit low or lacking in inspiration, boosting your Alpha brainwaves may help. Recent research suggests the stimulation of alpha brainwaves may help make you more creative and possibly even help treat depression.
Impact of Alpha Waves
Research has shown that alpha waves may have a number of positive benefits, which might include the following:
A study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry found that using a technique called transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to induce alpha wave activity reduced depressive symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.
While the study’s sample size was small, the results show the therapeutic potential of increasing alpha waves to combat depression.
One 2015 study found that alpha wave activity was associated with creativity. This effect, they found, could be induced using non-invasive brain stimulation. While such effects may be useful for boosting creative thought, it also offers promise for helping reduce depression.
Alpha waves are linked to more relaxed, restful mental states, which is why researchers also believe that they may be helpful for lowering anxiety and stress. One study found that alpha brain wave neurofeedback training helped participants reduce their anxiety levels.
Another study suggested that increasing both alpha and theta activity in the brain’s occipital lobes helped decrease anxiety and improve functioning in those with generalized anxiety disorder.
Tips for Increasing Alpha Waves
- Meditating: Meditation has a number of health benefits and has been linked to increased alpha waves.5
- Deep breathing: Deep breathing can be an effective way to combat feelings of anxiety. Research also suggests that it may help boost alpha activity in key areas of the brain.6
- Practicing mindfulness: Studies have shown that mindfulness training can lead to increased alpha wave activity, and some research has suggested that this practice may help people who are experiencing chronic pain, anxiety, or depression.
- Yoga: The relaxed state associated with alpha waves may increase when performing yoga and some research has suggested that regular yoga practice may enhance alpha activity in the brain.7
- Aerobics: Some researchers suggest that aerobic exercise can also increase alpha wave activity.
- Listening to brainwave programs: Proper brainwave music and sounds may help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help you stay relaxed by increasing alpha activity.
Alpha waves play an important role in brain activity and research suggests that they may be beneficial for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness, and many expert apps to improve brain function may also help.
By boosting your alpha waves, you might also experience improved mood, decreased depression and anxiety, and a greater sense of calm.