Health and Wellness

Diving Deeper, Why Binaural Beats Turn You Into a Sleeper

By Jessica Pignataro

Some experts say that we know more about outer space than we do about the brain and the ocean floor. Understanding binaural beats had been only a tiny slice of interest in between that was stuffed into the miscellaneous drawer of scientific oddities and abandoned data to gaining recognition by a segment of the mainstream medical professionals to support their conventional practices.

Complex math formulas would replace musical notation on a score sheet if you were trying to understand these auditory illusions in parts. Ultimately Binaural beats are about the combination of different frequencies resulting in a tone that entrains the brain. Frequency stimulation can trigger powerful effects on the mind. Think of how your hair raises when you hear the crescendo of your favourite opera. Another 3D example of frequency entrainment is the famous scene of a glass shattering when the singer hits that otherworldly note.

Our “awake” mind operates on very different frequencies than our “sleeping” state. (Just ask someone who woke up from yet another dream about invisible flamingos driving backwards in pink Ferraris. )

“Delta” waves are part of the family magic “notes” or frequencies layered in so many of our channels designed for sleep and binaural beats. These are the slowest, highest amplitude waves that are associated with healing and regeneration, and have shown to have effects on the production of the hormone melatonin, which is the key ingredient in your deep snooze tonic.

Melatonin rises dramatically in the evening, starting around the time it begins getting dark outside. This is why anything but warmly coloured dim light might yank your “awake” hormones such as DHEA and cortisol into action, making you think about errands you need to run the next day, such as picking up groceries and alleged sleep aids, which in some cases for the latter, make it worse.

Taking a sound bath in one of Calm Radio’s recommended sleep music channels through your headphones or simply from the mobile speaker placed on your bedside (screen light off or facedown for best results) can have a positive effect in increasing your melatonin output naturally. *This of course can vary dramatically based on lifestyle, stage of life and so on.

What was once a novelty and now referred to as “binaural beats” being streamed by millions of insomniacs desperate for some shut eye or needing to simply take the edge off was revealed by a thankfully curious and good natured Prussian fellow in 1839. Heinrich Wilhelm Dove was a prolific physicist and meteorologist who identified this technique while experimenting with tuning forks on his subjects.  (Fun fact – Dove was also the genius that figured out how tropical cyclones or more familiarly why our toilets flush counter clockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere).

Dove’s discovery of binaural sound techniques resurfaced from obscurity due to Gerald Oster’s initiating further research in the 1970’ to explore neurological and cognitive behaviour with the intent of improving the quality of life and how it could aid in medical diagnostics – such as finding early stage indicators for Parkinson’s disease.

As a further homage, many ancient civilizations including the Ancient Greeks, Mayans, Native Americans to name just a few were already well aware of the benefits of this natural sound technology. These familiar sounds are baked into the form of chants and various primordial arrangements used during ceremonies and ritual that our psyches are still responsive to. It is said that delta waves can even simulate being in the womb.

In terms of new age music and pop culture, Dove and Oster albeit unknowingly, would prime delta style waves into the Brian Eno and Drake-type level superstardom (depending who is reading) of sleep music that can transform the sometimes suffocating hectic stadiums of our minds into uncluttered sanctuaries and peaceful vistas of relief.

While we feature these artists on other channels we recommend heading straight to the Binaural Meditation music section, Isochronic Cello is a great starting point if it’s your first time, as these stunning strings of the cello are woven throughout. Provided with each channel are brief yet educational descriptions if you are still intrigued to learn more.

We also recommend that you explore our SLEEP music channel section if you want to get down to the business of serious relaxation. My World, Deep Sleep and Magic Night are long playing, continuous compositions produced by Calm Radio Founder Eric Harry that are a nod to the binaural sound laced with a gentle human touch. You can almost hear the stars through the ages.

*These channels are known to promote deep relaxation and sleep therefore we strongly discourage driving and operating machinery while listening. Also, check with your physician before listening to Binaural Beats with headphones if you are epileptic or prone to seizures. Headphones are otherwise recommended for best results.

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