By Alexandra Starr
What Are Binaural Beats?
Do you struggle with anxiety, sleep, memory, or attention? If so, we may have a unique solution for you: binaural beats. Binaural means “both ears,” and binaural beats are generated by sending different frequencies to each of your ears. When this happens, a pulse occurs in the brain that your conscious mind is unaware of, but that your brain is still able to perceive. For example, a sound in your left ear is played at a frequency of 140 Hertz, while your right ear hears a frequency of 120 Hertz. Your brain hears not only the two tones from each ear but also a tone of 20 Hertz as it naturally synchronizes with the difference between the two tones. Basically, an auditory illusion occurs.
Anxiety disorders cause an overwhelming sense of worry, fear, and distress that is so great, it affects the everyday life of those who live with the disorder. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and more. They have become the most common psychiatric affliction, and the effects can be crippling. As such, any opportunity to reduce one’s anxiety is welcomed among the psychological community. Research on binaural beats is increasingly finding that they can reduce anxiety. In one study, the research team found that patients who listened to binaural beat recordings every day for two weeks reported a 26% minimization in levels of anxiety after that short period.
Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, makes falling asleep and staying asleep difficult for those afflicted with the symptoms. Luckily, new research indicates that binaural beats can help those with insomnia, as well as aid people who are normal sleepers fall asleep quicker. Basically, if you listen to 4 Hz, which is a tone between delta and theta, the stages of being asleep and awake, then your brain can be induced into a state of sleep
Boosting Memory And Attention
Emerging research has reported average effects on both short and long term memory. Additionally, the same meta-analysis reveals that binaural beats can improve the attention skills of healthy adults.
For those who struggle with unaided meditation, binaural beats may be the new solution. Binaural beats can quiet the mind and affect consciousness on a whole other level. Researchers suggest that this ability may stem from the binaural beats gaining the attention of the brainstem and steering the attention away from the neocortex, the area of your brain where thinking occurs. In conclusion, binaural beats help get you to a deeper level of consciousness that is useful for effective meditation. However, binaural beats aren’t for everyone–some people find them distracting. You just have to figure out what works best for you!
While not everyone has a strong sense of spirituality, for those who did believe in a sense of being outside the mind and beyond, binaural beats have been described as enhancing one’s sense of intuition. Some suggestions as to how this spiritual state occurs come from the hypnagogic state that binaural beats can put you in. Your body is deeply relaxed, while your consciousness and wide awake and alert. Essentially, you are tricking your body into thinking you are asleep when in reality, you are heightening your physical senses, allowing some people to have an out-of-body experience.
How To Use Binaural Beats
Binaural beats are said to have positive effects on anxiety, memory, mood, creativity, attention, sleep, relaxation, stress, and pain. If you want to focus on enhancing sleep and relaxation, the delta range of 1 to 4 Hz is the most effective. If you want to feel relaxed, then it’s best to listen to beats between 4 and 8 Hz, the theta frequencies. If you want to reduce anxiety and promote positivity then it’s best to listen to the alpha frequencies between 8 and 13 Hz. Finally, to improve concentration and alertness, memory, and problem-solving abilities, then listen to lower beta frequencies of 14 to 30 Hz.
Emerging research shows that binaural beats help improve sleep, mood, relaxation, and spirituality. Binaural beats are also useful in reducing anxiety and falling into a meditative state. Different ranges of frequencies are better suited for different goals whether it is falling asleep or reducing anxiety. While binaural beats don’t always have the same effects for everybody, it is certainly worth a try. Binaural beats are not considered to be a cure for any of these objectives but can offer an escape for many people who desire a state of relaxation, healthy sleep, or meditation.