Binaural beats….the sound of sleep?

If you will allow me to indulge myself a little, I would like to deviate from the original post I had planned for today. In my introduction, I promised to spend my next set of ramblings discussing the invention and increased use of “sleep cycle alarm clocks”, readily available on your smartphones. It is something that I have been passionately using, researching and promoting ever since discovering that such a sleeping aid existed.

However, it has been a tumultuous month at ‘Casa Mir’ and amidst much turmoil and a biking accident, my attention was diverted slightly onto another smartphone phenomenon. Yes, I’m fine, there’s nothing broken, thank you for asking, just some severe bruising of bones and of course my fragile cyclist ego. But what I am grateful for is the series of events that led to my discovery of certain apps readily available on the android (and iTunes) market.

World, I present to you: Binaural Beats (Tones). As with all legitimate scientific discoveries, you can read all about it on the dedicated Wikipedia article. Please note, that the previous sentence was heavily laced with sarcasm. As much as I am an advocate for Internet discovery, some sources on Wikipedia cannot be taken as the gospel/Torah/Quran (delete where appropriate, and apologies to those of non-monotheistic faith who I have probably just succeeded in completely alienating). 

Anyway, as I should have mentioned, this blog is purely my own thoughts and views and I do not endorse any products any further than being a simple technophile who enjoys the merging of modernity with ancient holistic practice. Products other than the Breathing Relief Dilator I hasten to add. 

Back to binaural tones. Read the Wikipedia article here:

In brief, it is my understanding that binaural tones or beats are a mixture of sounds and beats played directly into the listeners’ ears by the use of headphones. Both ears receive different sounds and mixed together they create a beat that supposedly affects the brain. As you will ascertain from the article it is possible to abuse this technology by creating beats that simulate Class A drugs and I was, of course, wary of anything able to manipulate your mind in such a way.

My choice download was Brainwave Tuner Lite, available on the android market for free, with a full version costing you £2.44. In the lite application you have 3 categories of beats:

1. Sleep and Healing
2. Meditation and Relaxation
3. Focus and Learning

Sleep and healing have the subcategories/tracks listed as Headache Therapy, Sleep Induction, Edge of Consciousness and the intriguingly titled Earth Peace Night. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed that despite the label ‘healing’ the only track available was for headaches. I was hoping more for a proverbial bath in which to soak my brain cells in an attempt to relieve my smarting limbs. No such luck. I can attest though that despite not being catered for, I was surprised at the effectiveness of the track and very much enjoyed the mellow warmth I was left with after 15 minutes of listening.

Not quite ready to fling my cynicism out the window, I moved on to the meditation tracks. There are 4 available ranging relaxation, meditation and self-hypnosis. Honestly, I’m terrible at meditating. My brain races at 100 miles an hour on a good day, so trying to focus on nothing the day after being hit by a car when you’re replaying the scene over and over again, assuring yourself that it wasn’t your fault probably didn’t provide the perfect control scenario. I nestled into my duvet and gave it a go. I awoke 3 and a half hours later with the nagging feeling that I had forgotten something. I’m not entirely sure what this means. Does deep meditation lead to sleep? In any case, I shan’t complain as when I awoke I felt refreshed and calm, finding it much easier to make peace with my situation.

So this left only the sleep induction track and of course, it worked. I must add that I usually have no trouble getting to sleep; it’s the quality of sleep I have issues with. I often suffer from fretful nights involving fisticuffs with my pillows and resulting in waking up halfway down my bed, covers in disarray. The goal was to listen to the track and arise the next morning in the same position I fell asleep in, preferably feeling as if I had finally accomplished the art of a good night’s sleep. I remember waking up and being acutely aware of the fact that the weird swooshing noises in my ear, very akin to the sound of the waves lapping at a beach had finished and then…it was morning!

To my amazement both the meditation and sleep induction beats allowed me to rest easy. I feel as though the stress was taken away from the concept of sleeping and instead of the perpetual cycle of fear regarding getting enough sleep, I went to work the next morning feeling a little smug. Maybe I had won the battle?

We all know it is never that simple and incorporating a healthy sleeping routine into your daily life is an endless war. I’m not about to put all my faith into one concept and resign myself to a lifetime of bombarding my brain with subliminal messages in order to feel some peace. That said, I’m certainly glad I found this app and I look forward to furthering adventures I may have on ‘the edge of consciousness or on those migraine days.

Interested in learning more about Binaural Tones? Google is your friend! There’s plenty of scientific data available as well as the usual subjective accounts written by other sleep-deprived frenzied bloggers awaiting your perusal.

Sweet dreams people, until next week!


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