➠ Theta state (4-8 Hz)
➠ Alpha state (9-13 Hz)
➠ Beta state (14-30 Hz)
➠ Gamma state (30 Hz and above)
Each of these brain states has been linked with a different state of consciousness. The beta state represents normal alert consciousness, when one is awake and alert, whereas the alpha state is associated with relaxation, creativity, visualization, and calmness. The delta state is associated with deep, dreamless sleep, whereas the theta state is associated with deep relaxation, meditation, and mental imagery.
It is the believed that the following effects might be achieved by listening to binaural beats.
➠ Reduction in stress
➠ Change in consciousness
➠ Improved health
➠ Enhanced memory
➠ Increased focus, creativity, and intuition
➠ Feeling of oneness
➠ A feeling of detached awareness
In order to understand how binaural beats can induce states of meditation, deep relaxation, or even lucid dreaming, there's a need to understand the importance of brain wave patterns and frequencies. The human brain comprises billions of specialized nerve cells called neurons that generate electrical impulses. Brain waves, which refer to the periodic, wave-like electrical activity in the brain that is detected in the electroencephalograph (EEG), are a result of the collective or synchronized working of the millions of neurons in the cerebral cortex, as they send and receive impulses. These are categorized on the basis of their amplitude and frequency. The frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz), whereas the amplitude is measures in microvolts (uV). The amplitude is higher when the number of neurons working together is large, and the frequency is higher when the neurons are working at a fast speed.
Out of the five types of brain waves, delta and theta waves indicate states when one is unconscious, whereas alpha and beta waves are indicative of states when a person is conscious or awake. Research suggests that brain waves called gamma waves correspond to the higher states of consciousness. Studies have established a direct link between the pattern of brain waves and our behavior.
➠ Stage 1 NREM Sleep (the transition from alpha to theta waves is characterized by light sleep)
➠ Stage 2 NREM Sleep (sleep spindles)
➠ Stage 3 and 4 NREM Sleep (dominant delta waves mark the transition between light sleep and a very deep sleep)
➠ REM Sleep (Actual dreams occur in this stage)
The first stage is characterized by the loss of self-awareness. The brain wave frequencies change from alpha through theta state (4-7 Hz). Half of the sleep occurs in the second stage, and it is a dreamless sleep. The brain waves slow down, but brief bursts of higher brain wave activity called sleep spindles and K-complexes occur. In the third and fourth stage of slow-wave sleep, there is unconscious delta activity. The fifth stage, which is the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage is the stage during which one dreams. Throughout the night, this sleep cycle repeats itself 4-5 times. Each cycle lasts 90 minutes. However, the length of REM periods increase, and the length of delta sleep decrease, until during the last few cycles when there is no delta sleep at all.
During this time, the brain waves demonstrate characteristics that are similar to waking sleep, a combination of alpha, beta, and desynchronous waves. Those who practice lucid dreaming, sometimes induce sleep paralysis to enter directly into a lucid dream. This is known as a WILD (Wake Initiated Lucid Dream). Some studies have shown that brain wave frequency changes to that of gamma brain waves, which are linked to higher level of consciousness. The gamma activity is observed in the brain's frontal cortex.
While using a lucid dream induction brainwave entrainment soundtrack, the brain resonates to low frequencies (about 3Hz) that are associated with light sleep. As a result, one will fall asleep quickly, with the last thoughts being about the intention of having a lucid dream. About 70 to 80 minutes later, the track will begin to raise its frequency so that it corresponds to the frequency of natural REM (Rapid Eye Movement) periods of the sleep cycle. The frequency increases up to around 10 Hz so that one has a fully conscious state of mind and is able to realize that one is dreaming.
Thereafter, the soundtrack will repeat in such a way that it corresponds with one's natural sleep cycles. The chance of having a lucid dream is higher when the REM stages are longer than the NREM stages.