Racing thoughts, tossing, turning, begging and pleading for sleep, the sweet mistress evades you. Each moment that passes brings you closer to the dawn. You dare not look at the clock, which will only tell you what you already know. If I go to sleep now, I’ll have five hours of sleep. Four. Three.
We’ve all been there. Having trouble falling and staying asleep is a problem that plagues us all at one time or another. Some suffer more than others, even having their job performance, health, and happiness diminish from insomnia. Yes, we’ve all been there, and we all know the drill: drink less caffeine, exercise, no sugar, blah, blah, blah.
These pieces of advice, however useful and relevant, do not address the real problem. Even if these potential causes of poor sleep are eliminated, a significant number of people will not even reach the stage of REM sleep (dreaming), will still not be fully rested, and insomnia will continue. Why is that?
The Real Cause of Poor Sleep
There are five brainwave patterns found in the human brain: Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. The first two brainwave frequencies, Gamma and Beta, are associated with our waking state. The reason you can’t sleep is not sugar, caffeine, lack of exercise, or anything of the like (though you can’t go wrong with cutting down on sugar and caffeine and getting a decent amount of exercise each day).
The real reason you can’t sleep is because the brain is staying in the high-frequency brainwave patterns of our waking state. Gamma and Beta brainwaves are fast-moving waves which allow us to process high volumes of information quickly and keep us alert. We measure brainwaves in Hertz (Hz), or the number of oscillations of the wave in one second. Gamma waves – the fastest brainwaves, associated with the genius mind – vibrate between 38 and 100 Hz, though 40 Hz is typical in the human brain.
Gamma brainwaves process information from multiple brain areas simultaneously. The mind must be still to access this state. Researchers originally rejected Gamma frequency as “spare brain noise” until they discovered the points at which the brainwave pattern became active. Universal love, altruism, deep focus, expanded consciousness, and spiritual emergence are states which activate the Gamma brainwave. This is a brainwave reached in deep, focused meditation. It is unlikely, though hardly impossible, that you are functioning in this brainwave pattern while you fight for sleep.
Beta, the most occupied state by people today, vibrates at 12 to 38 Hz. There are three stages of Beta brainwave patterns of rather unoriginal names – Beta 1, Beta 2, and Beta 3. Beta 1 (12-15 Hz) is known as “Lo-Beta” and occurs when you are musing or daydreaming. You are fully awake in this state, but are zoning out. Beta 2 (15-22 Hz), or just “Beta,” is present when you are highly engaged in an activity or conversation, or actively problem-solving. Beta 3 (22-38 Hz) is called “Hi-Beta” and is associated with complex thoughts, absorbing new experiences into the subconscious, high anxiety and excitement. If you’re hanging out in Gamma or Beta, you’re sure not sleeping.
The Brainwaves of Sleep
When you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, your brainwave patterns aren’t slowing down enough to move you through the stages of sleep, of which there are three. Those who are experiencing sleep difficulties, if they do fall asleep, spend their time in Alpha state – just below the surface of wakefulness. This is why it is so difficult for many people to stay asleep. They’re seesawing back and forth between Alpha and Beta.
Alpha brainwaves are slower than the two brainwave patterns associated with our waking state. It vibrates between 8 and 12 Hz. It’s the resting state of the mind, reached in the moments before sleep, when we are lightly dozing and when resting with our eyes closed but are conscious. It is the frequency of “being in the now” or being completely present. If one reaches Alpha State while awake, they will experience a feeling of calm and total wellbeing.
Theta brainwaves are truly awesome. Oscillating between 3 and 7 Hz, Theta is associated with REM sleep, or dreaming. This is the frequency our subconscious minds operate at. This is where we can access our intuition, imagination, sponge-like learning, and states beyond our conscious awareness. Theta is known to be present when lucidly dreaming and in deep meditation. Sadly, most people never even get to Theta when they sleep, and if they do it is fleeting.
Delta brainwaves, the slowest pattern, vibrate as low as 0.5 Hz to 3 Hz. This is a loud, all-consuming sound, and is experienced by those in the deepest meditations, such as one-pointedness mediation. This is your dreamless sleep, and is the most restorative form of sleep – the healing state. When in this state, external awareness is suspended. There is no separation between yourself and all-that-is, no body and no environment. Reaching Delta, you will sleep deeply and wake fully rested.
The Remedy: Tune Your Brainwaves to the Level of Sleep
The cause of improper sleep lies in the brainwaves. You learned that most of us with sleep problems are hanging out in the higher brainwave frequencies and our brains are not automatically shifting down to those slower brainwave patterns. We’re essentially in high gear, all night long. But how do you influence your brainwave patterns to slow down? The answer lies in frequency.
When the brain is introduced to a vibration, such as Delta, it seeks to align with that frequency. Playing a Delta frequency through stereo headphones, your brainwaves will synchronize to Delta state within 6 to 10 minutes. By that time, however, you’ll be sleeping like a rock. The album below, “Nada Yoga,” is designed specifically for those who suffer from poor sleep, with Alpha, Theta and Delta brainwave frequencies embedded into calming music that will lull you deep into sleep.
Be Guided Through the Stages of Sleep
Each song features a brainwave pattern associated with sleep. The first three songs have an Alpha brainwave frequency embedded within them. The fourth song features a Theta wave, to move you from light sleep into the slower vibrating REM sleep pattern. Embedded into the final song is a Delta brainwave frequency, bringing you to the deepest level of sleep.
“Nada Yoga” means “union through mystic sound” in Sanskrit, and was the inspiration for the album. The idea was to create tracks that would lead the listener to lose their sense of body, as is typical with Delta state. The songs are named in Sanskrit as well, and each relates to a different state of consciousness and spiritual liberation. Maya (illusion), Subhechcha (noble desire), Nada Yoga (union or devotion through mystic sound), Atma Dhyana (realization of the Self through meditation) and Kaivalya (detachment or liberation from the material world, but is not the final stage of enlightenment).
The album’s value is twofold: it can be used to access profound levels of meditation during your waking hours, as well as lull you to sleep when you need it most. The album seeks to balance your brainwave patterns so that you can live a tranquil and vibrant life where the phrase “I can’t sleep” is a thing of the past. Click the image to stream the music for free, or to purchase the album for use at bedtime. Listen at a low volume so that your conscious mind does not try to analyze what you are hearing, allowing you to drift off into bliss. Sleep tight!