Drug Your Brain Like The Pied Piper Drugged Those Rats
If you don't know WTH I'm talking about, read on and change...hmm, 5% of your life (give or take)
What if I told you that I have an app on my phone that helps me study, relax, sleep and even relieve stress? And what if I told you that you probably also have that app on your phone and have used it for a long time? What if I told you that this app is Spotify?
That's right, you've been using Spotify wrong all this time and you didn't even know it. But don't feel bad, I discovered this only a few months ago, at first I didn't believe it but I was able to test it and it works quite well.
A while ago I read about this new sleep monitoring technique called NuCalm, a system that helps you enter deep sleep stages in just a few minutes. This method consists of a small sticker that you put on your wrist, which emits pulses, an eye mask, and headphones that play beats that are synchronized with the record. “We are getting closer to being an episode of Black Mirror,” I thought to myself. But I found it quite interesting nonetheless.
Reading a little more, I discovered that the tracks that NuCalm plays are not just any sounds, they are binaural beats. Bi-what beats? I know, it sounds like something out of the Matrix movie. At first, I thought it was something very complicated and that you needed an advanced program or some very expensive headphones for that, but it turns out that you only need Spotify and some headphones.
It's Like Hearing Drugs
Now a bit of theory. Binaural beats are the result of hearing different frequencies in each ear, and as a result of that, we hear a third frequency that is not really there, but our brain perceives it. Let's say that in the right ear we are listening to audio at 145 Hz while in the left ear that same audio is at a frequency of 156 Hz, our brain then begins to perceive audio at a frequency of 11 Hz, since that is the difference Between one frequency and another, this auditory illusion is called a binaural pulse.
My biggest surprise was when I read that this phenomenon was discovered in 1839 by a physicist. I didn't even know Spotify had been around for so long (mandatory lame joke, I know)
There are some rules, though (I know I hate rules too, but they’re simple, only 3 rules, I promise)
The frequency of the beats should not exceed 1000 Hz
The difference between each side should not be greater than 30 Hz.
Enjoy the ride! Your ears to going on a space trip.
Now, what effect do binaural beats have? We already know how they work but we don't know what they do. In short, when our brain is very busy listening to frequencies that are not really there, a sensation similar to that of some drugs and medications is created. Depending on the difference between frequencies, we can recreate different effects in the brain, such as relaxation and concentration.
Do you remember the story of a piper who tamed rats to end the plague of a town? Imagine that, but the rats are our brain, and no your brain won't cliff jump through your nose, we're training our brain to do what we want.
Music To Tame The Beast
Binaural sounds have been used for decades, however, their effects on health and well-being are still very new. There are some studies carried out, for example, on factory workers. Those who were exposed to binaural sounds were shown to be more effective at performing tasks. Even crazier(cooler) in a study done with a group of patients who were going to undergo surgery, that those who listened to these beats had lower levels of anxiety. Finally, another study yielded data on people who listened to at least 30 minutes of binaural beats for a month, they expressed feeling in a better mood than those individuals who listened to regular tracks.
It's like we can fool our brains with audio!
The results suggest that binaural beats can help us to concentrate, improve memory, lower anxiety and stress levels, better regulate our moods, better cope with pain and even sleep more and better.
My Guide To Using Binaural Beats
Lots of chatter and little action. Now I am going to explain to you how to use binaural beats and what uses you can give them in your day to day life.
First of all, you only need a device with internet access (YouTube, Spotify, etc.) and some headphones or earbuds. Don't worry about the quality, I've been using my cheap-ass $30 headphones and the experience has been satisfactory. I'm going to share the Spotify playlists that I've been using and what each one of them is for.
The beats that promote concentration and problem solving are those with frequencies between 14 and 30 Hz. These are also called Beta frequencies. They will sound a little weird at first, like one of the speakers is lagging behind the other, but in just a few minutes you will get used to it.
I have been using it to write since that is my job, in fact, as I write this I am listening to binaural beats. It has helped me to maintain a more regular work rhythm since I tend to get easily distracted by my phone or with distractions at home, when I put on my headphones it is like entering another world and when I least realize it, I have already written 500 words without having stopped. You don't even realize when one track ends and the next begins and you wouldn't have to. These beats shouldn't distract you from what you're doing and only sound like background music to your own movie. From my experience I assume that it can help you study, especially calculus or things that require analysis, I'm not quite sure how it will turn out if you have to memorize concepts and theory.
These tracks can be identified by verifying that the frequency is between 8 and 13 Hz (some songs in Spotify specify their frequency in the title), you will also know that they are audio to relax if they are identified with Alpha frequencies.
I have only used this frequency for a few minutes a day. I put on my headphones, close my eyes, and lie down for a few minutes in the middle of the day. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to silence the voice in my head that constantly reminds me of all the things I have to do but when I get into the zone, I have the feeling of having taken a light nap.
I am definitely not a meditation expert, in fact, I consider myself a novice and am considerably new to this world, but my experience thus far using binaural beats for meditation has been positive. It is much easier to meditate with a constant background noise than to find a completely quiet place in my house. If you live in a crowded city, this may help you find the serenity required to focus and clear your mind. These are known as theta frequencies.
I personally haven't used binaural beats to sleep, mainly because I can't do it with cables wrapped around my body as I move around a lot when I sleep, BDSM isn't for sleep guys! I will definitely give it a try when I have some small wireless earbuds. These beats have the lowest frequency, 1 to 4 Hz apart, and are called Delta frequencies.
So let me know which frequency you tune into and happy tuning you pied pipers!