Brainwave Patterns and Entrainment

There are basically 4 brainwave patterns – and we CAN use them to help us sleep.

Brain wave activity can be measured by EEG (electroencephalography) technology. The brain emits 4 different rhythms – alpha, beta, delta and theta.

Beta brain wave activity is associated with 14Hz – 30 Hz (highly alert and focused); alpha with 8 Hz – 14 Hz (relaxed but alert, meditative, rapid eye movement sleep or REM); theta 4Hz – 8 Hz (drowsiness, and the first stage of sleep); and delta 0.5Hz – 4 Hz (deep sleep).

In the waking state we are normally emitting beta brain wave patterns. When we first go to sleep it takes a while to reach the first cycle of alpha brain wave sleep. The brain then cycles during the night through the different sleep patterns of theta, delta and alpha rhythms with short spikes of waking during the night.

Interesting to know that if we listen to a sound that cycles at the pace of Alpha or Theta (for example) for a period of time – our brains actually try to copy the pace of the sound. This is known as entrainment.

Knowing this, if you are not sleeping well, I suggest that you purchase such a CD and/or download the sounds into your iPod (or similar) and re-train your brain for relaxation.

There are a number of products out there, easily obtainable. You could use these rhythms before going to bed, or if you wake in the middle of the night.

To find out more visit (There’s also a link to a graph which shows the normal sleep cycle of brainwave activity.)

Here’s one suggestion by Dr Jeffrey Thompson, from Amazon. Just click on the image and you will be taken through to see other options as well. This particular item has both the Alpha and Theta brainwave patterns – which are what I recommend.

The alpha rhythm is a little like a heartbeat, and the theta rhythm (even though you think is going to be slower seems a lot quicker, strangely).  Start with the alpha rhythm if you’re a beginner, and then use the theta later. Some people are slightly aggravated by the theta sound, but bear with it, as it gives great results once you accustom yourself to it. Select a quieter volume to start if you like.

I will also suggest that you could use these during your lunch break at work (while lying down or relaxing in a quiet place, please!) if you didn’t sleep well the night before, and need a pick me up. (Some research indicates that you should listen for up to about 23 minutes, no longer – only because it could make you too drowsy – so just make it a little ‘power nap’!)

I hope you enjoy experimenting with these sounds.



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