We’re constantly experimenting on how we can get the best night’s sleep ever. Recently, we’ve been trying binaural beats for sleep and we think this could be the next big thing in sleep hacking.
If you want to experience relaxation, restorative sleep and a reduction in nighttime anxiety without reaching for the medicine cabinet, it’s definitely worth researching the question, do binaural beats work?
We’ve compiled everything that you need to know about binaural beats, where you can get them and whether they might work for you.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!
What are Binaural Beats?
First things first, you’re probably wondering what on earth binaural beats actually are.
They’re a form of brainwave entrainment that are delivered through audio tracks, that you have to listen to using headphones.
These tracks are composed of two tones of different frequencies, with one tone being presented to one ear and the other tone to the other ear.
The difference in frequency between these two tones creates the illusion of a third tone — the binaural beat. The difference between the tones has to be less than 40 Hz in order to create a binaural beat.
The binaural beat’s frequency is the difference between the initial two tones. So, for instance, if you were listening to an audio track with two tones of 490 Hz and 500 Hz, the binaural beat that you would hear would be 10 Hz.
This 10 Hz frequency influences your brainwaves and sees them mimic the 10 Hz frequency of the binaural beat.
Different frequency brainwaves are associated with different behaviors and feelings in the human brain so you can choose binaural beat audio tracks that promise to stimulate certain experiences and moods.
Here is a basic summary of how you can expect to feel at different brainwave frequencies:
|Type of Brainwave
|0.1 to 4 Hz
|Deep, slow wave sleep
|4 to 8 Hz
|Meditation and hypnosis
|8 to 14 Hz
|Relaxed mental state
|14 to 30 Hz
|Active thinking and concentration
|30 to 50 Hz
|Maximum sensitivity, conscious experience, transcendental meditation
So you can see, if you’re using binaural beats for sleep, you’d want to choose audio tracks that produce beats of under 4 Hz — or possible between 4 to 8 Hz if you were looking to meditate.
A person using binaural beats for focus and concentration would listen to audio tracks of a binaural beat between 14 to 30 Hz.
It’s easy to customize your experience with binaural beats and some mixers actually create tracks that experiment with different frequencies, to give you a wide ranging and developing experience for the length of the track.
Do Binaural Beats Work?
Whether binaural beats actually work is a cause for debate.
Anecdotally, lots of people have had great experiences with binaural beats for sleep and other purposes. Others are more sceptical.
There is a consensus in the scientific community that listening to a sound in each ear produces a third sound “from the coincidences of their vibrations”. It’s also been found that brainwaves can alter in response to such stimuli, which can therefore affect the mental and emotional state of the person listening.
Sceptics claim that as humans rarely hear frequencies below 20 Hz, researchers are likely over emphasizing the benefits of binaural beats.
The concept of entrainment — two different oscillating beings mutually influencing each other into the same frequency — has been doing the rounds since the 17th Century so the debate will likely rage on for at least a few more years.
Regardless of the hazy science surrounding binaural beats, plenty of people use and experiment with them anyway, It has been reported that some Olympic athletes use them for relaxation and to achieve a focused mental state before and after sports performance, for instance.
Binaural Beats for Sleep
When it comes to binaural beats for sleep, it’s important to listen to beats that mimic delta waves. Delta waves are the brainwaves your body experiences in deep, dreamless sleep.
Binaural beats can help to move your brainwaves down into their natural delta frequency, which in turn will promote relaxation and improve your sleep.
Insomniacs and anxiety sufferers find plenty of value in using binaural beat audio before bed as they have such a calming and quieting effect on the mind, but aren’t associated with the same dangers and risks of sleeping pills.
Users frequently report getting off to sleep faster, spending more time in restorative REM sleep, and just generally sleeping longer and deeper. It’s not called a binaural beats deep sleep for nothing!
It’s recommended that you listen to the track immediately before going to bed in order to benefit from the full effects.
Some people choose to actually listen to the track in bed, while using sleep headphones for maximum comfort and safety, in case they drop off to sleep before the track finished.
Binaural Beats for Lucid Dreaming
But it’s not just poor sleepers who like to use binaural beats before bed.
Those of us who like to experiment with lucid dreaming find that listening to a binaural audio track immediately before sleep can stimulate incredibly vivid dreams, help us hold onto conscious awareness and help us to remember those dreams upon waking — important tools for the lucid dreamer.
Here’s a popular YouTube video of a binaural beats for lucid dreaming track:
The binaural beats tracks designed for lucid dreaming typically shift your brainwaves into the theta frequency of between 4 and 8 Hz. Associated behaviors at these frequencies include light sleep and clarity of thought.
Lucid dreaming often requires a little more effort than simply listening to a binaural beats track before bedtime. We recommend that you use binaural beats in addition to the other tools people use to stimulate lucidity, including dream journalling and reality checks.
Where can I get Binaural Beats?
If you’ve never tried using binaural beats before, YouTube is a great place to start. There are plenty of videos you can browse to give you a better idea of whether this is something you’d like to explore further.
As a word of warning, however, the quality of binaural beat tracks on YouTube is notoriously poor in comparison for paid for and downloaded audio tracks, which are usually of much higher quality and purity.
I-Doser is most famous for its ‘digital dose’ binaural beats that mimic the effects of various illegal and prescription drugs without any of the usual risks associated with such substances.
Both stores have a wide selection of audio tracks for deep sleep and lucid dreaming.
Now you know everything there is to know about binaural beats for sleep.
Have you tried binaural beats before?