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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Delta Brain Waves and Their Importance in Sleep

Last week I attended a seminar where the speaker was, in part, discussing our different brain wave patterns and the importance of each.  I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of what he said with regard to each.  In listening to all the information, I saw to a higher degree why problems with sleep can be debilitating to us and over time cause both emotional and physical problems.

Our brains create five different types of brain waves; Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma.  These brain waves have different functions and accomplish very different tasks in our bodies.
  • Delta waves are the slowest and are present in the very deepest of sleep.  They operate at a rate of  .5 and 4 Hz (cycles per second) and are found in late stage sleep.  When we are inAn EEG (electroencephalograph) 1 second sample...                                           Image via Wikipedia                                         this stage of sleep our brains produce the neurotransmitters that we  need, such as seratonin,  Melatonin, Dopamine, BTNF for memory function and HGH to name a few.  As we know, healthy neurotransmitter levels have everything to do with our feelings of well being, how depressed we feel and how well our memory works.  
  • Theta waves operate at a rate of between 4-8 Hz.  The rate around 7.8 Hz is a very  meditative state which is healing and restorative to the body.  When the brain staysExample of an EEG theta wave.                                            Image via Wikipedia                                           on this level of operation, we get relaxed but can't focus very well, we feel slow and sluggish.  If we are daydreaming or feel relaxed and our minds are wandering, we are in a Theta state.  
  • Alpha waves operate between 8-12 Hz.  When a person is lacking in Alpha brainwave activity, they are usually having trouble with racing thoughts, rapid thinking or over thinking.   An EEG (electroencephalograph) 1 second sample...                                               Image via Wikipedia                                   They may also suffer from anxiety, nervousness, insomnia or other stress related problems.  Experiencing a healthy dose of Alpha waves melts away stress, improves learning ability, memory as well as help in our social interaction.  
  • Beta waves have the effect of keeping us focused.  Beta waves operate between 12-38 Hz and are typically produced in the leftAn EEG (electroencephalograph) 1 second sample...                                                  Image via Wikipediahemisphere of the brain.  Individuals who are primarily logical or analytical may have a predominance of beta wave activity.  If we tend to stay in a beta state, we can become overly anxious and stressed.  This is a brain wave state where people feel very motivated, focused and have a lot of energy and often we like to stay there because we feel very productive in a beta state. 
  • Gamma waves operate from 40-70 Hz and has been thought to be the brain wave which is able to link and process information from all parts of the brain.  An EEG (electroencephalograph) 1 second sample...                                                    Image via Wikipedia                                                        Gamma waves are linked with high intelligence levels, compassion, having high amounts of self control as well as natural feelings of happiness. 

 According to Brain Waves Blog, "If you are currently having difficulty remembering information like:  names, dates, events, plans, etc. – you would likely benefit from increasing your Gamma Brainwave range."  

When thinking about what scripture says when we think of joyful or positive things, or when we pray, we are actually changing our brain wave modulation.  In a very simple way, if we do some research on how we react when we are in the different brain wave states, we can often tell what parts of the sleep process are limited or which of the different brain waves we might need to develop.  

Giving the credit to Brain Waves Blog, here is some information on Delta waves.  Again, this is the deepest part of our sleep cycle and may be one that is being shortened if our sleep is disturbed by stress, anxiety or racing thoughts.   If this subject is one that catches your interest, you may want to talk to your doctor about having a sleep study done.  During a sleep study, a sleep technologist records multiple biological functions during sleep, such as brain wave activity, eye movement, muscle tone, heart rhythm and breathing via electrodes and monitors placed on the head, chest and legs.  

Outside of sleep studies, there are different forms of sleep aids that can help us become more relaxed.  Chamomile tea is a relaxing herbal solution that can help enhance the sleep experience.  Homeopathic aids such as Calms Forte can reduce some of the emotional background noise.  Innate Response puts out a whole food supplement that I find useful :  
Sleep Response  - this supplement does not leave you groggy in the morning and is able to be used for elderly patients who struggle with disorientation using other types of prescription sleep aids.  

What Are Delta Brain Waves?

Delta Brain Waves are the brain’s slowest frequency range cycling at a rate of 1-4 times per second (e.g. 1 Hz – 4 Hz). Delta Brain Waves become active in your brain when you are in the deeper stages of sleep (e.g. stage 3 and stage 4). They are associated with being completely unconscious (i.e. you usually won’t know or remember anything while Delta Waves are dominant). Delta Brain Waves have been known to oscillate throughout all parts of the brain and are not usually synchronized. Of all brainwave ranges, the Delta Waves have the greatest amplitude and are responsible for the slowest form of mental processing.
Having access to the Delta Brainwave state not only implies that we are in a deep stage of sleep though. In some cases, people can learn to increase their delta activity. People with high amounts of Delta Waves have been found to have increased empathy (or understanding of others’ emotions). Other interesting effects have been documented as a side-effect of having Delta Brainwaves.

Delta Brain Waves Benefits

Delta Brain Waves have been proven to have a number of beneficial side-effects.  When Delta Brain Waves increase, so does your natural ability to:  Release Anti-Aging hormones, tap an increased amount of empathy (understanding how others feel), heal the mind and repair your muscles, and access the deepest possible states of relaxation.  Other side-effects as a result of Delta Brain Waves include:  the release of natural growth hormone, the release of melatonin, connecting with your intuition and accessing deep states of spirituality.
Another great thing about Delta Brain Waves is that they have been known to reduce levels of cortisol in your body.  Cortisol is a hormone released when you are under stress that basically kills off brain cells and can cause damage to parts of your body.  Cortisol has been linked to quicker aging, while having less cortisol has been known to be associated with anti-aging.  For some individuals with high amounts of stress, Delta Brain Waves may also work great at reducing adrenaline levels.
The great thing about Delta brainwaves is that they are able to connect you with deeper parts of your unconscious mind.  Even though you must travel down throughAlpha Brain Waves and Theta Brain Waves before you can reach Delta, many people are able to greatly appreciate a Delta Brainwaves experience.  If you spend too much time caught up in the higher ranges of brain waves, then chances are you may be able to benefit from Delta Waves, especially if you increase them right before you go to bed.  Since Delta Brainwaves are associated with sleep, listening to a brainwave entrainment session in the Delta frequency range of 1 Hz to 4 Hz will do a nice job at helping you fall asleep.
Advanced monk meditators have also been known to access the Delta Brain Waves range when they practice meditation.  The average, less experienced meditator usually is only able to acess the Alpha or Theta Brainwaves range.  However, if you practice long enough and get proper training, you too will be able to tap into your Delta awareness.  Having a brainwave pattern that is dominated by Delta Brainwaves is impossible if the person is awake.  Many people have also reported having spiritual experiences and sometimes O.O.B.E. (Out-Of-Body-Experiences) while having Delta Brainwave activity.  These paranormal experiences are more common if a person has access to slower levels of their Brain Waves.

People With Delta Brain Waves

Typically, Delta Brain Waves are most commonly documented in E.E.G. brain activity while a person is asleep.  However, other individuals like:  babies, very young children, monks/advanced meditators, people who have had Near-Death-Experiences, people suffering from brain damage, and people with brain damage have also been known to have higher than average amounts of Delta Brain Waves.
If you saw a boxer get K.O.’d (Knocked-Out), he would have been experiencing Delta Brain Waves.  If you have ever been put to sleep with anesthesia, you were knocked into your Delta Brain Waves state.  Other individuals who lack focus and suffer from attention-deficit can also have high amounts of Delta Brain Waves – even though having Theta Waves is more common.

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting article, but how to practise the same.Without practise and support from proper Masters, it is difficult to adapt the same.
    I will be pleased if any body can help me to learn the same.
    Sanjib Kumar Banerjee