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sleep / relaxation

Isochronic Tones for Anxiety, Stress, and Sleep

by BetterSleep
Jan 20 • 3 min read

Isochronic tones are up and coming in the area of brain wave research. Few studies exist, but preliminary research shows these particular tones may help people relax, reduce stress, and even sleep better. You can safely add isochronic tones to your favorite meditation or sleep mixes for enhanced results.

What Are Isochronic Tones?

Isochronic tones are single tones repeated with intervals to create a beat. The intervals are evenly spaced, so it sounds like a rhythmic pulse when you listen to these tones.

Some people use isochronic tones in a technique called brain entrainment, used to treat things like anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Brain entrainment is the practice of syncing brain waves to a specific frequency.

The idea behind brain entrainment is that you can use isochronic tones to induce specific brain waves. For instance, if you struggle with insomnia, you might try this to induce theta waves. Theta brain waves occur when you are tired and just about to drift off to sleep.

How Are Isochronic Tones Different from Binaural Beats?

Another type of sound therapy, binaural beats, is more common and well-known. The purpose of this therapy is similar to isochronic tones: to change mood and sleep and to manage chronic conditions.

To create binaural beats, you hear one frequency in the left ear and a slightly different frequency in the right ear. Your brain perceives the difference between the two frequencies. Some research shows binaural beats can alter your mood, for instance, reducing anxiety.

Benefits of Isochronic Tones

Isochronic tones have not been studied as much as binaural beats. Research is limited but promising. The idea is that you can use these tones to create the brain waves you want for a particular mood or situation: gamma and beta waves for concentration and alertness, alpha waves for relaxation, and theta and delta waves for sleep.

While there are no studies yet for the potential benefits of isochronic tones on sleep, but some research indicates they can change mood and reduce stress and anxiety. A preliminary study recorded participants’ anxiety and stress levels before and after isochronic therapy. They all saw positive improvements in both measures. Although the researchers didn’t consider, reducing anxiety and stress can benefit sleep.

Another small study used isochronic tones to increase alertness and concentration by inducing beta and gamma waves. The results showed that it worked better than binaural beats. This indicates isochronic tones may also be useful for generating the sleepy states of mind with theta and delta waves.

Adding Isochronic Tones to Your Mixes

Research may be limited, but isochronic tones are generally safe to try. Keep the volume low to avoid damaging hearing, and talk to your doctor if you have ever had a seizure just to be safe.

Isochronic tones are compatible with music and sleep sounds. You don’t have to listen to a beat alone to get the benefits. On Better Sleep, you can add in your chosen isochronic tones or binaural beats to experiment with what helps you relax and sleep better.

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