How Do Binaural Beats Improve Athletic Performance?
Sounds have been used as a motivational tool to change the way we think and feel for as long as humans have been around. As people and technology have evolved, the ways we use sound to change the way we think and feel have evolved along with us. One of the most potent audio technologies that has emerged over the few deceased is called binaural beats. Essentially, these are audio tracks that contain long vibrating tones. These tones are often accompanied by gentle sound textures to make them enjoyable to listen to. Nature sounds or light musical textures commonly accompany binaural beats.
Binaural Beats: The Science
Binaural beats are tracks that help your brian get into specific brain states. These tracks can help get our minds into states of flow, extreme focus, heightened confidence, relaxation and even sleep. To understand how binaural beats do this, we’ll need to briefly consider how our brain operates. Our brain is created out of neurons and while functioning, these neurons send electrical signals to each other. These signals flow in rhythmic patterns and can be thought of as waves moving through the ocean. These repetitive electronic communication patterns in our brains are called brainwaves, which have changing speeds depending on the activity level of our mind. For example, when we’re sleeping our brainwaves slow down, when we’re in a full on flow state, our brainwaves speed up. The vibrating tones in these tracks are set to one of these specific ideal brain wave states. So, when we listen to the track our brainwaves are coerced into the desired brainwaves state set in the track itself.
Looking closer at what some of those brainwave states are will help us understand the benefits of targeting each individual brainwaves state. Delta is the slowest brainwave state, which is experienced during deep dreamless sleep. When brainwave states become faster than that is called Theta. We experience these brainwave states during moments of deep meditation and creativity. The state that moves faster than that is called the alpha state. We experience this state when we are physically and mentally relaxed, but still plenty aware. The state above Theta is called beta, which occurs during moments of awake, alert consciousness and excitement. And finally, the highest brainwave state is called Gamma. We experience Gamma when we’re in a flow state with heightened perception and next-level mental processing.
Does it Actually Work?
In the past several years the effectiveness of binaural beats has become more and more undeniable. So much so that many universities around the world have begun controlled research around the efficacy of binaural beats. For example, a recent study was completed at the University of Sydney in Australia, which involved a large group of philosophers, brain scientists, and psychologists. In this study, researchers played individuals two different versions of the same track. One track had only the musical elements and the other had the musical elements and the binaural tones. Each of these participants listened to both versions of the binaural beats track while in an fMRI scanner. That's a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner that’s used to map and measure the brain’s activity. During these tests, it became clear that the binaural beats tones did in fact induce a brainwave entrainment effect.
This effectiveness is probably why some of the highest performing athletes in the world use binaural beats as a way to get into the flow before competition, de-escalate after the competition, then get into a deep dream state at night so their bodies can recover appropriately.
Binaural Beats: How to Listen
Binaural beats should be listened to with headphones. This is because functionally, Binaural beats work by using two separate tones. One of those tones is placed in the left ear, and the other is placed in the right ear. The difference in hertz (Hz) between those two frequencies is the same difference as the targeted brainwave state. For example, the Delta brainwave state is generally said to be about 3 Hz. That means that neurons are firing electrical signals in your brain to other neurons in rolling waves at the speed of 3 Hz. A binaural beat that has the purpose of inducing your brain into that state, would for example, contain a tone in the left ear at 100 Hz and a tone in the right ear at 103 Hz. Notice the difference of 3 hz in those two tones, which is the vibrational speed of the Delta state. As the mind listens to the tracks, it tries to make up the difference of those two frequencies, and in doing so it is drawn into the targeted brainwaves state.
Using binaural beats in sports is incredibly valuable because these tracks can be used to enter your flow state, sit back and reflect with relaxed awareness, or to de-escalate from peak performance. The value in this is huge. Think of the advantage you’d have if you were able to listen to a track that could ramp you up to that peak flow of mental alertness and seamless cognitive function before you got into a competition. Imagine what type of psychological and physical advantage that would give you. Now consider that all too familiar post-competition feeling, where you feel you’ve almost had too much coffee because you’ve spent so much time in that peak zone. What if you could listen to a track to calm the body down so that you’re able to focus, deconstruct, and integrate the game you just played to gain a deeper understanding on how you can improve and what you did right? Or what if you could gain an advantage at the greatest recovery tool of all for any athletes - sleep. Well, you can. Binaural beats of different kinds can help you get into all of these brainwave states and facilitate all of the possible outcomes.
Gain a competitive advantage with these cutting edge audio tools to improve confidence, focus, sleep and much more. All high performing athletes look for every single edge they can get because they know even the smallest thing is what makes the difference between winning and losing. You have the advantage of binaural beats right here at your fingertips. Use them to take your performance to the next level and become the champion you are meant to be.