What Are Alpha Brain Waves?

alpha brain waves

Alpha Brain waves? Your brain is a massive, dense network of connected brain cells called neurons. These neurons communicate with one another, and when groups of brain cells send an electrical signal to other groups, the result is called a brain wave.

Brain waves are known as such because the tools that measure and observe them — called electroencephalograms (EEGs) — produce images that look like waveforms when they are measuring brain waves.

There are different types of brain waves that your brain can produce. Some move quite slow, and others move very quickly. In this article, we will be discussing alpha brain waves that fall close to the middle of the spectrum.

How do alpha brains work

Alpha waves are produced between 8 – 12 Hz. Hz is a measure of frequency; 1 hertz is equal to one cycle per second. So alpha brain waves produce their wave cycle between 8 and 12 times per second.

As you can see, alpha brain waves don’t move that fast compared to things like electricity, which often has a frequency of around 50 Hz. However, compared to something like delta brain waves which have a frequency rating of just 0.5-3 Hz, alpha waves are significantly faster.

Alpha waves are produced by your brain when you’re awake but not needing to process a lot of information. They are most active soon after awakening or right before you fall asleep. Activities like daydreaming and meditating also seem to encourage the brain to produce more alpha waves.

Alpha brain waves are linked to states of mind that produce lower levels of stress, anxiety, and pain. There is some research that also suggests alpha waves are useful for helping people remember things.

alpha brain

Alpha Waves Compared to Other Brain Waves

Alpha waves are only one of the several different types of brainwaves that have been commonly identified. Alpha waves are in the middle of the brainwave spectrum, moving quicker than theta waves but not as quickly as beta waves.

Here is a quick bit of information about each type of brain wave and how they compare to alpha waves.

Delta Waves

Delta waves are the slowest type of brainwave. Your brain tends only to produce them when you’re in a very deep state of sleep. Deeper, even, than the R.E.M. phase during which you are having dreams.

Delta waves are measured between 0.5 and 4 Hz.

Theta Waves

Theta waves are produced during stages of sleep that are less deep. They can also be produced when you’re in a state of extreme relaxation.

Theta waves are measured at 4-8 Hz.

Alpha Waves

Alpha waves are produced when you don’t need to concentrate especially hard on any sort of task. They emerge when you’re somewhat relaxed; processing information without needing to focus intently on it. They measure at 8-12 Hz.

Beta Waves

Beta waves are produced when you’re wide awake. Beta waves are important to help maintain a state of focus and alertness. Beta waves are what your brain naturally produces when you’re performing your daily activities, making choices, and generally being alive.

Beta waves are faster than alpha waves and fall closer to the fast end of the spectrum. They measure around 12-35 Hz.

Gamma Waves

Gamma brain waves are the fastest moving of all brain waves. These brain waves are generally produced during high-intensity cognitive activities that require the focus and concentration of your mind. If you’re at school studying, working at a mentally demanding job, or trying to solve problems then your brain is most likely to be producing Gamma waves.

These waves are those which measure higher than 35 Hz. In some cases, they have been shown to oscillate as fast as 100 Hz, although they tend to measure towards an upward limit closer to 80 Hz.

left brain

Boosting Alpha Brain Wave Production for Relaxation

Alpha brain waves are generally produced during states of relaxation. Your brain doesn’t need to focus intensely on anything during alpha wave production. As such, these states are linked to reduced stress, lower anxiety, and feelings of contentedness.

Logically, one might assume that increasing alpha brain wave production might be a good way to facilitate a state of relaxation or calmness. Both scientific research and anecdotal reports seem to confirm that this works fairly well.

Researchers have also proved that there is a link between increased alpha waves and increased creativity. These same scientists also pointed out that depressed people tend to have a decreased ability to produce alpha brain waves on their own.

This suggestion implies that alpha brain wave management might be a useful tool for helping people overcome certain mental health problems. There are some technological solutions that may help to improve brain wave function, but there are also many other things that you can do at home without the need for electrical devices.

Some of the best alpha brain wave boosters are:

Meditation & Yoga

Meditation has been used for thousands of years to help promote alpha brain wave function — even if the practitioners of ancient times didn’t use the same terms. Meditation has been known to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mood for millennia prior to the discovery of alpha brain waves.

Yoga is a sort of physical meditation that works out the whole body. Yoga is a fantastic tool for producing relaxation.

expand your brain

Close Your Eyes & Visualize

In addition to providing a cool rhyme, the recommendation to close your eyes & visualize can actually help to produce alpha brain waves. This puts you into the ideal alpha brain wave state: processing very small amounts of information without needing to focus too intently. This may also be called daydreaming.

Take a Bath

Taking a warm bath filled with soothing scented oils can be a great way to produce alpha brain waves.

Conclusion

Alpha brain waves are a type of electrical current produced by your brain. This current is generally produced when you’re awake but not fully engaging your mind

Changing your lifestyle to produce more alpha brain waves may help reduce stress and anxiety. Doing relaxing things like meditation and daydreaming can help your brain ramp up the production of alpha waves.

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