By Mary Kinney
Between working, relaxing, and going to sleep, people seem to have a playlist for everything -- but what if the music actually changed the state of your brain? Brain.fm, a new product in beta, creates original music that alters your brainwave frequencies. When you enter the site, you will be prompted to choose whether you want to relax, focus, or sleep. You will then get original, instrumental music to match your activity. They recommend wearing headphones for best results.
Much of the studies backing Brain.fm's magic have small sample sizes, but theoretically, the science is sound. Its function is founded on brainwave entertainment (BWE), which "uses rhythmic stimuli to alter brainwave frequency." It uses flashing lights or, in Brain.fm's case, "auditory tones" to stimulate the brain at the desired frequency.
For example, the frequency of sleep is "slow oscillations of sleep," so your brain "mimics" Brain.fm's original music to help you sleep. So, the sleep music starts with low frequencies and then "ramps up" and down to match your brainwaves. Sleep music feels more ambient, while on the other hand, focus music feels more intense.
Brain.fm's effectiveness varies from person to person, but regardless of the individual experience, it remains an interesting, alternative way to experience music. From my own listening sessions, focus music sometimes made me feel more creatively driven, and other times, a short 30-minute session left me completely exhausted. Still, Brain.fm makes you reconsider your own listening habits on and off of the website, and how those frequencies might affect your brain activity.
If you upgrade to pro, which would cost you from $4-$7 per month, you can chart your own progress in sleep and problem solving. If you start a trial, you'll receive seven free sessions of brain-stimulating music.