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by Gerald Epling

Last night as I lay sleeping, a large owl came to perch on the tree outside my bedroom.  Soon, the air was filled with resonant tones.  “Who, who, who”, the familiar voice called.  Even in the depth of slumber, my ears do not sleep but listen with clarity to the sounds…

Music, words, and all sorts of sounds have power to influence our lives.  One part of the influence is thrust upon us just by being close enough to hear.  A second part of the influence comes from accepting what we are hearing.

Audible tones can be used to influence states of consciousness.  Have you ever been near a low frequency, droning sound that makes you sleepy?  This is possible because normal brain activity adjusts to the environment and our thoughts.

The open, perceiving brain produces activity that is characterized by a signature frequency between 3.5 and 7.5 cycles per second, as measured with an electroencephalograph (EEG).  As we slide into the world of sleep, the signature brain activity slows down to somewhere between 0.2 and 3.5 cycles per second.

Listening to, or being near tones that produce patterns between a 0.2 to 3.5 Hz tends to make us very relaxed, even sleepy.  This range of tones is called delta when it is reflected in the activity of the brain.  Here is an example of two tones blended together to produce a beat frequency in the range of delta brain waves.  Notice how the horse responds to this sound.  First he is curious, and yet quickly moves into a relaxed state of consciousness.  By the end of the short video, he appears to be very relaxed and even pauses to rub his head against the door frame.


In the next video, tones between 3.5 and 7.5 cycles per second are played.  This frequency range is called the theta region of brain activity.  Theta is the doorway to new perspectives as well as imagination.  Notice how attentive the horse is as the sound approaches.  The ears are forward.  He reaches out to sniff the sound machine and appears to be observing as it is the first time that he ever saw or heard such a thing, and yet he relaxes into the experience.


Sleep is an important part of a healthy life.  You can’t do your best, if you don’t get your rest.

Are you getting enough sleep at night?  The chart below includes suggestions from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


Age Recommended Amount of Sleep
Newborns 16–18 hours a day
Preschool-aged children 11–12 hours a day
School-aged children At least 10 hours a day
Teens 9–10 hours a day
Adults (including the elderly) 7–8 hours a day



Relevant Reading

Sleep and Sleep Disorders


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