Beta is generally the mental state most people are in during the day, and usually this state in itself is uneventful. However, beta brain wave activity is significant to proper mental functioning, and insufficient beta activity can cause mental or emotional disorders such as depression, ADD and insomnia.
Broadly speaking, beta brain waves are associated with alert attentiveness and concentration- intense focus and problem solving are linked to beta activity. Beta waves can also be related to strong, excited emotions.
Medications that are designed to induce concentration and alertness, such as Ritalin or Adderall, actually produce a beta brain wave state in most subjects.
All 4 of the studies highlighted in the infographic above met Dr. Tina Huang's standards for inclusion in her landmark 2008 article, "A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment."
To be included in that review, articles had to be original, full-length journal articles in peer-reviewed journals, and the studies had to be of an experimental design, with outcomes measured using reliable and appropriate test procedures, and with statistical outcomes revealed.
That highly selective criteria means that these studies represent only a portion of all of the work conducted in this field, but are decidedly some of the most significant. Keep reading to learn more about the incredible results of this research.
Sleepiness and sleep propensity are strongly influenced by our circadian clock as indicated by many circadian rhythms, most commonly by that of core body temperature. Sleep is most conducive in the temperature minimum phase, but is inhibited in a "wake maintenance zone" before the minimum phase, and is disrupted in a zone following that phase.
Different types of insomnia symptoms have been associated with abnormalities of the body temperature rhythm. Sleep onset insomnia is associated with a delayed temperature rhythm presumably, at least partly, because sleep is attempted during a delayed evening wake maintenance zone.
Morning bright light has been used to phase advance circadian rhythms and successfully treat sleep onset insomnia. Conversely, early morning awakening insomnia has been associated with a phase advanced temperature rhythm and has been successfully treated with the phase delaying effects of evening bright light. Sleep maintenance insomnia has been associated not with a circadian rhythm timing abnormality, but with nocturnally elevated core body temperature. Combination of sleep onset and maintenance insomnia has been associated with a 24-hr elevation of core body temperature supporting the chronic hyper-arousal model of insomnia.
The possibility that these last two types of insomnia may be related to impaired thermo regulation, particularly a reduced ability to dissipate body heat from distal skin areas, has not been consistently supported in laboratory studies. Further studies of thermo regulation are needed in the typical home environment in which the insomnia is most evident.