What are Brainwaves?

January 13, 2016

The human brain is basically an electrical router. A fully functioning brain can generate as much as 20 watts of electrical power. The brain is always generating some level of electrical activity, whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep.

The combination of the brain’s electrical activity is commonly called a brainwave pattern because of its cyclic, wave-like nature.

Brainwave activity can be observed with a medical tool called an Electroencephalograph (“EEG”). The EEG measures and records brainwave patterns throughout all parts of your brain.

Brainwaves are commonly grouped into five different categories, ranging from most active to least active: least active to most active: Gamma (30 – 70 Hz); Beta (13 – 40 Hz); Alpha (7 – 13 Hz); Theta (4 – 7 Hz), Delta (1 – 4 Hz).

How you feel at any given moment is a byproduct of your brainwave activity. All states of consciousness results from combinations of Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta brainwaves. Each brainwave pattern is associated with a different state of mind. All the different kinds of brainwaves are active in your brain at all times, but one of these patterns is usually dominant over the others.

The dominant brainwave pattern is responsible for your state of awareness at any given time. The brains of healthy individuals shift through various brainwave patterns throughout the day.

When you are fully awake in the morning, your brain has shifted to a dominant Beta brainwave pattern and is likely to stay within those frequencies throughout the day, especially if you perform work that is mentally challenging. When the workday is done and you wind down and relax, your brain shifts and produces more Alpha waves.

When you lie down to sleep and close your eyes, your brainwaves shift to a dominant Alpha wave pattern, sometimes accompanied by Theta waves. Delta waves are the dominant rhythm during deep sleep, and Theta waves are exhibited when we dream.

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