Sleep and Brain Wave Entrainment

A different look at levels of (un)consciousness

We’re aware of 2 basic modes of consciousness –

  • conscious – aware of surroundings, aware of thought and action to greater or lesser extent

  • unconscious or subconscious – to varying degrees not aware or unaware of these things – subconscious can vary from not lightly unaware of something e.g. not being conscious of your left foot until I mention it or not aware at all such as deep sleep or “out of it” by drink or drugs or trauma (knocked-out).


So looking at these different levels from a hypnotic viewpoint we tend to look at things from a fairly simple conscous/subconscious viewpoint. This is normally fine in a hypnosis sense but sleep demands more categories. This is where things get a little bit more complicated and defined in terms of “brain waves” – if you were to use an eeg machine (electro-encephelogram) this would show different frequencies which the brain operates at for different states of consciousness.

Sleep Cycles

There are between 4-6 sleep cycles per night each lasting around 90 mins or so – more details information is here

Gets complicated but who said analysing your brain was easy?! There are 5 “stages” in each cycle, the first 4 of which are non-REM (NREM) or Non Rapid Eye Movement sleep and the 5th is REM sleep which is the stage in which we dream. The link above gives more detail about what these stages are.


A key factor is the frequency at which your brain operates in each stage and biefly these can be summarised as (where Hz – Hertz is a measurement of brain eletrical cycles / second)

  • Beta 12- 38 Hz – wide awake state
  • Alpha 8-12 Hz – awake/relaxed e.g. just before sleep and just after awaking
  • Theta 4-8 Hz – light sleep/deep relaxation
  • Delta 0.2 – 4 Hz – deep, dreamless sleep, healing and resetting, not conscious; can have an effect of migraines, fibromyagia, chronic pain and blood pressure.

Brain Wave Entrainment (BWE)

This is where sound can influence the frequencies you can see above. If a recording starts at Beta level and gradually goes on to Alpha and so to Theta then Delta, the brain follows or is “entrained” by the sound. so someone listening to a recording which goes through these stages should find their brain automatically following the frequencies and if played when resting ready for sleep will most likely find themselves fast asleep without realising it and at the deep healing level. 

Working in conjunction with hypnosis to find the source of the insomnia and alleviating that the BWE recording quickly helps to re-establish a good sleeping pattern. Insomnia tends to be the mind/brain’s way of alerting someone to something they haven’t dealt with but is important to them. That can range from PTSD at a serious level to some niggling relationship or work problem which they have tried to ignore but the subconscious mind and brain processes are rarely fooled for long! 

A case of M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

The client in this case has had ME for a considerable period of time and nothing she has tried so far has lasted. I sent her an MP3 recording with a BWE track to get more delta sleep which has proved useful in the past. “I am definitely better with mp3. It rocks”. She is able to monitor the amount of deep sleep she achieves on a nightly basis and that has gone from 2-3 minutes to 80-90 minutes hence her enthusiasm. So clearly the effect on her autonomic nervous system has been useful. The range of problem delta sleep may help with is probably greater than the above list. This trial is still in progress but seems so far to be reducing unwanted symptoms.

Other cases have been to improve sleeping patterns and stubborn cases of insomnia and again the reported results have been encouraging.