Brainwave Optimization For Max Productivity

The Power of Brainwave Entrainment

Top producers know how to gear up mentally and emotionally for each type of business activity scheduled in their day. If you need to be creative, your brain wave patterns will need to be operating at your ideal range (7 to 13 Hz). On the other hand, to respond to a hyper emergency, the brain will need to ramp up to a frequency higher than 40 Hz.

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There are lots of ways to get to your desired state. One way is through meditation. Another, more direct method is through self-hypnosis. I’ve been practicing self-induced trance for so long now, I can simply command my self to get there and I’m there. If you are struggling to get into that creative zone consistently, here’s a cool mobile app to help.

It’s called “Brainwave” and it’s published by Banzai Labs ( ). This app will let you select a desired mood and then produces a sound pattern that entrains your brainwave. When I first started using this app, three years ago, I used it mostly to get into a creative writing zone. Now I use it to induce a quick 20 minute power nap.

There are other apps available some with subscriptions and some are free. I like the Brainwave app because it’s effective, flexible and is available for an affordable one time fee. Prices range from $1.00 for single applications to $3.00 for a bundle of 30 brainwave frequencies. You can also load your own sounds to layer over their binaural beats. I load the sounds of ocean waves which I purchased from

Another alternative is to listen to some classical music. Researchers have discovered that Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations can create the same Alpha brain wave frequency as these synthesized computer apps. The challenge is to find the appropriate performer and musical composition to achieve the affect. Since you and I are different, you will benefit from a different frequency than I, so you will need to experiment with a variety of composers and performers.


I like Glenn Gould’s original 1956 recording of the Goldberg Variations. It’s currently sold through Sony Classical Records. Almost every public library will have a CD copy of this recording.

So how does entrainment work? 

It’s quite brilliant and simple. The Banzai Brainwave mobile app generates two similar audible tracks that play stereoscopically at the same time. For example one track may produce a frequency of 310 Hz in one ear. The other track will produce a frequency of 302 Hz in the other ear. The mind subtracts the two tracks and creates a third frequency of 8 Hz (310-302=8).

So here’s the cool thing: the human ear can only hear sounds in the range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. It cannot hear the 8 Hz sound. But the brain will entrain to the 8 Hz frequency which, in this case, corresponds to the Alpha frequency, ideal for learning and other creative activities.

The idea of the binaural sub-audible wave patterns is not new. It was originally discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. By the 1970’s other’s were experimenting with the idea noting extraordinary results. When stereo headphones became easily available the idea really took off. Robert Monroe became a popular leader in the field. Monroe developed a whole line of products under the Hemi-Sync brand and were sold for therapeutic purposes.

Today, with the power of mobile computing, apps are cheap and easy to operate.

Brainwave entrainment can also occur visually. Light pulsing rhythms can affect the human brain. In 1995 I experimented with a variety of visual products. One was called the DreamMachine. At the time, I found the products fun but cumbersome. The full program cycle took about forty minutes so for me it wasn’t practical. It’s also difficult to fine-tune these pre-programmed products. I prefer the audible rhythm apps because I can work while listening to them.

What are the brainwave frequencies?

Through EEG reports (Electroencephalography), common mental activities seem to occur within certain brainwave frequencies. Here are some general ranges that are described by the Greek names: Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta.

Frequency Range

Brain Wave


> 40 Hz


High mental activity, perception, problem solving, fear, fight, flight

13 – 39 Hz


Active, busy, anxious, arousal, cognition, stress, paranoia

7 – 13 Hz


Relaxation (Awake), REM, Pre-sleep, pre-wake, drowsy, Dreaming

8 – 12 Hz


Mu Rhythm, Learning State, Mirror Neurons

4 – 7 Hz


Deep meditation/relaxation, NREM sleep

< 4 Hz


Deep dreamless sleep, loss of body awareness

I hope this information is helpful. Experiment on your own and let me know what you think. Send me a note or leave a comment on this web site. There are lot’s of cool apps and gadgets to help create an optimal zone for productivity. What’s working for you?

Next week we are hosting the fifth Winter Tune Up entitled “Reframing Stress” and other cool ways to improve your productivity in a stressful work environment.

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