What do brain waves do in our brain and what about ADD and ADHD?
Our brain produces brain waves, also known as ?brain waves, throughout the day. This is the electrical activity of our brain and enables our brain cells to communicate with each other to transmit information. Our mood and the environment we are in determine the intensity of these brain waves.
In general, it can be said that during the same state of mind (waking, sleeping, stress, being creative, etc.), each brain produces roughly the same brain waves. When psychological factors come into play, abnormal brain activity is often measured. In ADD and ADHD, but also in depression and anxiety disorders, for instance, it has been found that different brain activity is measured in certain parts of the brain. We then speak of ?abnormal brain activity' because the brain activity is different compared to normal.
Brain waves can be measured via a EEG, which stands for Electro-EncephaloGram. With an EEG, you basically visualise brain activity on a monitor using sensors on the head. This EEG equipment was discovered as early as 1924 by Hans berger. It then turned out that there were different brain waves in the brain that we could divide into a spectrum.
What are the brain waves?
Thus, we now know Alpha, Beta, Theta, Delta and Gamma brainwaves covering a complete spectrum from 0 ? 42 Hz. Some scientists even say Gamma waves can reach up to 70 Hz.
These brainwaves each have their own vibration intensity and are expressed in Hz, or vibrations per second. Below I describe the different brainwaves our brain can produce and what kind of mood you experience as a human being. I start with the brainwaves with the lowest intensity, or the slowest brainwaves.
Delta waves 0.5 ? 4 Hz. (Deep sleep)
Delta waves are called the waves our brain produces between 0.5 ? 4 Hz. These are the slowest brain waves our brain can make and are produced when we are in deep sleep. The brain waves ensure that our body is in an optimal state to heal. Some people who are at an advanced stage of meditation can also achieve this state. Think of the monks of the eastern world.
Theta waves 4 ? 7 Hz. (Meditation and deep relaxation)
Theta brain waves are in the spectrum of 4 ? 7 Hz. These brainwaves are produced just before we fall asleep and during (day) dreaming. We are completely relaxed and open to our creative ideas and distant memories. Also, our intuitive ability is very strong at this time. When you meditate and enter the Theta state you will experience that you have an enormous dose of creativity that your mind is capable of. It feels like your creativity is suddenly awakening.
In ADDs/ADHD sufferers, there appears to be above-average Theta activity mainly in the frontal cortex (front part) of the brain during the day. In 'normal' ;) people, almost no Theta activity can be measured during the day. This high Theta activity is not favourable when you are expected to be in an alert state where you need to concentrate. You will therefore be easily distracted and unable to concentrate on tasks. You will also have problems with motivation. Dreaming away, that's more your thing ;)
Alpha waves 7 ? 14Hz. (Relaxed and clear)
The brain waves with a frequency of 7 ? 14 Hz. we subdivide into Alpha waves. When the brain produces Alpha brainwaves, we feel very pleasant and relaxed but at the same time alert. So you are not rushed and stressed but rather calm and can easily reach your creative sides while feeling rested and clear.
In this Alpha state, we are good at learning and absorbing information. We can focus well and information is easily processed by the brain. We also retain memories easily. EEG equipment shows that when we close our eyes, Alpha waves in the brain immediately increase. An easy way to quickly of course you can get into Alpha state read here.
Beta waves 14 ? 40 Hz. (Alert and vigilant)
Beta waves are called the waves produced between 14 ? 40 Hz. In this we can still low, medium and high Beta waves. In general, we produce Beta waves when we have our attention focused externally. So at that moment, we are not at all occupied with ourselves but with our external world. For example, we are at work, driving a car, talking, reasoning, presenting and making decisions.
When we experience stress and tension, a large amount of high (fast) Beta activity is present while there are few other brainwaves. With a good ratio of Beta waves to other brainwaves, you can be hugely successful. You can then perform a task clearly and focused without making mistakes quickly because you lose focus. You can also think logically, reason, remember and make decisions well at that time.
With a bad Bèta relationship, your brain is in a chaos of thoughts that you cannot stop. Focusing on 1 thing is therefore out of the question. In people with ADD and ADHD, abnormal beta activity is therefore often measured. This causes problems with processing information and sustaining attention.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, it is because there is still a lot of Beta activity in the brain. It is therefore also a good idea to do some take rest to calm the brain and so the Bèta activity to decline.
You can also use binaural beats. This is by far the easiest way to calm your brain quickly and naturally, purely by listening to certain audio frequencies your brain will reference. Works very well for me! Read all about it here.
Gamma waves 40 ? 42 Hz. (Very alert and focused)
Brain waves with a frequency starting at 40 Hz. produce our brain when we are in a high state of consciousness and highly alert. This happens when we need to deliver a top performance. At that time, we can easily absorb and process all the information from our surroundings to make quick decisions.
Bring yourself into Alpha state (calmness, relaxation and clarity)
I have now given you an insight into the whole spectrum of brain waves that the brain can produce. It is not that we are slaves to our brain and have to make do with the waves our brain produces. Neither is it the case that we are always dependent on our environment and that it determines which brain waves our brain produces and therefore what state we are in.
We ourselves can exert enormous influence to get into a pleasant state of consciousness and produce brain waves that optimise our ability to, for example, learn, relax, focus, sleep, feel comfortable and relax etc.
For example, when you are hugely stressed or anxious you produce a lot of Beta brainwaves that cause you to not feel clear in your head. Your brain is a chaos of thoughts and jumps from one thing to another. You feel restless and uncomfortable. Relaxation exercises and meditation (see tip 5), but also sports/movement (tip 6) then ensure that your bèta activity decreases. But there are many other options to get your brain optimised so that you feel comfortable, calm, relaxed and clear.
There is a simple and very effective method for an ADD or ADHD person to quickly bring your brain into a calm state, like the Alpha state. I use this myself and it helps me a lot. Whether you want to sleep, relax, concentrate or become energetic. You can read more about it in the following article on get your brain into Alpha state quickly for better concentration, calm and relaxation
Want to read more about the differences between the "normal brain" and the "ADD/ADHD brain" in terms of brainwaves? You can read that here. That gives you a lot of insight about yourself and other people with ADD or ADHD, very interesting!
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