How devices can affect your brain waves

Through my journey of meditation, l sometimes wonder why one meditation session is so much more successful than another. I mean, l do similar things each time, but as you can see what you do before a meditation session matter the same if not more than what you do during the session. I decided to try out Muse Mind Meditation which gives you real time feedback during the session to let you know how you are going. I was very excited to receive my new muse hardware as finally a way to measure my brain waves. I’ve seen a lot of studies but I wanted to find for myself how using devices before bed can affect your quality of sleep by suppressing production of melatonin. The idea is to create a routine for your body and mind to get enough rest before sleep after a long day of work. All you need to do is wear their headband during the session which then pairs up with the app.  Also after the session, you are able to review the data about your meditation which includes; the times for calm, neutral and active.

How devices can affect your brain waves

So let’s see what happened and then we can discuss how it actually works.

For this session 1:  l turned off all electrical devices around  7 pm, and then just played with my kids and read before doing the meditation at 9 pm.

Session 2: I used my computer right up to doing the meditation session.

The results are noted below.

  Session 1 Session 2
Birds noted 91 7
Recoveries  1 30
Duration of session 10 minutes 10 minutes
Time mind in active phase 1 sec 1 min 16 sec
Time mind in neutral phase 1 min 10 sec 5 min 22 sec
Time mind in calm phase 8 min 49 sec 3 min 22 sec
Successful meditation? Yes  Not so much

Ok, so now lets go over what it all means. The “muse” is a device you put on your head (like a headband) that measures your brain’s natural electric field from outside your head while you meditate. As you can see they divided the meditation into 3 sections:

 

  • Active: This is time your mind is wondering. If you notice that your mind is fluctuating and bring back your attention to the breath, you are awarded with a recovery point. If your mind is  wondering you will hear
  • Neutral: This is a natural resting state. Your attention is neutral, not fluctuating and not resting.
  • Calm:  This is where you want to  be, a time where you are only concentrated on your breath. If you’re calm for long enough, guess what you will hear birds and that’s a reassurance you are on the right path and to go deeper into your focus.

As noted, the meditation session was more successful when l turned off all my electricals 2 hours before l started the session. I was able to stay in a calmer state for longer hearing 91 birds vs only 7 during session 2 (where l switched off electricals when l commenced the meditation). Also, in session 2 l had a larger number of recoveries, meaning my mind was wondering for longer periods of time but the good thing was l was able to bring it “back” by concentrating on my breath.

Though sometimes it’s hard even for me, l always recommend 30 min of switching all devices off before sleeping and 5 min of a mindful breathing session before sleeping to calm the mind and bring you into a state of relaxation. 

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