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Delta Brainwaves Explained | The Benefits & How to Trigger Delta State

Learn more about the slowest band of recordable brainwave frequencies, and what makes them so valuable for healing and regeneration.

Written by Sarah Hill
August 26th, 2022

Delta brainwaves are the slowest recordable brainwave frequency, however the accepted range for each of the different types of brainwaves varies. 

 

Generally speaking, delta waves are seen as frequencies ranging from 0-4 Hz.

 

Please note: The Brainlink Lite EEG headband (a consumer neurofeedback device that pairs with Healium), classifies delta waves as 0- 2.75Hz, meaning that it’s important to keep in mind that the amount of delta you can expect to see when practicing neurofeedback at home with Healium will be much smaller.



For the purposes of this article, we’ll be classifying delta brainwaves as electrical impulses in the brain occurring at a frequency of up to 4 Hz. 

 

 

What Are Delta Brainwaves and What Do They Do?

 

Delta brainwaves are the slowest measurable brainwave band and are most prevalent during deep, dreamless stages of sleep.

 

Delta waves are most dominant in newborns, especially because they typically sleep between 14 and 17 hours per day. 

 

However, the dominant brainwave frequency for individuals often shifts as they age. For example, as babies age and their brain develops, the dominant frequency speeds up, which can be measured and observed with neurofeedback equipment.



Toddlers, for example, will have dominant frequencies into the Theta range. 

 

Although delta waves are usually associated with sleep, they can also be generated in a waking state by experienced meditators. 

 

When delta waves are present, the body is in a state of complete relaxation, and the mind is usually not very active.



When your brain is in a dominant delta state, it is essentially shut down for repairs.



This is true whether you’ve suffered a significant injury (like a concussion) or are simply regenerating during deep sleep, ridding your brain of toxins and resting after all the random electrical firings that happened throughout the day.



This is why experts agree that the deep sleep stages of the sleep cycle are so vital for healthy brain function. 

 

various brain waves diagrams are shown in an illustration. six brain waves are illustrated

 

The Benefits of Achieving a Delta State

 

Delta brainwave activity has also been linked to some health benefits, including improved immunity, reduced stress levels, and increased longevity. They are also thought to be involved in healing and may help reduce inflammation and pain. 

 

In addition, delta brainwaves have been shown to promote tissue regeneration and cell growth.

 

Being in a delta state has been associated with many additional health benefits, including:

 

The Release of Anti-Aging Hormones

During delta sleep, the body releases two important hormones: melatonin and DHEA, the “youth hormone.”

 

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and slows down the aging process. DHEA is a hormone that has been shown to improve immunity, reduce stress levels, and increase longevity.

 

When you are in a state of delta sleep, your body can produce these critical hormones more effectively. As a result, delta sleep helps your body (and your brain) with crucial restorative processes. 

 

Improving Your Immunity

Delta brainwaves have been shown to improve immunity by increasing the production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help regulate the immune system and fight off infection.

 

Since delta waves can be achieved through sleep, deep delta sleep may help to improve your immunity by increasing the production of these important proteins.

 

Additionally, delta brainwaves have been shown to reduce inflammation. This means that delta sleep may also help to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

 

Improve Cognitive Function

In addition to the physical benefits, delta sleep has been shown to improve overall cognitive function. One study found that delta brainwaves are associated with cognitive processing and memory recall.

 

Other research has shown that delta brainwaves can help improve attention span and reaction time. As a result, delta sleep may help you think more clearly, learn new information more effectively, and remember important details more easily.

 

Reduce Stress Levels

Delta brainwaves are also thought to be involved in the stress response. When delta waves are present, the body is in complete relaxation, which can help reduce stress levels.

 

In addition, delta brainwaves have been shown to reduce cortisol levels. The body releases cortisol in response to stress which has been linked to several health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

 

By reducing cortisol levels, delta brainwaves may help to improve your overall health and well-being.

 

How To Achieve a Delta State

 

 

Since there are a lot of benefits from delta brainwaves, you may be wondering how you can achieve a delta state. 

 

To be clear, every different brainwave frequency is already occurring throughout your brain at any given time. When experts talk about inducing a certain frequency state, what they’re essentially talking about is increasing that particular frequency within the brain, especially in targeted areas of the brain responsible for certain functions.



There are a few different ways to increase delta brainwaves, including:

 

Sleeping

This is perhaps the most obvious (and easily attainable). When delta is most prevalent, the individual is less active, meaning the most natural way to increase delta in your brain is by drifting off into a healthy, deep, and restful state of slumber. 

 

This means you should aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night.  You must get a full night’s rest to achieve delta waves during sleep. 

 

In addition, delta waves are more likely to occur in the later stages of sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night can disrupt these waves.

 

 

Interested in more information on the neuroscience of sleep? We’ve written an expansive blog here!

 

Meditation

Graphic of man meditating to achieve flow stateMeditation is another effective way to achieve higher levels of delta brainwaves. There are a few different types of meditation that can help, including:

 

–  Transcendental Meditation: Transcendental meditation is a type of meditation that involves repeating a mantra. This type of meditation is effective in reducing stress and anxiety levels.

 

– Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness meditation involves being present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This type of meditation can help you to focus and concentrate more effectively.

 

– Yoga Nidra: Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation involving lying in a comfortable position and focusing on your breath. It helps reduce stress and promote relaxation.

 

Neurofeedback 

vr meditation with neurofeedbackNeurofeedback is the process of capturing the electrical data of your brain (through devices such as EEGs), analyzing the results, and submitting yourself to specific brain training to achieve improvements.



There are many ways to practice neurofeedback, whether that be at home or in a clinical setting that offers QEEG brain mapping with controlled stimuli and expert analysis. 

 

 

Abnormal Delta Activity

While delta brainwaves are usually beneficial, there are some cases where abnormal delta activity can be problematic. To identify such potential problems, it’s important to first establish a baseline of delta brainwave activity inside your brain.



Remember, every frequency of brainwave is occurring inside your brain at any given moment, but when standard deviations are identified, the veil is lifted and valuable information can be gleaned.

 

 

Here are the most common problems associated with abnormal delta activity:

 

Head Trauma

When delta brainwaves are dominant in areas of your brain during wakefulness, it can be a sign of head trauma. Delta waves are a reliable indicator of traumatic brain injuries like concussions or worse. A qualified medical professional will be able to perform a CT scan or MRI to determine if there is any damage to the brain.

 

Exposure to Toxins

Exposure to toxins can also lead to abnormally high delta activity. Toxins can come from a variety of sources, including:

 

– Air pollution

– Water pollution

– Food contaminants

– Pesticides and herbicides

 

A  qualified medical professional will be able to perform a variety of tests to determine the source of the exposure and recommend treatment.

 

Cognitive Impairment

Abnormal delta activity has also been linked to cognitive impairment. Delta waves are a reliable indicator of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

 

Individuals with brain lesions or tumors may exhibit delta activity, and delta waves can also accompany severe ADHD and other forms of cognitive impairment.

 

brainwave graph is displayed over a photo of purple mountains

How To Balance Brainwaves

Your brainwaves are always active, even when you’re asleep. They’re responsible for everything from your thoughts and emotions to your physical movement. But when your brainwaves are out of balance, it can contribute to various problems, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia, and migraines.

 

Fortunately, there are several ways you can balance your brainwaves and improve your overall health.



Yoga and tai chi are excellent for balancing brainwaves. These gentle forms of exercise help relax the body and mind, promoting a sense of well-being.Other helpful activities for balancing brainwaves include listening to calming music, spending time in nature, and practicing deep breathing exercises. 

 

However, our favorite way to increase delta brainwaves is by practicing meditation and mindfulness. Meditation helps to calm the mind and bring about a sense of peace.

 

For delta brainwaves specifically, we recommend practicing sleep meditation, which aims at achieving deeper states of sleep through effective stress reduction. 

 

At Healium, we take the effectiveness of these meditation practices to the next level by immersing our users in virtual reality experiences, while also offering ways to capture and view their brainwave data so they can work to improve the management of mental wellness. 



The science behind Healium has shown promising results, including an improved effectiveness over audio-only meditation, decreases in anxiety, and an increase in positive mood states.

 

 

Bottom Line

Delta brainwaves, like other types of brainwaves, can be beneficial or problematic depending on the context and their relative level of activity. 



Delta waves are most commonly associated with sleep and meditation. However, delta activity can also signify head trauma, exposure to toxins, or cognitive impairment if abnormally active. 

 

It is essential to balance delta activity with other types of brainwaves to promote optimal health. Additionally, if delta activity is abnormal, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor or qualified healthcare professional can order the appropriate tests and recommend treatment.

About the Author

Sarah Hill is the CEO of Healium, the world’s first biometrically-powered VR/AR immersive media channel controlled by the user's brainwaves and heart rate via consumer wearables.

Learn more about her here.

Written by Sarah Hill
August 26th, 2022
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