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The Best Brain Wave Tech of 2021
Choose your ideal brainwave headset from this list
A hundred years ago, people thought we would have flying cars by now (sounds like a logistical nightmare). They probably wouldn’t have dreamed of the brain wave tech we have at our fingertips today.
Your brain has five main categories of brain waves: gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Gamma waves allow you to concentrate and learn new things. Beta waves are for problem-solving. Alpha waves boost creativity and recharge your brain. Theta and delta waves are associated with sleep and dreaming.
Hacking your brain waves has become more accessible than ever thanks to consumer wearable devices. These devices do a range of different things that affect your brain waves and improve your mental state. Many people are looking for a way to channel a brain wave to sleep or to meditate.
There are numerous wearable devices on the market that are targeted to improve meditation and sleep. How will you know which brainwave headset to choose? Here are some of the top consumer wearables out there and what they have to offer.
Brain wave tech for sleep
With all of the stress modern life brings, it seems like people are tossing and turning more often than ever. You might be practically falling asleep at work, but as soon as you lie down at night your mind starts racing more than ever. If that sounds familiar, you could benefit from one of these brain wearables.
The Apollo is a brainwave entrainment device that is worn on your wrist or ankle. It utilizes vibration to send signals through the vagus nerve into the brain. These signals are meant to improve heart rate variability so you can sleep better. While this tech is innovative and useful, some users complain that it looks like a court-ordered ankle bracelet.
2. Ebb CoolDrift Versa Headband
The Ebb CoolDrift Versa Headband is a unique wearable that relies on cooling pads to reduce metabolic activity in the brain’s frontal cortex. This quiets your racing mind and allows you to find sleep faster. The only drawback is that the headband must remain connected to a console by a cord while you sleep.
The UrgoNight is a headband that uses neurofeedback therapy to train your brain to sleep better. It’s meant to be worn for 20 minutes a day, three days a week. The goal is to train your brain during the day so you can improve your sleep at night. The device is a bit clunky, with some users struggling to wear it comfortably. Since you’re responsible for producing the correct brain waves, you need to be fully attentive while using the brain training app.
The NeoRhythm relies on the technology of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a type of brainwave entrainment. Your brain learns to synchronize different brainwave frequencies, including one for sleep. The studies that NeoRhythm presents to prove its efficacy are relatively minor, using only 25 users to test their signals…so the efficacy of this brainwave headset remains to be seen.
The Hapbee is a wearable band that utilizes a magnetic field technology called ulRFE to send signals to your brain. You can wear it on your head or around your neck. Two of Hapbee’s seven signals are specifically designed for sleeping. The Bedtime signal is a sleep trigger meant to help you fall asleep quickly. The Deep Sleep signal is a sleep regulator that is a game-changer for people who wake up often during the night.
Price: $379 (currently on sale for $299)
Brain wave tech for meditation
In a world full of distractions, it’s challenging to develop a practice of meditation. Sometimes you need a little extra help to clear your mind and reach zen. Try one of these brain wearables to enhance your meditation experience.
The BrainTap is a headset and app combination that uses binaural beats, light therapy, and sound therapy to deepen your mindfulness practice. The app includes six meditation programs that help you understand your body and mind. As the most expensive item on this list, the price tag seems a little high for what the BrainTap offers.
2. Muse 2
The Muse 2 is a brainwave headset that relies on neurofeedback to guide your brain into a meditative state. It guides you by playing weather sounds–stormy weather for a busy mind and sunny weather for a calm mind. The Muse 2 requires you to recalibrate the headband every time you want to use it, and it loses connection frequently during meditation sessions.
3. Emotiv Insight
The Emotiv Insight is a brainwave headset that uses sensors to detect changes in your brain. Rather than attempting to alter your brain waves, the Emotiv Insight tracks your brain’s activity. It’s unclear how you can improve your meditation with this information…but perhaps you can analyze the data and try to replicate your calm brain state.
4. HeartMath Inner Balance Trainer
The HeartMath Inner Balance Trainer is a monitor you clip onto your earlobe that measures your heart rate variability. This indicates your state of stress as well as how well your body adapts to different stressors. The Inner Balance Trainer is a rather simple device that is a good entry point into the world of meditation wearables, but the meditation programs it includes are less than stellar.
You might notice that Hapbee is included as both a sleep wearable and a meditation wearable. That’s because this device is extremely versatile, with new signals being added regularly. It allows you to manipulate your brain waves for a better mental state. The two signals designed for meditation are Calm, which focuses specifically on your mind, and Relax, which focuses on your body from the neck down.
Hapbee is a worthwhile investment because it’s not limited to just nighttime use or meditation use. It has a variety of other signals that can increase your productivity, keep you alert while driving, loosen you up for social settings, and more. There are new signals related to diet, memory, and performance coming soon.
Price: $379 (currently on sale for $299)