A Novel Insight of Effects of a 3-Hz Binaural Beat on Sleep Stages During Sleep

Front Hum Neurosci. 2018 Sep 24;12:387. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00387. eCollection 2018.


The dichotic presentation of two almost equivalent pure tones with slightly different frequencies leads to virtual beat perception by the brain. In this phenomenon, the so-called binaural beat has a frequency equaling the difference of the frequencies of the two pure tones. The binaural beat can entrain neural activities to synchronize with the beat frequency and induce behavioral states related to the neural activities. This study aimed to investigate the effect of a 3-Hz binaural beat on sleep stages, which is considered a behavioral state. Twenty-four participants were allocated to experimental and control groups. The experimental period was three consecutive nights consisting of an adaptation night, a baseline night, and an experimental night. Participants in both groups underwent the same procedures, but only the experimental group was exposed to the 3-Hz binaural beat on the experimental night. The stimulus was initiated when the first epoch of the N2 sleep stage was detected and stopped when the first epoch of the N3 sleep stage detected. For the control group, a silent sham stimulus was used. However, the participants were blinded to their stimulus group. The results showed that the N3 duration of the experimental group was longer than that of the control group, and the N2 duration of the experimental group was shorter than that of the control group. Moreover, the N3 latency of the experimental group was shorter.

Keywords: binaural beat; delta activity; sleep modulation; sleep stage; slow wave sleep.