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. 2019 Dec 2;13:425.
doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00425. eCollection 2019.

Possible Effect of Binaural Beat Combined With Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response for Inducing Sleep

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Free PMC article

Possible Effect of Binaural Beat Combined With Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response for Inducing Sleep

Minji Lee et al. Front Hum Neurosci. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Sleep is important to maintain physical and cognitive functions in everyday life. However, the prevalence of sleep disorders is on the rise. One existing solution to this problem is to induce sleep using an auditory stimulus. When we listen to acoustic beats of two tones in each ear simultaneously, a binaural beat is generated which induces brain signals at a specific desired frequency. However, this auditory stimulus is uncomfortable for users to listen to induce sleep. To overcome this difficulty, we can exploit the feelings of calmness and relaxation that are induced by the perceptual phenomenon of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). In this study, we proposed a novel auditory stimulus for inducing sleep. Specifically, we used a 6 Hz binaural beat corresponding to the center of the theta band (4-8 Hz), which is the frequency at which brain activity is entrained during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) in sleep stage 1. In addition, the "ASMR triggers" that cause ASMR were presented from natural sound as the sensory stimuli. In session 1, we combined two auditory stimuli (the 6 Hz binaural beat and ASMR triggers) at three-decibel ratios to find the optimal combination ratio. As a result, we determined that the combination of a 30:60 dB ratio of binaural beat to ASMR trigger is most effective for inducing theta power and psychological stability. In session 2, the effects of these combined stimuli (CS) were compared with an only binaural beat, only the ASMR trigger, or a sham condition. The combination stimulus retained the advantages of the binaural beat and resolved its shortcomings with the ASMR triggers, including psychological self-reports. Our findings indicate that the proposed auditory stimulus could induce the brain signals required for sleep, while simultaneously keeping the user in a psychologically comfortable state. This technology provides an important opportunity to develop a novel method for increasing the quality of sleep.

Keywords: autonomous sensory meridian response; binaural beat; electroencephalography; sleep; theta wave.

Figures

FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1
Experimental paradigm. The experiment consisted of two sessions. Session 1 was to determine the optimal decibel ratio for combining a binaural beat and an ASMR trigger. In session 2, the CS selected from session 1 was compared to the SHAM, BB only, and AT only condition. Each auditory stimulus is presented as a random order. Session 1: CS1 = 45:60 BB:AT ratio; CS2 = 30:60 BB:AT ratio; CS3 = 20:60 BB:AT ratio. Session 2: SHAM = sham condition, BB = binaural beats, AT = autonomous sensory meridian response triggers, CS = combined stimuli of BB and AT, S = stimulus, ISI = inter-stimulus interval, Sub-S = Sub session, R = resting state.
FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2
Changes in theta power compared to baseline in three combined stimuli conditions in session 1. Error bars show standard error. CS1 = 45:60 BB:AT ratio; CS2 = 30:60 BB:AT ratio, CS3 = 20:60 BB:AT ratio. BB = binaural beat, AT = autonomous sensory meridian response trigger, CS = combined stimuli with BB and AT. <0.05 with no correction and ∗∗<0.05 with Bonferroni correction.
FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3
Changes in BRUMS-32 scores compared to baseline in three combined stimuli conditions in session 1. Error bars show standard errors. CS1 = 45:60 BB:AT ratio; CS2 = 30:60 BB:AT ratio; CS3 = 20:60 BB:AT ratio. BB = binaural beats, AT = autonomous sensory meridian response triggers, CS = combined stimuli of BB and AT. ∗∗<0.05 with Bonferroni correction.
FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4
Changes in absolute theta power compared to baseline with four auditory stimuli in session 2. Error bars show standard errors. SHAM = sham condition, BB = binaural beats, AT = autonomous sensory meridian response triggers, CS = combined stimuli of 30:60 ratio between BB and AT. <0.05 with no correction, ∗∗<0.05 with Bonferroni correction.
FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5
Statistical results between before and after the stimulation period for SHAM, BB, AT, and CS in session 2. The statistical differences of theta power before and after four auditory stimuli were calculated. A white asterisk indicates an electrode that is significantly different before compared to after stimulation (p < 0.05 with Bonferroni correction). In the color bar, the yellow line marks the t-value of the significant level. SHAM = sham condition, BB = binaural beats, AT = autonomous sensory meridian response triggers, CS = combined stimuli of BB and AT at the ratio of 30:60 dB.
FIGURE 6
FIGURE 6
Changes in BRUMS-32 scores with four stimuli compared to baseline in session 2. Error bars show standard errors. SHAM = sham condition, BB = binaural beats, AT = autonomous sensory meridian response triggers, CS = combined stimuli of BB and AT at the ratio of 30:60 dB. <0.05 with no correction, ∗∗<0.05 with Bonferroni correction.

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