Isochronic Tones for Lucid Dreaming
Isochronic Tones are a close relative of binaural beats, and are another form of brain wave entrainment. Some people claim that isochronic tones are more powerful than binaural beats, while others say that each person should assess their own response to each and then decide which one to use. Isochronic tones have been gaining attention in the lucid dreaming community recently, and while it is hard to know whether the hype is outdistancing the science, there are enough people who swear by them that we felt compelled to include them here. We will go over the basics, where to get them, and of course how to use isochronic tones.
Isochronic Tones Basics
Isochronic tones do not require the user to wear headphones like binaural beats do by definition. It is fine that both ears are hearing the same thing at the same time. Isochronic beats can take a little time while the user explores different frequencies, though there are recommended starting points that can be quite helpful. Basically you start with high-end alpha waves, and then you progress to lower frequencies in order to slow your brain waves down. The goal with isochronic tones for lucid dreaming is to eventually match the low theta waves that produce a state of profound relaxation. You can still be awake and fully alert at this time.
What happens next is the key to the use of isochronic tones for lucid dreaming (as opposed to merely for relaxation. Basically you will want to use them to progress through three different states:
1. Relaxation through progressing to the low theta waves that are present during that time.
2. Entering the hypnagogic state that precedes dreaming once in that fully relaxed state.
3. Entering your dream using your best wake-induced lucid dreaming technique.
You may find the progressive frequencies involved with using isochronic tones work well for entering dreams using wake-induced techniques, while the stable binaural beats work best if you like to use dream-induced techniques. We suggest that you experiment with just one type of lucid dreaming music at a time, however, and give it a little while to work.
Isochronic Tones and lucid dreaming:
Of course all of the above information points to how isochronic tones might be helpful for inducing lucid dreams or at least making your sleep state most conducive to having vivid and frequent lucidity. We wanted to present a more specific listing of how isochronic tones might be helpful and the effects they might have. Here is that listing:
- Isochronic tones most importantly induce a state of deep relaxation that feels calm and also pleasantly dissociative. In this way they work on almost anyone, and can quickly set the stage for lucid dreaming and enhancement of lucid dreaming techniques.
- Some have reported that even while they are awake and aware, isochronic tones help them think very clearly and deeply. As you may have experienced, a state of relaxation combines by clear and deep thinking can lead right into fascinating and insightful dreams
- Isochronic tones can lead to a half dream-half awake state often called hypnagogic, where you are not quite dreaming yet but your thoughts take on a clarity and state of fantasy just like when you are dreaming. Of course this state can cross over into a full dreaming state quite easily.
- Even daydreams can be more vivid and interesting when listening to isochronic tones, and while there is really no such thing as lucidity in this state, it actually becomes a great time to rehearse and practice lucid dreaming techniques.
We want to emphasize once again that your lucid dreaming techniques will be most key to your success, and we want you to make sure that you follow them closely and stick with them. You may want to try switching between wake-induced and dream induced techniques before changing to a new type of lucid dreaming music.
How Isochronic Tones Work
Isochronic tones create a situation called brain wave entrainment, which put simply describes the brain’s response to sensory stimulation, a response that includes spikes in activity. Pulses of sound waves or light can cause this entrainment effect which basically has the brain emitting its own electrical charge in response to the sound or the light sensation. You hear or see the tone or the light because of the brain emitting these charges. What you do with a brain entrainment process such as the use of isochronic tones is that you play the stimulus at a speed fast enough to stimulate actual brainwaves, resulting in the brain synchronizing itself to the frequency being played externally, a process termed the Frequency Following Response (or FFR).
The isochronic tones and lucid dreaming connection
For our purposes with regard to lucid dreaming, the frequency following effect is used to alter the mental state. For example, certain brain wave frequencies are associated with either relaxed states or actual sleeping, so when a device that plays isochronic tones is used the brain can be trained to mimic that pattern. What isochronic tones must do is lead the brain from its current brain wave frequencies into a state that produces relaxation, so the changes in the frequency of tones or light are gradual. This effect is similar to the one achieved through binaural beats but since the effect is achieved from the external tones and not the effect of the tones inside the head, no headphones are necessary (you can wear headphones if you need to in order to not keep a partner awake or for privacy). It is the pattern of the tones as they alternate with the quiet that creates the entrainment effect. In summary, the tone pattern focuses the brain in a way that excites certain areas while calming others, for an overall effect of relaxation and calm, as well as a focus that can be very helpful in setting the stage for lucid dreaming.
You want to be sure that any isochronic tones you use are as pure as possible, both with regard to the tones themselves and the quality of the player you are using to play them The optimal frequency range for your isochronic tones is around 150-180 Hz. It should feel comfortable to listen to them – not too loud or too soft and in no way disruptive to getting natural and comfortable sleep.
How to Get Isochronic Tones
Isochronic tones are not complicated and therefore have become more and more available, even for free. You may even be able to download them onto your computer or handheld device to try them out. For a more powerful effect and a higher quality you may need to buy them professionally burned onto a CD or created into an app, but even this should not be terribly expensive. The best isochronic tones are sometimes mixed with certain white noise or other effects (water running, etc.), and it is okay if this background noise partially covers up the pulsating. We have a separate page dedicated to the choice of free tones. Overall our advice is that even the products you have to pay for are not cheap, so it may be worth paying a little. That said there are free products that may be good.
Just beware of the isochronic tones you might download from sites like YouTube because they may not be of the highest recording quality. You might be able to find an isochronic tones app for your smartphone or laptop. The best ones, however, are products you buy from retailers of lucid dreaming aids and brain entrainment devices. Again, they should not be too expensive.
Isochronic Tones summary
Isochronic tones can be used to generate a perfect internal environment for the induction of lucid dreams by making you feel completely relaxed and setting your brain up for a dream like state. They are not hard to get and reasonably inexpensive, and you may even be able to try them out for free. Isochronic tones have an advantage over the better known binaural beats in that they do not require you to wear headphones. Of course as we mention with most lucid dreaming music, you will still need to practice your lucid dreaming techniques faithfully, given that isochronic tones, as powerful as they are, do not directly induce lucid dreams. Instead they merely set the stage.
How to use Isochronic tones
We suggest that you start with just one type of lucid dreaming music to begin with, and then possibly try others to compare and contrast. It may be that one or the other works better for you, but give it a little time because they may not work the very first night or two. You might also want to switch products before you switch types of lucid dreaming music. And you may want to refine your techniques before you change the type of lucid dreaming music, or switch from using dream-induced techniques to wake-induced techniques. Isochronic tones provide a good place to start, but once again we want to remind you that it is your techniques and not the tones that will be most important.
Please feel free to check back and let us and our readers know how this type of lucid dreaming music worked for you, and best of luck if you choose Isochronic Tones!