All posts by Surfing Jackdaw

Do miserable Androids dream of segmented sleep?

Proponents of hainvg two sleeps a night with a period of wakefulness between, say it’s a great way of getting things done – everything from writing a bestseller, to learning a language, making babies or getting closer to your God.

One of the problems of this segmented sleep approach, though, is that you have to go to bed earlier and will probably end up rising later. There may not be enough hours in the day (or night). If you end up cutting your total sleep-time you’ll not only build up sleep-debt, but you’ll also end up interrupting what sleep you do get, and that leads to all sorts of problems, chief among which according to new research is the dampening of feelings of positive emotions.

YouTube post: Ska’d Midlands (Für H)

Hot from the iTunes visualizer window: The latest YouTube music video is posted here. It’s also available on SoundCloud in higher quality audio.

What’s it about? It was a commission for a birthday present. On SoundCloud it’s described as: Take a dash of Ska rhythmic structure, season with variations of Beethoven’s Für Elise, add some Two Tone West Midlands homage, top with selected character traits and you have a piece written for and about someone for their birthday.

On YouTube it’s described thusly: A bit of Beethoven, a sprinkling of Ska structure, seasoned with the essence of a real person – Happy Birthday H. Cooked with Logic Pro X instruments, Alchemy, Native Instruments and Roland Integra-7.

Enjoy…

Meditation, music & grey matter

Everyone likes to think they have plenty of grey matter, as it correlates with heightened abilities in many skills, and it seems that being a practising musician or meditator will build that stuff in your brain. Science.Mic cites Massachusetts General Hospital research which suggests that while nothing is a universal panacea “Meditation is like a super-vitamin for your brain. It targets and boosts the parts that are already strong, and improves their functionality to make them even stronger.” As an added bonus “when people began meditating, their amygdala got smaller. That is the area of the brain most closely associated with fear and aggression”

Binaural on the go

Intel is in the process of making smartphone chips that are binaural audio friendly. The Inquirer  reported: “We tested the technology in the form of some earphones that look like they had been worn by a million other people. Nevertheless, it revealed how a video comprising different actions, such as a hand clap, can manipulate your brain to think the sound is coming from the room you are in through this realistic Binaural audio technology.”

Could be useful for making binaural beat technology even more effective at altering brainwave frequencies. At the very least, it should make for more immersive soundscapes on the go, whether that’s for pure pleasure or as background for meditation.

Relax, cut stress and ease IBS

The Nursing Times cites a study from the US, claiming that intensive care nurses who are taught on-the-spot relaxation techniques can cut their stress levels by up to 40%.

The study investigated techniques such as: mindfulness, gentle stretching, yoga, meditation and music. The Relaxation Response breathing pattern is another tested way of achieving near-instant relaxation. It too has been in the news recently – a Massachusetts General Hospital research report  said that eliciting the Relaxation Response has “a significant impact on clinical symptoms of the gastrointestinal disorders irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease and on the expression of genes related to inflammation and the body’s response to stress.”

Closing your eyes and creative relaxation

I often use binaural beat technology in my audio recordings to help people experience relaxation more deeply and easily.

Binaural sound, creating 3D landscapes in a listener’s inner ear, is something that crops up in the news every now and then. The BBC did some broadcast experiments back in 2013, and now it’s getting some more attention in the fields of advertising and entertainment.

Binaural sound is this year incorporated into virtual reality headsets used by South Africa Tourism UK to foster an immersive experience  of heightened suggestivity, that is not a million miles away from standard hypnosis work that involves creating inner alternative realities for therapeutic purposes. Instead of selling a patient a new and healthier vision of themselves, the VR headset sells five-minute taster sessions of holiday packages, including diving with sharks and abseiling down Table Mountain as well as a less-adrenalin intense experiencing of street food, music and wine.

The ability of sound to induce vivid inner realities is also relevant to the theatre. The Stage  reports on the use of audio technology by director David Rosenberg, and sound designers Ben & Max Ringham. In an interview, the trio discuss how they’ve used sound to create immersive realities for audiences over the years and how much more effective the technique is when used in darkness.

This makes sense from a hypnosis and relaxation perspective – eyes-closed relaxation enables more attention to be paid to aural inputs such as music, sound effects and the spoken word, while also enabling the creation of inner landscapes with their own visual, auditory and kinaesthetic dimensions.