DeepWave man with insomnia

Insomnia And Our Brain Waves?

How are sleep issues, like insomina impacted by our brian waves? Throughout our day and night, whether awake or asleep, our brain cells continually communicate with each other through electrical pulses; these ‘communications’ create brain waves. The number of ‘communications’ or waves measured per second are known as brain wave frequencies.

Commonly, being more awake or alert results in a more heightened frequency of brain waves. Whereas being lethargic or more deeply asleep usually corresponds with brain waves at a lower frequency.

When we are in a deep and dreamless sleep, our brains are in the lowest brainwave frequency called delta. When we are asleep but dreaming, we are in a theta brain wave state. Alpha waves are brain waves that can occur between us being alert and asleep.

Brainwave Mind Diagram

What Are Alpha Brain Waves?

Alpha brain waves are the primary brain wave frequency that occurs when a person becomes sleepy and transitions from wakefulness to sleep. Alpha waves continue during the early stage of sleep until they are superseded by theta waves, which are slower.

Alpha waves are present also when a person is awake and relaxed, like when meditating or when flow states (high performance or creativity states) are reached.

How Do Alpha Waves Affect Sleep?

Alpha brain wave activity is a normal part of drifting off to sleep. But alpha waves can also play a role in specific sleep disorders, including insomnia.


Some research indicates that there are different patterns of alpha brain wave activity in people who suffer from insomnia compared to people who do not. One particular study found that people with insomnia experienced increased alpha wave activity and more significant variations in alpha frequency before falling asleep. Researchers have speculated that this may be related to life factors such as stress or to an active imagination.

Another study found that people with insomnia, when aroused during sleep, experience alpha wave levels normally associated with wake states. By contrast, people who don’t struggle with insomnia will have lower levels of alpha brain waves upon waking during the night.

Alpha-Delta Sleep

Certain health conditions can be linked to the abnormal alpha-delta sleep brain wave patterns. In alpha-delta sleep, the brain produces alpha waves rather than delta waves during deep sleep. The impact of these alpha waves can make sleep unrefreshing, leaving people feeling sleepy during the day.

Alpha-delta sleep can be found in people with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, along with people affected with arthritis, depression, sleep disorders, and lupus.


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