By Miria Robinson
Restful sleep is bliss. We need the natural rejuvenation that sleep brings to align our minds and bodies with the Earth, following an ancient pattern of rest and renewal, hibernation and re-growth. And yet sleep itself has increasingly become a lost art.
One of the most frequent common denominators in poor quality sleep and the onset of insomnia appears to be an overactive brain. The mind can enter into a tyrannical cycle of thought and worry, giving rise to a higher frequency of brain activity. Thus, one of the keys to overcoming insomnia is learning to slow your brain waves down.
So, how can those suffering from insomnia coax their mind into slowing down to a calm state, conducive to restful sleep? A principle way to do this is through meditation, and this can take many forms.
John B. Levine, composer and founder of The Alphamusic of John Levine, has dedicated his life to creating “music which meditates for you.”
Levine first created his unique Alphamusic in the 1980’s. He was working in the music industry, burning the candle at both ends, and had been searching for a way to gain the most amount of sleep in the shortest amount of time. So it was that he discovered meditation. Concurrently his father became seriously ill from stress-related illness. Sadly, he would accept no suggestion to meditate or engage in any other relaxing or healing practices, and when he finally passed away, John was left with a longing to help people experience the healing power of music.
Thus Levine combined these two principles, the power of music to heal and the desire to gain rest and rejuvenation through meditation, and set himself the task of creating music which would do both. The first result was Silence of Peace, recorded in 1984.
Due to life, this CD lay gathering dust in a box for over fifteen years. He rediscovered it in 2001, and was so struck by the music, listening to it again after all those years, he was eager to know if it could help anyone. He produced copies which he distributed to people he knew, for testing, and started to receive amazing feedback. So, he decided it was time to publish the music and record more titles.
Crucially, he also met Danuta Andrzejak, a clinical electroencephalographist based in Krakow, Poland. Danuta was so intrigued by this Alphamusic that she decided to use it in clinical trials with an EEG machine. The EEG measures brainwave activity by recording the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity, usually over a short period of time, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp. During these trials Danuta discovered that Levine’s music does in fact alter brain waves from beta waves to alpha waves, and perhaps lower, to delta.
Silence of Peace has since been cited by Patrick Holford as one of the most effective CDs on the market for improved sleep. In addition, Orange Grove Siesta and Amber were specifically composed to help those suffering from insomnia. Orange Grove Siesta is particularly for women, and is a more complex piece, to counter the effect of our usually incredibly busy minds. Amber complements it, being the CD composed especially for men, and can also be helpful for women who have a tendency to think in a more ‘male’ way.
Part of the trick to restful sleep is to have a variety of tools up your sleeve, from approaches to eating and exercise, to making sure you have to hand a collection of music to relax to. Find what works for you and have a blissful night’s sleep.