This past Monday I was introduced to a new app that I have since experimented with this week and have already concluded will change the way I work. Brain.fm can transform work, relaxation and sleep for you too. It takes 30 minutes to try, is free of charge, and for you too, it may also change the way you sleep or meditate.
The app is called Brain.FM and my first exposure to it was by attenting a Chicago Biohacking Meetup and hearing about it straight from the founders, Junaid Kalmadi and Adam Hewett. Their overall goal is to cure ADD, anxiety, and insomnia through their digital health app that emits audio brainwave training. The sessions are analyzed and EEG tested, with much of it coming from Northwestern University neuroscientist Dr. Giovanni Santostasi. His published results are here.
Their data has been further grounded by over 12 years of research, working with 35,000 customers, and over 180 studies conducted to continue the growth of audio brainwave technology across this time.
The information and their backing are both important to know before trying Brain.FM for the first time without any skepticism. I had the advantage of hearing both founders illustrate their passion and belief for Brain.FM in person. So needless to say, I was excited to try it for the first time during the rest of my work week. Here are my first impressions and a walk through of how to use Brain.FM.
The first great thing about Brain.FM is that it allows you to try it for free. So while you’re reading this, I suggest you follow along and hit the Focus option of the 3 that you’re initially presented above.
As you can see, the app can cover a lot. My primary interest is to improve my work efficiency so I used 3 of my 5 free sessions on Focus — two on ‘Intense Focus’ and one on their other subset of ‘Relaxed Focus’ to see the difference.
The comforting pop-up illustrated above again underscores the research and testing behind the brainwave session. It turns out, “Benefits should be realized almost immediately while listening to this session,” was 100% accurate as well.
You see, I’ve been searching for a new form of an audio compliment lately. I used to be able to work with hip hop or R&B in my headphones, and most recently podcasts, but I’ve found this summer that I am more easily distracted to the words and this slightest attention switch throws me off my focus. With Brain.FM, I was greeted with a 30 minute continuous instrumental that featured a calm, almost march-like melody to go along with a variety of orchestral or percussion layers. The sound wasn’t too complex and actually reminded me of the old computer game Age of Empires. If you played that game too, you can instantly think of the brooding instrumentals that accompanied your rising empire. I felt the motivational nostalgia, that’s for sure.
After the 30 minute session, I was prompted by another cool feature of Brain.FM — a survey intended to build your own personal, unique brian profile. Answer questions honestly about not only your focus, but anxiety, mood, stress, and sleep and Brain.FM will calibrate a sound that works best for your needs.
I underwent one more ‘Intense Focus’ 30 minute session afterwards and proved that the productivity of the first one was not a fluke. In fact, I started writing this post in that session!
To further test the app, I tried a ‘Relaxed Focus’ session while doing less pressing work. The instrumental was, naturally, more calmer and slower than the ‘Intense Focus’ track. I felt immediately transferred to the same zone as before, but this time I was only able to sustain focus for the first 20 of the 30 minutes. Then I was back to browsing my Twitter feed… so I’ll probably be sticking to what worked for 100% of the time: ‘Intense Focus’.
Next, I tried the ‘Sleep’ track last night. I usually have no trouble sleeping but when I was tossing and turning for 10 minutes, I decided to put my headphones in. Once again, there is an instaneous transplant inside your mind. You’re encouraged by Brain.FM to let your mind wander a bit and I did as I first noticed the sounds itself: a soothing thunderstorm in the distance combined with slow, wavy layers of strings.
I had to round out the capabilities of Brain.FM and test the ‘Relax’ feature as well. I didn’t use it to meditate but I did take a stretching break with the soundtrack in my headphones and again immediately felt a change within. This time, I noticed a sense of relief, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Within 1 minute, I felt more air flowing into and inside my body with each breathe. These tracks are 15 minutes long and I intend to combine them effectively with the ‘Focus’ sessions.
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By now, you can see that my first impressions of Brain.FM are more than favorable. I want to sign up beyond the free sessions now and test the app more with my productivity. Right now, I can apply the same DIY Tracker that I used for my Coffee Intake QS Experiment and click the option for “A very high boost.”
Taking it a step further, it would be interesting not only to see black and white results in one’s productivity but also to track your vitals and see how it flows during a session. I told Paul about Brain.FM this week too and he’s already experimenting with the app for more data along these lines. Look out for his impressions and takeaways in the coming weeks.
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