Our bodies have their own in-house music composers that help us deal with insomnia and fatigue in the aftermath of a stressful experience. That brilliant 'musical' organ is - you guessed it - the brain!
Every brain composes a soundtrack; its tempo and tone differ depending on mood and frame of mind. It is this internal 'music' that helps us deal with excessive tiredness and wakefulness; say researchers at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Dept of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate (S and T) has begun a study into a form of neurotraining called "Brain Music" that uses music created in advance from listeners' own brain waves to help them deal with common ailments that stem from stressful environments.
The concept of Brain Music is to use the frequency, amplitude, and duration of musical sounds to move the brain from an anxious state to a more relaxed state.
"Strain comes with an emergency response job, so we are interested in finding ways to help these workers remain at the top of their game when working and get quality rest when they go off a shift," said S and T Program Manager Robert Burns.
"Our goal is to find new ways to help first responders perform at the highest level possible, without increasing tasks, training, or stress levels," the expert added.
If the brain "composes" the music, the first job of scientists is to take down the notes, and that is exactly what Human Bionics LLC of Purcellville, VA does. Each recording is converted into two unique musical compositions designed to trigger the body's natural responses, for example, by improving productivity while at work, or helping adjust to constantly changing work hours.
The compositions are clinically shown to promote one of two mental states in each individual: relaxation - for reduced stress and improved sleep; and alertness - for improved concentration and decision-making. Each 2-6 minute track is a composition performed on a single instrument, usually a piano.
The relaxation track may sound like a "melodic, subdued Chopin sonata," while the alertness track may have "more of a Mozart sound," says Burns. (It seems there's a classical genius-or maybe two genii-in all of us.
After their brain waves are set to music, each person is given a specific listening schedule, personalized to their work environment and needs. If used properly, the music can boost productivity and energy levels, or trigger a body's natural responses to stress.
The music created by Human Bionics LLC is being tested as part of the S and T Readiness Optimization Program (ROP), a wellness program that combines nutrition education and neurotraining to evaluate a cross population of first responders, including federal agents, police, and firefighters.