World’s Most Relaxing Music and a Trick to Waking Up Happy

By Anupum Pant

Warning: I like to boast in public because it helps me stick to my resolutions better. Following is a paragraph that brags a bit, so please understand…

Phew! It’s been 179 days since I started this website and there isn’t a single day I’ve missed writing something here. Some days the articles were good, other days they were awful. Good or not, at least I slept a little smarter everyday. As a result, I have documented 179 good pieces. You can check them in the archives right now. Be my guest and since it is sunday, take some time to read through some of them, find mistakes, comment etc.This, thankfully, is the 180th article that is being written on the 180th day. That’s pretty huge for me. I’ve never done something this big ever in my life before. Trust me, it is a very tough commitment. If you wish to, acknowledge it in the comments. It will mean a lot to me.

However, today due to some other important work, my article writing ritual got delayed (happens a lot), and now it’s more than an hour past midnight. Thanks to my public boasting, I will still have to keep up. No sleeping before I write something. Or, I will simply have to get shamed in public (if someone even keeps a track of my progress). Probably my sleep will have to suffer today. So I thought, to sleep efficiently, let me learn a bit about sleep!

59 Seconds again!

And as always, the YouTube channel 59 seconds came to my rescue. I love the channel so much, I’ve mentioned it in at least 5 different posts before.

Anyway, the host, Richard Wiseman has a new book in the market – Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep. It talks about the science of sleep. Whenever he has a new book, there are a few interesting videos that come up on his channel that share a very cool tidbit from the book. The book is definitely on my read list, but will have to do with a related video for now.

World’s Most Relaxing Music

One of the videos this time is one hour-long and plays a scientifically constructed music that according to the professor is the world’s most relaxing piece of music. If you keep playing it in the background while sleeping, it will help you sleep better. I’ve tried this one when I took a nap in the afternoon one day. I can vouch for it. I actually had a very relaxing nap that time.

The tune is especially relaxing because, with a 90 BPM tempo and notes moving from low to high, it is scientifically designed to help you fall asleep. Here is the piece. Play it and have a good sleep.

While this would help me fall asleep, tonight I won’t have a problem with falling asleep. As I’m tired, I’d fall asleep easily. What I’m worried about is that I might get less sleep (it really doesn’t matter, I can just wake up late tomorrow). So, here is something from the same channel that, even with a shorter sleep span, would probably help me wake up happier tomorrow.

The 90-Minute rule

During our sleep, we have these cycles where our brain takes us from light sleep to deep sleep and then to a dream state. These three states make one cycle and it takes about 90 minutes to complete a cycle. If you happen to wake in the middle of a cycle, you’d wake up cranky. The trick to waking up happier is to wake up when one of this cycles is complete. There are of course apps on the Play store that help you achieve that, but I don’t have an android phone. So here is what I can do.

I can plan an alarm in a way that I complete several 90 minute cycles and wake up at the end of the last cycle. For that, if I plan to fall asleep at 2:30 AM, to complete a fair 6 hour sleep, I’d have to put an alarm for 8:30 AM. At 8:30, I’d have completed 4 cycles.

Except that these cycles don’t last for exactly 90 minutes. Some times they are more than that, other times they last for a lesser time. Still, by measuring my sleep period in 90 minute chunks, I can increase the probability of me waking up happier. Here is the video where Richard explains this…

Hit like if you learnt something today.

Valporate – Performance Enhancing Drug for Perfect Pitch

By Anupum Pant

Today we find out if it would be a good idea to impress your friends during the next gathering by hacking your brain with pills to learn a rare ability fairly quickly. But first, pay attention to the following jargon.

Perfect pitch

Perfect pitch is an exceptional ability among few gifted humans that enables them to recognize and re-create the pitch of a musical note instantly without the help of any external reference. There have been no cases of adults learning this ability by practice. However, pseudo absolute pitch can be learnt with great practice and only retained through regular use.

Brain plasticity

Learning to recognize musical notes, or any other ability for that matter can be reasonably easy at an early age due to a brain’s plastic state. The brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience is far better at younger ages. As people age, they lose the ability to learn like kids.

For instance, picture the rate at which infants learn language. By the time they turn 2 – 4 years old, they start using thousands of words. Try learning a new language at the age of 35. It is tough.

However, a new research suggests that this state of brain can be recovered by using drugs. One such drug, according to Dr. Takao Hensch is Valporate.

Is Valporate a Performance Enhancing Drug?

No! it is not a performance enhancing drug. Valporate or Valporic acid is a drug sold under the common names – Depakote, Depacon and Stavzor. For several years it has been used to treat various disorders from migraines to bipolar disorder. It is a chemical substance that can cross the blood–brain barrier. As a result, it has the power to affect an individual’s perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior.

Dr. Takao Hensch, a Harvard University professor, recently published a study which tested the effects of Valporate on 23 healthy male subjects for two weeks. None of them had a musical experience. During this period they were trained in music. At the end of this study, researchers found that these 23 men did remarkably better than an average adult would do, at perfect pitch tests.

In the future

He thinks, may be 10 years down the line, this drug could be used to enhance other learning abilities like language learning among adults, by changing the state of their brains.

Presently, studies on how the brain changes at cellular level when this drug is taken are underway. Also, Dr. Hensch thinks that humans have evolved to experience these learning stages for a reason. If it is okay to mess around with it, is still being studied. At this stage, trying this out at home can be extremely risky. It would be wise for us to wait for scientists to come out with a comprehensive study on the effects of this drug.


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