A mum of two has described how brain wave music has helped to cure her daughter’s multiple nighttime wakings.
Like many parents, Laura Mulligan was used to sleepless nights. Her daughter Niamh, three, hadn’t been a good sleeper. Suffering from a number of allergies, an intolerance to dairy, asthma, and hay fever, she has always had something that kept her awake.
Laura and her partner James, from Wigan, Manchester, had successfully used white noise to settle Niamh as a baby, but this stopped working her as she grew older and her allergies became more pronounced.
“We were on our knees waking up to 20 times every single night,” Laura explains. “When our second daughter Annie (now one) was born, we had to move each night between the two children, without any possibility of having sleep ourselves.
With James working away two or three nights a week, Laura was finding it increasingly difficult to juggle full-time motherhood and a part-time psychology degree with the nighttime needs of her children.
“There have been moments when all three of us have just sat on the bed sobbing our hearts out, asking myself how can I cope anymore?” she admits.
“I felt like a bad mum because I couldn’t get my children to sleep. A lot of people mentioned the cry out method and maybe I should have tried that before. But that wasn’t my way and I didn’t feel like it was a way I wanted to go.”
Finding a solution
The answer for Laura’s family came during a playdate with her friend Nicola. Exhausted and at the end of her tether, Laura broke down in tears as she explained the toll that sleep deprivation was having on her whole family.
As well as offering practical help, Nicola recommended that Laura try playing Alphamusic, a form of music designed to alter brain waves. Created by composer John Levine, the music is reported to improve emotional and physical wellbeing and induce a feeling of deep relaxation.
Willing to try anything, Laura purchased the My Little Sea Shell track and quickly discovered that the result outstood her expectations.
Describing the effect the music has had on Niamh, Laura says: “We now put this music on all night on a loop and if she briefly wakes, she goes back to sleep immediately without fuss.
“She has a broken sleep cycle and instead of going back to sleep she was getting up, screaming, banging the door.
“Levine’s music is now helping her to go back to sleep without us having to calm her down.”
With the whole household sleeping soundly, Laura and James say they now face the day with new energy and no longer have to worry about being too exhausted to deal with the demands of work or childrearing.
Laura also claims that playing Alphamusic during the daytime has helped her daughters to play together more peacefully. She reports that they are more likely to enjoy craft sessions together, with noticeably less jealousy and fighting.
How does Alphamusic work?
Creator John Levine came up with the idea of making therapeutic recordings after his father became extremely ill with stress-related conditions in 1984, suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease – he even suffered a stroke.
“Stress was slowly killing him,” said John, “and no matter how often doctors told him he needed to learn to relax more, he just wouldn’t listen. So I decided to learn meditation and then to compose something different than what was on the market.
“I wanted to literally slow the brainwaves down to induce relaxation. I put together my own set of principles. Some came from my formal classical education in composition, but some of those rules I broke. That is how my Alphamusic was born.”
John explains that the aim of Alphamusic is to slow down the stressed beta brain waves into calm alpha waves. The beta waves are responsible for stress, causing insomnia and many arising health conditions.
He says: “The key to a healthy lifestyle without stress or insomnia is to eliminate these beta waves. By playing Alphamusic it has been scientifically measured with EEG equipment that your brain will be in alpha state in minutes and therefore such conditions like insomnia or stress are being eased or eliminated.”
More than just a sleep aid
As well as aiding sleep, fans of Alphamusic claim that the CDs have a number of other benefits for both adults and children.
For instance, when children are becoming disruptive during play, Alphamusic has been used as a ways of generating a much calmer and quieter environment.
Staff at Harvey Road Day Nursery in Cambridge describe how using Alphamusic helped to make the children considerably less rambunctious as they transitioned from play to rest times. When they attempted to produce the same result using different types of music, the effect was not the same. The children were noisy and unable to focus; other music simply didn’t work for them.
Alphamusic is also reported to help with dyslexia, hyperactivity, ADHD, autism, depression and other conditions like traumas or stress.
Tracey, a 38-year-old mum of two, turned to Alphamusic after struggling to manage her son’s hyperactivity. Cameron’s condition means he has problems with concentration and is easily distracted. He needs constant supervision, suffers from anxiety, difficulties at school, and can be disruptive at home.
When Tracey met John Levine, she was initially sceptical about how effective the music would be, but in the end decided that she had nothing to lose.
“John was so convinced that I took one CD titled ‘Silence of Peace’ to see if it really works,” Tracey explains.
The perfect opportunity to test the CD came when Tracey had to work from home. She needed to focus, but unfortunately Cameron was running around the house, screaming and crying because of an argument with his older sister. Unable to calm him down any other way, Tracey put on the Alphamusic.
After just ten minutes, she noticed an amazing silence had fallen over the house. At first she began to worry that something had happened to her son, so she hurried into the living room to check on him.
To her surprise, she found that not only had Cameron calmed down, but that he had curled up on the sofa and fallen asleep.
“I was shocked and amazed at the same time,” said Tracey. “I couldn’t believe my own eyes.”
Tracey continued to play the music seven days a week as background noise. She reports that her children are calmer and easier to deal with, and that her son now has better concentration and fewer difficulties at school.
She adds: “The things that John told me about his studies on brain activity and the influence of his music are now a fascinating subject to me.
“It really works. I still can’t believe it.”
You can find more information at Silence of Music.