Based on scientific research, it has been stated that there are minimum 3 different variations of alpha waves that might have different impact in the sleep-wake cycle. Alpha waves occur during various stages of sleep-wake cycle. A very popular research is at time of relaxed mental state during which the subject remains at rest closing his/her eyes but does not fall asleep or not tired. This alpha activity is mainly concentrated in occipital lobe and is assumed to develop there, though many recent researches suggest that it arises from thalamic region. This wave starts to occur during an age of 4 months, and starts with a frequency of four waves per second. A mature alpha wave which appears at ten waves per second usually occurs at age of three.
The 2nd emission of alpha waves happens during REM sleep which is contrary to alpha activity under awake condition and it is generally situated in central part of the brain. At present, the importance of alpha activity at time of REM sleep has not yet been researched completely. There are debates that alpha patterns generally occur during REM sleep and it states a semi-arousal period. It is stated that such alpha activity can be associated with REM sleep pressure. The 3rd occurrence of activity of alpha waves is slow wave or alpha delta state. Its activity is surrounded across brain in anterior-posterior gradient. It has been considered that alpha waves suggest a wakeful period at the time of sleep. It has been indicated by studies in which subjects state non-refreshing sleep and the EEG records indicate intrusion of greater levels of alpha waves at time of sleep. Such an occurrence is termed as intrusion of alpha waves and it is possible that these explanations can mislead since the only concentration on alpha waves which occur from occipital lobe.
Infringement of Alpha waves and their impact:
The intrusion of alpha waves takes place while alpha waves happen under non-REM sleep while expecting alpha waves. It is generally considered to be related to fibromyalgia though the research might seem insufficient because of small size of samples. Apart from this, intrusion of alpha can have great impact associated with sleep disorders and other problems like major depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. But it is generally considered through chronic fatigued patients and could strengthen the impact of various sleep disorders.
Applications of Biofeedback Training:
Based on the co-relation between relaxed mental state and alpha waves, lot of people continued to use this state using a method known as biofeedback training. This technique makes use of EEG for indicating to a trainer or subject, when the person remains in state emitting alpha waves when the subject is given instructions to remain in such a state.
There are various advantages for providing this training which is explored currently and it is used in meditation which is very popular recently. The masters who undergo such biofeedback training are able to produce greater alpha waves while under meditation. Hence, many biofeedback training programs have been introduced particularly for the purpose of stress relief. The psychologists make use of this technique for assisting people in solving various phobias; assist children who have speech problems like stuttering by helping them relax their mind to get normal speech, calm down children who are hyperactive etc.
Elmer Green, a popular psychologist is trying to train patients in minimizing their alpha waves, since he consider that when the brain is under high-theta, low alpha state then we access the unconscious issues in it easily. Top companies such as Xerox and Martin Marietta are hoping to develop creative thinking and knowledge among their employees with help of biofeedback training. Apart from these, there are many benefits on using biofeedback training. The researchers in Defence department are exploring the ways to use biofeedback training to generate alpha waves in captured soldiers and to thwart lie detectors used by enemies on these soldiers. There are theories which project the use of biofeedback mechanism to monitor the attention of children by teaching machines where existence of alpha waves indicates lack of attention among children.
Based on this theorem, there is a recent research which states that alpha waves could be utilized for finding out mistakes. The MEGs which are measured can rise up to twenty five percent in brain activity of alpha waves before the problems occurred. It makes use of common sense and alpha waves will present idleness and generally mistakes occur when a person tries to do something auto-pilot or automatically without concentrating or focusing on the task which they carry out. Once the mistake is identified by the subject, the alpha waves got decreased since the subject started to concentrate more. Based on this research, technology of wireless EEG can be used on employees working under high risk fields like air traffic controlling for monitoring the emission of alpha waves to find out the employees concentration levels.