Optimizing your workspace is another crucial – and often overlooked – aspect of increasing productivity.
Whether you work in an office, at home or on-the-go, here are 4 of our favorite apps to reduce distractions, improve focus and increase your productivity.
The perfect app for the minimalist writer looking for a distraction-free way to transfer thoughts from your head into your computer.
Available on both Mac & PC, the iA writer app is a blast from the past – it’s a word processor that eliminates distractions and actually “highlights” the sentence or paragraph on which you’re working for increased focus.
Scientists at Stanford University have confirmed this, reporting that music – in what’s known as “The Mozart Effect” – can:
improve test scores
reduce learning time
improve clarity and focus
and integrates both sides of the brain
If you’re ready to take advantage of the connection between music and productivity (or simply block out the distractions of your environment) here are two ways you can use music to unlock your potential:
Brainfm: “Better than binaural beats” this scientifically-based, custom brainwave music is designed to increase focus, relaxation or sleep better than binaural beats. Click HERE for a 25% discount, or CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast we recorded with the co-founders of brainfm. While the mobile app is in production, the desktop online player is a game-changer. We highly recommend brainfm.
Muji to relax: This android-based app for white noise is designed to help you relax, recharge, and a rejuvenate your mind. If you prefer white noise to brainwaves or require an app for for on-the-go use, this is a great option.
Work. Walk away. Work. Walk away.
Repeat two more times, then take a longer break and let it all go.
That’s the 1,000-mile-view of pomodoros.
Pomodoros are a technique developed by Italian Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. The word itself translates to “tomato”, but the technique utilizes short periods of focused work separated by short breaks.
Usually the work periods are 25 or 50 minutes and the breaks are 5 or 10 minutes respectively best apps. After 4 intervals, you take a longer break (15-30 minutes).
Pomodoros are a favorite method of time-management gurus and productivity hackers alike as there is evidence that frequent breaks improve mental agility.
In addition, these short burst of work keep you fresh, prevent burnout, reduce eye fatigue and can prevent poor posture from prolonged periods of sitting.
Plus, knowing you only 25 or 50 minutes has a sneaky way of pushing you to focus and work to beat the clock.
Still listening to Pandora or Spotify while working?
If you answered yes, it’s time for an upgrade.
Backed by neuroscience and 13 years of music creation, Brainfm’s co-founders have created music that noticeably – and measurably – improves focus, reduces stress, or promotes sleep within 10 minutes.
“The creator of binaural beats said they don’t work – but nobody actually reads the study!” – Adam Hewett, Co-Founder Brainfm
Brainfm is specially designed music that improves focus, relaxation and sleep within 10 minutes.
Co-founders Junaid Kalmadi and Adam Hewett join us on Episode 38 of the Optimal Performance Podcast to discuss the science behind music’s impact on the brain, neurofeedback training, wearable technology, and brain training.
This is a long podcast – because it’s PACKED with great information. Adam and Junaid were amazing guests. We considered making this 2 shorter episodes, but ultimately it didn’t make sense to split this into 2 weeks of episodes.
What You’ll Learn About Brain FM, binaural beats, and hacking performance with music in this episode:
Brain fm = music to help your brain focus, relax, or sleep
The rules music must follow to increase cognitive performance
“Binaural beats are not effective at improving mental performance”
Brain waves and flow states
New paper from MIT: there is a part of our brain with neurons dedicated to music and speech
How brainfm is advancing binaural beats technology to help increase performance, focus, relaxation, and sleep
How the brainfm team puts themselves into the flow state
Longecity forums, Abelard Lindsey, CILTEP and the possibility of EEG trials combining CILTEP and brainfm
Brain training, Neuro-feedback technology, brain games, and increasing your intelligence
When to use relaxed focus vs. intense focus
Using brainfm for physical performance, recovery, and sleep
How to boost slow wave sleep by 20-30% every night with brainfm’s sleep waves
Brainfm’s RELAX music passively improves HRV (faster physical recovery)
Special 20% OFF coupon for Optimal Performance Podcast listeners
EEG’s and what you need to know about popular wearable
Get more from Adam and Junaid at brainfm
Brain fm = “Audio Adderall” + 3 More Tips To #LiveOptimal
http://www.brain.fm/naturalstacks <– This is the link BrainFM set up for the special 20% off discount. They’ve had some issues with it due to high traffic volumes on their site and they’re trying to sort it out.
Get laser-like focus and enhanced memory potentiation with CILTEP
Smart Caffeine improves cognition and boosts energy naturally without the jitters
BioCreatine boosts brain capacity, higher reasoning, and improves strength capacity!
Natural BCAA’s made from 100% botanical sources – no bird feathers or human hair in here
Grass-Fed Protein combines whey, collagen and colostrum for ultimate recovery & health
CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION BELOW WITH YOUR QUESTION OR COMMENT
Boost Focus Immediately with Music (Backed by Neuroscience)
Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance into your life, check out optimalperformance.com.
Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! Welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast. I’m your host Ryan Munsey and I want to welcome in – we have 2 special guests today. We have the co-founders of Brain fm here to talk about music for the brain that helps you focus, relax and sleep, depending on your goal, within 10 minutes of use. So, guys, hello, welcome, thanks for hanging out with us.
Junaid:Thanks for having us.
Adam:Happy to be here!
Ryan: So, for you guys listening, we have – like I said – the co-founders, Junaid and Adam. These guys are collectively the secretary of snacks and the secretary of snack distribution. [laughs]
Adam:The official titles.
Ryan: These are – these are their less serious titles.
Junaid: Yeah, a little pre-recording joke there.
Adam:I’m completely serious about my title. I take snack distribution very seriously.
Junaid: Hey, hey, hey, create the snacks, I’ll distribute the snacks, it’s an analogy for music. Snacks, music, same thing. Let’s make it happen. Yeah, but Ryan, yeah, so what we’re really doing like you mentioned is we’re making music for the brain to help you focus, help you relax and help you sleep within, sort of, 10 minutes of use. So, kind of think about it like background music when you’re at work, right, you’re trying to, you’re trying to code, you’re trying to program, you’re trying to do creative work, you’re trying to study in college. You listen to our music, you just go to Brain fm, click focus and then you kind of begin and within 10 minutes you’ll get in the zone. That’s – that’s the premise, that’s the promise and it’s been sort of what we’re finding we’ve been having a lot of – recent, sort of, surge. We’ve gotten over, like, over 100,000 users in the past – in the past month so it’s been nice to kind of grow. And so basically, it’s – it’s – there’s a lot going on that we – we would love to dive into it and kind of understanding how this works. But there’s – there’s a component with AI so all the music is kind of generated by an AI engine that my co-founder Adam, really, here is the inventor. And he invented an engine for basically, like an AI engine that creates all the content. Because it used to take us, about – for each 30-minute session it’s an mp3 file and there’s thousands to sort of get personalized to you, when you come on the site it kind of learns from you. Um and, it gives you these sessions and what we realized, one issue when we were starting up, it took like – like – it took a week to make every 30-minute session. It was ridiculous.
Adam: Sometimes a month.
Junaid: Sometimes a month! And we verify this also we have [unclear 00:03:25] from our [unclear 00:03:28]. And we have an EEG control study on this stuff, too. So, when we kind of came about this, like, okay we – we can’t – we don’t have unlimited content. We need to, like, basically, like take so much time to make this content, it took months to make this content. So how about we – how about we just kind of make an AI engine that’s [unclear 00:03:48]. Adam kind of spent 4 months in a basement and came out with this and now we have this engine that’s creating a majority of the sessions – over 90% of it and it’s gonna be 100% of it very soon. And it’s this personalized engine that kind of learns from you, that’s what Brain fm is. And it’s really playing on the relationship with music and brain and pushing to the boundaries of understanding what is music’s relationship to humanity. So, that’s kind of like, a really short, you know, I gave you a lot –
Ryan: Yeah there’s so much in there that we can dive into and kind of explore. But I think the first thing I wanna find out from you guys is, you know, kind of talk to our listeners about how music can stimulate the brain and facilitate that productivity that we’re all looking for.
Adam: Sure! So, I mean, first of all there’s, you know, whenever you’re listening to – I mean, everybody listens to music while they work. And that’s – there’s no exception for me. I mean, I listen to Queen, a lot of Queen sometimes. You know, I’m not always listening to ideal music. But whenever I really, really want to focus I will listen to Brain fm. But there’s rules for music that won’t distract you, that will actually focus you. You know, certain bpm rates, you don’t wanna use certain frequency ranges, certainly not lyrics. And that’s kind of why a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of services out there that are like: ‘Okay, here, we’ll play some classical music for you,’ you know. Or they’ll talk about the Mozart effect or something like that. But those aren’t built with the brain in mind, you know. Like if – I think if, you know, Chopin came back or Beethoven came back from the dead and found out that people were listening to – listening to his music just ’cause they didn’t like it and [laughs] and they’re just like: ‘Didn’t distract me so I’m just gonna listen to it,’ yeah, they wouldn’t be too happy. So, there’s – yeah there’s’ a bunch of kind of rules around building music in general and the AI does that. But there’s a better way to directly stimulate the brain. If you – and we can get more into this later and get kind of really heavy into this – I can geek out to whatever extent you want but be prepared!
Ryan: You go – you go as geeky as you want and if it’s too far we’ll pull you back.
Adam: Oh yeah – yeah, pull me back from the brink. It’s probably wise.
Junaid: You’ve gone too far!
Adam: Well, just kind of an overview, I guess. So, there’s ways to structure music, sound, modulated in certain ways that will elicit a very direct and predictable effect on the brain. I mean, you see it on an EEG if you’re trying to say, raise, you know, um, beta which is kind of associated with focus and attention and learning, memory, that kind of thing. So, it’s – if you wanna do that then you can structure it a certain way and you’ll actually see on an EG it will spike up at – at what you’re stimulating. If you do it right. So, that – and so we’ve done that and we’ve been – I’ve been doing this for 13 years and it’s taken a while but we’ve learned over the years how to very, very consistently and for the majority of the population get a great result. And – and you can actually feel it now, too. In the past it’s – with this research, you know, like 20 years ago, you know, you would – you’d use something like this, you know, binaural beats or whatever and it was probably just mainly placebo if not fully placebo and then you would – or – or, you know, maybe it did something for some people. But it wasn’t as evolved. It wasn’t and companies weren’t testing it as rigorously, you know, we’re constantly testing on an EEG, we’re working with universities, we’re work- we have a neuroscientist always on staff at all times.
Junaid: Totally! And one thing I’d like to add real quick here for people who – since you brought up, Adam, binaural beats – I think there’s a lot of misconceptions around for it. And part of what we would like to do is unwind some of the things and just, like, telling you the facts. Just being transparent about stuff! So, binaural beats was kind of discovered in the early 70’s by Gerald Oster who was a very – he’s one of the most renowned auditory neuroscientists of the century. And he coined the term binaural beats and discovered it. And within his own research paper – that first one – no one read the study! It’s online, just Google ‘Gerald Oster binaural beats ‘. No one read the study! And they’ve been marketing it. He denied that there are uses of it. And binaural beats is a very, sort of, if you wanna think about in a techni- I’m sure you have a techie audience. You kinda wanna think about it as, like, dial-up Internet, or like the wheel, you know. It’s just older technology. It’s just that simple. And what we’re trying to do is create, like, the hovercraft. Or create – or, like, fiber optic Internet, right? There’s just – we’re advancing on the technology itself and there’s innovation to do here and that’s really what our story is about. And you can go and experience that by just going to Brain fm, try it and, like, that’s what we say: ‘Don’t trust us, don’t trust anything what we say. Ignore 100% of it, alright? And just go have your experi- any of you can.’ I don’t know, it’s kind of a [unclear 00:09:28]. But, like it’s just –
Ryan & Adam: [laughs]
Junaid: – just go try it out. And it’ll consistently, sort of, come about as a thing. And when – just make your own decision, that’s what we always say. Just trust your own personal experience.
Adam: Yeah, that’s the best part about the innovation that we’ve done, you know, in the last 5 years. It’s just – it’s an experiential process or thing now. You know, you just go on and you can feel it, as opposed to just trusting that it’s working, you know. Like you have these brain games, like Lumosity or whatever. Just like, you’re just trusting that it’s doing so- yeah, you’re getting better at the game it’s telling you, but you don’t know if you’re getting smarter. This is something that you’ll- you’ll get 10 minutes into it, 20 minutes, you’ll just realize that you haven’t been paying attention to anything around you.
Junaid: Totally! And [unclear 00:10:12] – even to that point, Adam, I’d like to say about brain games, there’s a very – there’s a very, sort of, there’s a lot of misconceptions with it, too, right. And there’s a lot of misleading things that have been going on. But, for example, BrainHQ with – I forget the doctor’s name – Dr. Max uh, [unclear 00:10:33], he’s done some very, very great work.
Ryan: Alright. While you pull that up, we’re gonna take a quick pause. I just wanna remind our listeners, you guys head to the blog version of this so you can hopefully see the video. This is the first time we’ve had multiple people on a video, so hopefully the video works out. Even if the video’s not there, we will definitely have links to the studies that these guys are mentioning. We’ll have links to the website.
Junaid: Sweet, awesome.
Ryan: We’ll have links to BrainHQ. Anything that we talk about! That’s the whole reason that we have the blog version of this. So, listeners, make sure you guys head over there and that’ll actually be at naturalstacks.com. For you guys that have been listening for a while, we are transitioning away from the Optimal Performance domain, putting it all on the naturalstacks.com site. So, you’ll be able to see the podcast directory there. And if you haven’t done so yet, please go to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show. I’m gonna give these guys and Brain fm a 5* review right now. I’ve been experimenting with it for about 2 weeks and I can test – attest to what these guys are saying. That within 10 or 15 minutes, your environment, your mood, everything shifts. That’s really the only way I can explain it. You know, the first time I logged in, I filled out the profile and immediately after listening, the stress about getting it done, the work – getting the work done, went away. You get in this zone and –
Ryan: – it just – the information just comes out of your head and it pours out. And I think for anybody who’s out there and you have to produce quality work on a deadline, I think, I mean, to me to be able to think clearly, to be able to put it out there and –
Ryan:– have it accurate and right the first time. I love what you guys have created.
Adam: Oh thanks, man.
Junaid: Totally, yeah! And we’ll – or what you’re kind of describing is kind of teetering on a flow state, when you really get in the zone.
Junaid: And we’ve been actually talking to Steven Kotler who wrote the book ‘Rise of the New Superman’.
Junaid:Yeah, he’s – I mean, flow states are – we’re exploring in our partnership the Flow Genome project.
Ryan: Yeah. That would be amazing. ‘Cause I know – I’ve seen him speak, I’ve read that book.
Adam: I – I mean, I can go into that a little bit if you want me to.
Ryan: Yeah! Please do.
Adam:There’s a lot of misconceptions about that. First of all, saying that you’re in a theta state would kind of imply that theta is kind of like the dominant, you know, brain wave that you’re in at that time. And that’s – it very, very rarely happens in adults at all. In kids, it’s common, but it’s not in adults. And you don’t – you definitely don’t want that to be the goal. We – we actually never use theta because it’s – it’s – if you have too much theta in your brain, it’s just generally kind of associated with ADD, even closed head injuries. You don’t want too much theta. But whenever we were talking to Kotler, we had – we had a discussion and it seemed to me like it wasn’t so much, you know, that theta is, like, the dominant state or – he actually talked more about alpha. And that makes more sense to me because – and so here’s the thing. Whenever you become an expert at something, like driving, for example. Whenever you’re – whenever you first learn driving, you’re in a high beta state. You’re learning, you’re like: ‘Ah! Oh my god! I’m going 10 miles an hour, it’s insanity!’ And – and you can’t – you can’t concentrate on anything but the road. So that’s beta, and that’s whenever you’re learning, that’s whenever you’re concentrating very hard on something. But once you become an expert, you can easily, you know, just daydream while you’re doing that because the brain becomes very efficient whenever it’s – whenever you do something often and you become an expert at it. Brain doesn’t need as much power, it doesn’t need as many cycles, you could say, to do the same task. And that’s why whenever you drive to work you often just forget, you know, like, I don’t even remember anything about my journey, I was thinking about a movie I saw last night or something, you know? And that’s kind of – and that could be called, like, a flow state, you know, because you’re just doing something that you’re so good at that you can literally daydream while you’re doing it. You can be completely relaxed. You can just, like, you’re so good at it. And that – so, lower frequencies like that are associated with experts but that doesn’t at all mean that simply stimulating alpha or, certainly theta, is going to make you an expert or get you into the flow state. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. We – we tend to stimulate low beta um, sometimes near alpha, but we modulate it. We go around and we’ve experimented for a long time and we found a very, very good protocol that works for the majority of people and works for experts as well as people that are just learning. Just trying to get good at whatever they’re doing.
Junaid: And actually –
Ryan: Go ahead.
Junaid: And actually – I actually spoke to Steven Kotler about this. And he was talking – it was sort of a conversation and I was like, you know, like: ‘We’re obviously finding these results, Kotler’. Like – like, you know. And he would say – and Kotler said: ‘I’ve talked to some of the best neuroscientists.’ ‘Cause that’s what he’s – he’s a journalist for the New York Times, WIRED Magazine and he interviews scientists and he’s – he’s a research writer, right. And he’s – and they’re saying like, there’s a lot – so basically the story of this, kind of, if we take a step back. Let’s just kind of take a step back. Is really there are different parts of the brain and how they are kind of organized and how they kind of relate to each other. And one basic part of the brain is the auditory cortex, right. And we’ve known for the longest time that it’s used to process music, sounds, complex environmental sounds in general. And its, kind of, role is to – its functional property is to identify sound, right, auditory cortex. But if you kind of take a step back and for the research, basically a lot of – or, for the longest time people have had a lot of different arguments in the scientific community. Like, okay what’s going on here? Like, what are the specific things here? And MIT did a mic drop, science mic drop moment over the past few months. And they took a step back themselves and analyzed all this research. And they took a more broader view about the auditory cortex and they said, without necessarily being reliant on one previous hypothesis, they, for example, took – like, they measured 10 subjects in an MRI with 165 different sounds, including, like, random stuff like toilet flushes. And they – pretty much the end product of that was they created a matrix of the sound in the brain. And they – and they really narrowed it down to 4 components. And within those 4 components, there’s 2 components that they stumbled on. There were like: ‘Oh my god.’ It was a holy shit moment within science and MIT led it. And it really came down to 4 components and narrowed it down to 2, which was the brains relationship to speech and music. What is going on here with the auditory cortex? Why does it fire up? Why is there a dedicated, essential part of the brain that is firi- and it is – the brain is rhythmic. Like what is going on here? All these research is pointing to. And basically, it’s kind of opened a new dialogue within humanity and within science right now because there’s a dedicated neural population that is – that is, like, interacting with each- and what is going on?
Adam: Purely for music.
Junaid: Purely for music! And for speech, too. That’s what I MIT is. But, like, for me, like – what is – and they’re going as far as to say – the early, early suggestions – and there’s a New York Times article that I can forward you on this – that there’s a strong possibility of speech, language itself being evolved from music. Like – like and – and it’s funny but, like, if you think about more anecdotally, you know music’s relationship within your life. Right, you can – you can think of those times that you’ve had musical pieces that, like, draw you in a movie theater. And you just like, you know, like, if you think of ‘Interstellar’. That – that was a dope movie. It was so good! And it’s just like Hans Zimmer killed it, you know what I mean? Like, there’s – music gets – and in a concert, when you’re there you just, like, you just, like, get into this one hive mind and just like – like you’re with the musician. So, music we’ve kind of known has this long relationship and, like, it’s one of, like, the greatest people over time have also kind of attested to it. Einstein said he often thought – he kind of viewed the – viewed the world – he saw his life in the terms of music. He daydreamed in music. He – he – and his quote was, I think: ‘I often think in music. I live in my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.’ That was his quote. And, like, Henry Wadsworth is like: ‘Music is the universal language of mankind.’ And music is the universal language of mank- it’s like okay, you can say that with a really intell- like, a smart intellectual man thousands of years ago and like, MIT is finding that now. So it’s just – it’s just a very – it’s a very exciting time, I think, as – even if you’re not a scientist – to kind of pay attention to what’s going on with music’s relationship to humanity. And even if – if you’re a fan of, you know, Eastern perspectives, like Confucius. Like, he had a quote with: ‘Music produces a kind of human pleasure which human nature cannot do without.’ Like it’s – and that’s classic Confucius quote, that’s just like –
Junaid: Just dropping like that. But Lao Tzu – like there’s – the list goes on and on. Like – like – like Stevie Wonder. Like, you can think about the greats and you – just go and search ‘music great people quotes’. Like, you will find a list. Like it’s just – it’s all over the spot. So yeah. That’s – that’s a little bit what’s going on with music’s relationship with humanity. Which is really – really with the Brain fm story is, which Adam sort of, has been charging.
Junaid: For 13 years.
Ryan: So you mentioned earlier that binaural beats may not be as effective as people think they are. What are you guys doing differently to take that to the next step and make it as effective as you have?
Adam: Sure. Well, binaural beats, they kind of capture the popular imagination because they’re actually produced in the brain. So what happens whenever you have 2 very similar sounds, tones in particular, is whenever they combine they add and subtract from each other to create a beat. So that’s why they’re called binaural beats. And it’s the beats that produces brain wave entrainment, that actually creates a corresponding spike in activity in the brain. But you can create beats a whole bunch of different ways, you know. Monaural beats. Actually, Gerold Oster in that study in which he coined binaural beats said that monaural beats work a lot better. But again, nobody read the freaking study so that’s, you know, decades of misinformation later. We finally have the internet and people can look at the freaking study! So anyway, but – so we simply are creating rhythmic stimuli in a different way. We modulate the music, for one thing. We – so, for example, I can – in 2005 I created a way to say, you know, you could have an entire symphony and I could single out the strings section or, like, the violin or trumpet or something. And then I could modulate that so that it’s, kind of, it sounds like a vibration kind of. And if you listen closely to Brain fm you’ll hear like a flutter or a vibration. But if you’re not listening for it you might not even hear it. But – ’cause it’s pretty subtle. And the reason it’s subtle is because I disguise it as what you would normally hear in an instrument, you know, like vibrato, tremolo, the typical vibrations that instruments make. So, it sounds like that. It sounds very natural. And another thing that we do is that the AI, which not only creates music but it aligns all of the sounds. Every note, every drum beat. For nature sounds, for example, this is the example I like to use. I think it’s more relatable. But picture a rainstorm, you know, hundreds of thousands of drops. But every single drop is aligned exactly to the phase of the modulation that we’re trying to produce. So not only are we creating a beat, but – and modulating all the sounds to that beat – but the sounds themselves are actually aligned to everything we’re trying to do. And the result is that you get a very enjoyable piece of music that, you know, to the untrained ear is just like: ‘Okay, this is music. That just happens to be making me feel really great.’ But um, what’s really happening it that it’s creating – it’s a rhythmic stimulus. So, I should say that whenever we say beats it’s not – we’re not talking about, you know, beats in a club where it’s like [beat sounds].
Ryan: Yeah, its’ not house music.
Adam: It’s not like that! These are very, very rapid, you know, like [clicks]. Like, like that only faster. So um, yeah. And yeah it’s – it’s not – you don’t expe- if you don’t expect it then it’s not really detectable. It’s very, very enjoyable. But it’s produced in a very profound effect on the brain.
Adam: And yeah, so that’s –
Ryan: Okay. So, now –
Adam: I hope that made sense.
Ryan:Yeah, yeah! So, I wanna ask you guys then, with all the wisdom and expertise that you guys have and with what we just talked about with flow states – if you guys – if I pressed you guys and said, you know: ‘Hey look, you’ve gotta – you have to get yourself in the flow state today,’ how would each of you do that?
Junaid: So first – I – we can speak anecdotally, I do wanna be up front. Ultimately it depends on your own personal experience and trust that. And with a lot of the stuff that the Flow Genome Project is really doing. I, first of all, highly considered going and going to Flow Genome – flowgenomeproject.com and they have a flow fundamentals course that really educates. ‘Cause there’s a lot of stuff going on here and if we really wanna get into flow state, you know, and they take the time, they’re the best people in the world to, kind of, just go [unclear 00:25:21] – more than understand the fundamentals, and that’s what it is, the flow fundamentals course. So, I could speak anecdotally. Adam, I’ll let you – how do you, kind of, get in the zone?
Adam: Well, I – I just, I frankly just listen to Brain fm and start doing things. I mean, it takes me a while to get into the zone. But once I’m there – really the – the issue for me, at least, is not getting into the zone. Like, I know how to get into the zone. It’s just, I listen to Brain fm and then I start doing whatever it is I need to do. And then I get into the zone. The problem is staying in the zone. ‘Cause if somebody calls me, if, say, you know, if I messaged online. I sometimes had to be kind of terse, I’m like: ‘In the zone, bye!’ You know, it’s like, I can’t – ’cause if I – if I’m taken out of that then it takes me so long to get back into it. You know, it’s like a wait, it’s another half an hour and so, yeah. I mean, but I – I mean since, I mean, I’ve been doing this for 13 years so it’s – and that’s – that’s the – it’s just music. That’s how I do it. I listen to music and then I do – I start doing whatever it is I need to do. And then I get in there. It’s just a matter of staying in it that’s the problem.
Ryan: You guys. Yeah, go ahead.
Junaid: For me, I’d say I like to – I kind of do a lot of, like, I do big picture stuff. And then I have to get in the weeds and kind of, like, run executional, like daily start-up hustle stuff. And for me, jumping from big picture stuff to start-up hustle is – it’s just like a very um, it requires an intense amount of focus for business. Right now, we’re in the early stages, right. We’re just kind of getting up so. And, it’s going well, which is kind of the problem. Which is just like too much, too much inbound! We’ve gotta bring out a winner, be on top of. So we – focus has been, you know, like a very relevant topic. So I kind of, I constantly experiment with stuff. So right now, my current one I’m doing is I like to – I just sit down and – I’m really biased – but I depend on, if you go to Brain fm within focus there’s an intense focus option within there. And that is, like, my go-to. Like 90% of our customers, that’s like the number 1 thing right now that people are going. But it’s really resonating with them, ’cause it’s an experience that is consistently working. So that is the first thing. And I personally like to, kind of, supplement it with – with a lot of different – like, I mean, some sort of tea. Like, really, it really is that simple. And right now, I’ve been getting on a lot of the hibiscus, hibiscus tea. And mixing with the black mint and just, like, that combo is so good. It tastes delicious and it’s like, you just take, like, Yogi tea or any random one. You don’t have to go as, you know, you can be a great – I’m like, I love the tea world. Like, but for efficiency just take, like, a hibiscus and a black tea with mint and put it in. Wham bam, man. It is an experience. Or – or a little cold-brew coffee. Like, if you need to go on a podcast. Like, that helps, too.
Ryan: Yeah, okay.
Junaid: If you need it. I usually rely on tea.
Adam: Your podcasts used to – you mentioned stacks. And um, I – when I owned a house in Columbus, Ohio, I had an entire room, wall to wall with supplements. I was very active on the, it was called [unclear 00:28:53] at the time. Now it’s – what is it? Longevity.
Adam: LongeCity. Oh yeah, yeah. LongeCity.
Ryan: That’s – that’s exactly where Abelard created CILTEP, which was our first and that’s our flagship product.
Junaid: You know, you know and I’ve actually, in Chicago, I ran a biohacking meet-up and Abelard came and spoke about CILTEP before anything. It was – Tim Ferriss just like, someone Tweeted at him or something, I don’t know what happened, don’t take my word on that. But like, he – he, like, I think was experimenting with CILTEP and we got a bunch of supplies. And I tried it out. I’d love to even take the discussion there. I’m very curious into what you guys are doing as well. But yeah, Adam.
Adam: Well, I mean I get – again, I could talk all day about that. I experimented quite a bit and I got – now I’m down to, kind of, 1 or maybe 4 drawers of things that’s just kinda – but I don’t use it as often now. But I was able to find one’s that I actually – I actually think worked and I was able to find thousands that didn’t, I don’t think, worked at all. But I think that’s probably a different discussion because we would literally end up taking up the rest of the time.
Ryan:[laughs] You –
Adam: I know – I know about Brain fm, I like talking about new –
Ryan:Yeah. And that’s –
Adam:This is not the place, Adam, don’t do it.
Ryan: We’ll get into nootropics and all that stuff on another episode. You guys are strictly our hacking with music. But I think it would be interesting to get some –
Ryan: Yeah, if you guys are using the EEGs and other tracking devices it’d be really cool to, you know, see what’s going on in the brain with the music, with and without CILTEP.
Junaid: Totally! I would love to – I would love to have an order and – Adam, how about we experiment? We – we’re just – we’re constantly testing stuff. And I would love to see what happens.
Ryan: Let’s make it happen! I will send you guys some product, you guys put it to the test and report back to us. I’m sure our listeners would love to –
Adam: Yeah, that’d be great!
Junaid: We’ll put a post out as well on our [unclear 00:30:54].
Junaid: And kind of say, hey this is what’s going on. Like, will this – we’ll share with our audience. They’ll – they’ll resonate with anything related to focus. So, yeah!
Ryan: So after we record we’ll get your address. We won’t ask you to share that live. [laughs] So, you mentioned earlier, guys, about – you kind of brought up Lumosity, BrainHQ. What do you guys think about those methods to train the brain?
Adam: Um well, I think the, you know, I don’t know much about BrainHQ, though it does seem more scientifically validated. It has some really cool, really great people behind it and then maybe they’re not making as many claims. But I think that the – the real issue here for me – at least from what I understand and again I’m not completely, you know, I’m not an expert on this but the idea is how do we increase what’s called fluid intelligence. Which basically means, okay, you know, you’re good at this game that we’re giving you but does that transfer to, you know, can you comprehend a book easier? Can you read faster? Can you um, you know, talk with pretentious hipsters at pretentious neighborhoods? You know, it’s – is that actually gonna transfer and the answer is usually no. They – the only thing that I’ve seen that’s ever even had the scientific community at least a little bit excited was the n-back test but that’s since been kind of disproven as far as fluid. But it does increase other things, like working memory. You know, how many, you know, little bits of information can you store or can you keep in your brain at any one time? And these – these are – I believe that there are – there’s many things, in fact, that would increase your IQ score. You know, I mean, there’s actually a lot, if you look up studies on this [unclear 00:32:59] – neurofeedback studies, actually there’s brainwave entrainment studies that have literally increased IQ scores. That’s actually very malleable because it’s reliant on very kind of specific, you know, measures. Like attention, you know. If somebody has ADD and then you give them ADD therapy of some kind, they’re probably gonna score higher on an IQ test. Now whether that relates to what scientists are calling fluid intelligence, that’s a different issue.
Junaid: Yeah, I have a –
Adam: So I think that it’s, you know, depends on your perspective.
Junaid: It really does, yeah, it really does. There’s some obvious things going on, to add into Adam’s point. The ultimate goal is fluid intelligence. I mean, Adam is really educated and it’s great to be his co-founder. He’s like one of the most brilliant people that just drops, like, neuroscience knowledge here and there and I’m like: ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ Along the way. Like, over the past 2 years.
Adam: Thanks, buddy!
Junaid:[laughs] He’s an awesome co-founder, [unclear 00:34:00]. But I – one of the things that I’ve kind of understood is, first of all, let’s kind of acknowledge and put into the attention Lumosity just got sued by – got fined by the FTC for $50 million, right. And the announcement went live in January and everyone covered it. If you haven’t heard it already. Like, Bloomberg, Time Magazine to Times of India, it doesn’t matter.
Junaid: Like, everyone’s covered it. And it was because they’ve been making misleading marketing claims which is – which is a really important moment because it is – it was, like, undeniably kind of true. And you have to be kind of careful with this stuff. And often times from, like, and everyone that has to kind of learn from this experience. Now, that being said, Lumosity is brain games, right, and there’s basically, cognitive games, right. Like, just, like, the goal is to enhance cognition, enhance fluid intelligence. BrainHQ, however, is a little different. And it’s actually led by, one of the co-founders is Doctor Michael Merzenich, Merzenich. I know – I’ll send his link. But he’s – he is one of the most – he’s – or, he’s a pioneer of the century kind of person. He’s been leading brain plasticity research for about 5 decades. And he is the co-founder and chief, sort of [unclear 00:35:24] of the science team within BrainHQ. And, I mean, like, documents and his – he’s published over 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, like science and nature. And received, like, the Russ prize, the [unclear 00:35:38] prize. Like, this guy is, like, the scientific real deal. And like, he’s – he’s earned – he’s – we kind of went – he’s got his PhD from John Hopkins, too, which is actually a very important research institution with a lot of people what they’re doing right now. So he’s – and there’s – so point being, there’s a lot of – you shouldn’t – if I were you, if I was a consumer right now of this stuff, I wouldn’t discount it just because of Lumosity, that’s what I would say. I would keep an open mind still. Because, like anything, there’s new variables popping up all the time, right. Within science. It’s – it’s changing. It’s not this, like [clap]. It’s dynamic. So I would just keep an open mind with it. And within that I would say Dr. Michael’s work is quite – quite – and we should really think [unclear 00:36:27] what he’s done in general for – within the science community. And um, BrainHQ is a little different from Lumosity. And we kind of respect – we as Brain fm respect BrainHQ more. So, that’s – that’s – and again, anecdotal. Trust your own experience at the end of the day. If it works – if you’re a Lumosity guy and – or gal and you love Lumosity and it’s working for you, like, ignore, like just, you know what I mean? It’s just ultimately it’s about, it’s America. And – and globally, okay. It’s about human freedom, alright?
Junaid: Whatever you want!
Ryan: Got you! Alright, so you guys mentioned earlier that your intense focus is one of the most popular areas. And for people who have not been to Brain fm – correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve only been there for a couple of weeks – but the user can select what use they want for or why they’re listening to the music and it’s –
Ryan: – it’s sleep, relaxation or focus or work. And within that focus you have relaxed focus and intense focus. Is there a different – like, what is the difference in the beats that you’re sending for relaxed versus intense?
Adam: Um, well the – the protocol itself is only slightly different from a brainwave perspective. It’s slightly lower and definitely kind of less intense in certain areas, you know, would be disproportionate towards lower, kind of, areas. So, to kind of foster more creativity. Because you’re not – you’re not so much like okay, I need to learn, I need to, you know, this is more relaxed focus. It’s more for okay, I’m reading a book, I’m reading a good book. Or, you know, I’m trying to maybe prep myself for creative writing or something like that. The – but there’s other – there’s a lot of other aspects to Brain fm. For example, there’s – one of the things we really innovated on is kind of a 3D sound. And I don’t know if you noticed it but with intense focus the sounds will start out kind of one the side but they’ll focus in. And soon they’ll be about a screen length away. So, it really draws your attention just because it sounds like the music’s coming from in front of you. So, it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time and just recently perfected. But I can place the sound, even thousands of sounds, anywhere in 3D space, you know, above you, below you, anywhere. And it sounds very, very realistic. So, whenever you’re doing a sleep session it’s kind of, you just have these things traveling around you very slow. It kind of feels like you’re rocking in a hammock or a cradle or something like that. ‘Cause the ears have a lot to do with balance, so it’s pretty cool.
Junaid: It’s kind of like VR if you think about it. If you walk into a coffee shop and you can’t recognize the difference between a coffee mug and a fake coffee mug – and a VR coffee mug. But the – it’s just like, it looks real. You want to pick it up. That’s the latest stuff going on with Oculus, with Facebook. It’s just, like, so that’s the same with what Adam was, like, kind of invented. And then it’s been perfecting and keeps improving upon is that – the audio version of that. It’s like you can’t recognize the difference between the sound coming from a glass here or if it was an actual – actual –
Adam: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I’ve been – I’ve been helping to make kind of a demo. Like there’s this famous, like, barber shop demo that was recorded with a microphone. They had a microphone that looked like a human head. They put 2 – 2 microphones in the – the ears. But I can create that, just, you know, if you just give me a bunch of barbershop sounds. Like, I can create a little sound. I think I could probably make it sound even better, but –
Adam: So, it’s all – it’s virtual. So, basically the – that has a lot to do with every single session. You know, what’s the purpose of the session? Is it relaxation, is it just kind of fun, is it sleep, is it -? If it’s focus we can do a number of things. We can put it in front of you. Or, for example, if you’re in a coffee shop we can – actually, we went around to every Chicago coffee shop and I would design the sessions right there to kind of, okay, I could place a sound that is just kind of static in different places around you so that it draws your attention there subtly, as opposed to the barista banging nonstop over there or some, you know, people over here talking, speakers up above you. So, it’s kinda like we would place it all around and it kind of has a noise-cancelling effect and at the – but at the same time it’s not – it’s actually adding noise that’s helping you get into the state that you want to be in. And with the relaxed focus we don’t tend to focus as much in the front, we also kind of have things going around over here. We’re trying to kinda draw your mind not so intently, you know, to what exactly you’re looking at. So, it’s a bit – it’s just a bit more fluid and the protocols are slightly different. But the overall – and the music is slightly different. Well, not slightly different. It’s dramatically different. So, you’re gonna, you know, the combination of all these kind of subtle things is a dramatically different effect. And you’ll definitely feel it. I mean, um, yeah. If you try to, you know, study or something with the relaxed focus you’ll be like: ‘Ah, I just feel like thinking about – I feel like daydreaming,’ right. I feel like – you know?
Junaid: If you need to get stuff done and zone in, go for intense focus. If you wanna do relaxed work like read a book, journal for fun. Like, if you wanna do things that don’t require you’re like – you know, you need to get in the zone use relaxed focus. But if you wanna get in the zone ASAP, like, pick intense focus. Those are the 2 options right now. That being said, I do wanna say, like, we’ve only scratched 2% of what we’re doing right now at most, Adam says, of the potential. This is innovation here. Cycle of innovation where we explore uncharted territory, navigate it and test the results on ourselves first and then our team and then our, like, little, like our – now we have so many users. We can just say hey, like, we have – we’re gonna put live like a kind of like a – like a lab section within it so we can get immediate instant feedback.
Adam:We’re actually doing –
Junaid: And – we’ll have qualitative feedback as well as, we want to pursue more with EEGs, too. Like we’ve got 2 pilot studies with – on EEG control. But, like, we wanna – so that’s kind of our process, how we go about every innovation cycle. It’s, like, how we think about it. Like, we go – Brain fm goes through innovation cycles that keeps getting better and better and better over time. So one of the things I wanna bring up is that we’re actually working with the Olympic wrestling team right now. With coach Matt Lindland. Matt Lindland, he won the silver medal for America in Sydney 2000. And he’s been a UFC fighter for 10 years. I think, like, Chuck Liddell [unclear 00:43:42]. And he is – he is a beast, he’s a machine. He’s like a very – he’s an awesome person to talk to but also, like, just the man – the man’s mind is just like, you know, I – what it takes to win the Olympic medal. I, like, I’m just – he’s just – he’s on another level. So um, he’s – but he’s – actually Steven Kotler introduced us to him.
Junaid: So, he was interested in a sleep app. So, we kind of just started talking about sleep for performance and kind of recovery. Sleep is key for an elite athlete of that performance. The rest of the team were basically now, like, we’re gonna be making, like, we’re – a Brain fm version for them. And with other Olympic teams, any kind of other peak performing, this can be used for physical performance, too. And we wanna be slowly navigating the territory of physical performance with running and exercise. ‘Cause we can – we can – like, think about, like, if you could normally run 3 miles, now you’re doing 5. And you’re recover, and you’re performing.
Adam: Yeah. The recovery is primarily what he was interested in. We convinced him to do more with focus but the sleep sessions that we have are pretty incredible. I can go into that a little bit if you want me to.
Ryan: I do want you to do that! I’m glad you guys brought up sleep ’cause I was gonna ask about that. But then, before we do that, I guess my question is if we were gonna use it for sleep and if we’re gonna use it for performance I’m not gonna do those things with my computer attached to headsets. Is there a mobile version? Or is there one in the works?
Adam: Well it’s – it’s mobile – the site’s mobile-friendly right now but yeah we are – we’re very, very close to releasing both an Android and iOS app.
Junaid: We’re internally beta testing it right now. I’ve got it on my phone.
Adam: I know, I know, right. Like I’ve been waiting for this to –
Junaid:[unclear 00:45:31] Coming soon. We’re gonna release a light version. We’ve got Marco on our team that we – we went on a hiring [unclear 00:45:37] because we didn’t expect to have this surge. Like, it all started in November and, like, November, December, we kept, like, just doubling, doubling, doubling.
Ryan: You guys – and, you just – last week you hit number 1 on Hacker News, right?
Junaid: Yeah, that was – and that was accidental. Jasmine from our team coordinated this meeting for us.
Adam: Yeah, we did not expect that.
Junaid: Jasmine accidentally posted it! She’s never – she barely uses Hacker News.
Adam: I was just having a relaxing Sunday evening.
Junaid: I know!
Adam: Just vegetating. And then I get: SOS! We need help!
Junaid: I know, me – me and Adam, we’re talking history, philosophy of life. Just shooting the shit on a Sunday night just relaxing, we like to, like, check in weekly with each other as co-founders. So, like, and then, like, oh my god, we’re on the front news of Hacker News and we’re getting like 500,000 people like right – like right now.
Ryan: Time to crank up that intense focus beat, right?
Junaid:Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, exactly. I did. I totally did, that’s so funny. I didn’t even – without even thinking [unclear 00:46:31]. That’s funny. But, yeah.
Ryan: So, that’s awesome. Congratulations to you guys. Adam, tell us about the sleep stuff now.
Adam: Um, yeah. Let’s see, where to start. So, I’m a life-long, very, very severe insomniac. And for the longest time, you know, my own technology couldn’t – it couldn’t help me at all. I spent, you know, 11 years just trying desperately to find some way to do it. And a bunch of kind of innovations came together, like the 3D sound creates this kind of interesting environment and makes you kinda feel like you’re rocking or it’s – it’s very relaxed, kinda. And it’s interesting and kinda dissociates you from your daily worries, which is really my problem. Like, I had this overly chatty mind that won’t just shut the hell up whenever I’m trying to sleep.
Junaid: As do everybody, man! It’s –
Adam: Yeah, yeah. I think a lot of people have that. But, so I – that was the first part of it, the sleep onset. You know, how do I get myself to sleep? But then Giovanni, our lead neuroscientist is actually a sleep expert and works in Northwestern circadian rhythm department. So, he does sleep studies all the time. And so we started talking to him, working with him. And he was a friend of mine at the time. And so, we were talking about slow-wave sleep which I’ll get into in a second. But we started talking about it and I said: ‘Okay, I’ll try to create a protocol that stimulates that.’ And it ended up just having ridiculous effects. It’s insane to even talk about because it sounds so ridiculous. But – and the reason that I’m gonna talk about it is because I’m so confident in it and it’s so obvious whenever a sleep study is done. Like I just hope that a bunch of people who own sleep labs are listening coincidentally to your show this time and are just like: ‘Well, I wanna test this.’ [laughs] So um, it’s – it’s just literally an mp3, you put it on and, you know, just keep listening to it for 8 hours. And your slow-wave sleep will increase by 20-30%. And to put that in perspective, if you simply – tonight you pull an all-nighter, you don’t sleep tonight. Tomorrow, whenever you go to sleep, your slow-waves will only increase by 10% to compensate. So, and we’re increasing it nightly by 20-30% and it’s – it’s incredible. And that has a lot – so this – slow-wave sleep is the deepest form of sleep, the deepest stage. And this is where your body’s repairing itself. It’s getting rid of toxins like beta-amyloids and Inosine. And it’s consolidating memory. A lot of people think that memory is consolidated in REM. Some of it is. Emotional memory is. But REM actually has a cooler purpose – I think it’s cooler – it checks memories validity. It’s kind of like a checksum of memory. Whenever you’re dreaming, whenever you’re in REM it’s going through – ’cause memories are very malleable. It’s easy to kind of change a memory just by kinda, yeah I think that’s – I think everybody kinda knows about that. Like witnesses will have their memories kind of changed or something.
Ryan: Right. So, then this mp3 that we listen to for 8 hours or the entire time we’re sleeping, is that what’s in the sleep section of Brain fm or is this a different -?
Adam: Oh no, it’s the same! Yeah, and it is – and it’s –
Ryan: So we should be listening –
Adam:– hours of mp3 I mean it’s
Ryan:– we should be listening to that the whole time we sleep.
Junaid:Totally, sleep –
Adam: Yeah, just the entire time.
Junaid: Yeah. Sleep – you just put it on. We recommend a sleep audio mask.
Adam: Oh yeah, yeah. You don’t wanna use regular headphones because especially as an insomniac, the main problem that I see when people are like: ‘Oh, sleep sessions. You know, gets me to sleep and I feel good but it’s not as – it’s not as great as I hope it would be.’ And it turns out they were wearing, like, you know, Apple earbuds or something. It’s like, I can’t help you, man! I can’t help you! [laughs] And like who – who sleep like this? You know, nobody.
Junaid: Can you tell which phone Adam has [unclear 00:51:11].
Adam: Vampires, you know.
Junaid: So, I –
Adam: There’s a great – great sleep masks out there that are very, very comfortable, wafer-thin speakers, have very great sound and they’re cheap! Like 22 bucks. Go out and buy some.
Ryan: If you – if you can send me the links to the one that you like, we’ll put it on the show notes and that way our listeners can just –
Adam: Oh, yeah! Yeah, that’d be fantastic, thanks!
Junaid: Actually, go to Brain fm, too, within you can click the sleep section there’s an Amazon link within there for any of you who use Amazon.
Junaid: You can just [unclear 00:51:39] straight to there. We’ve gotta do a better job of messaging that up front and making it – and we’re working on that. [unclear 00:51:45] A lot of people don’t know about the sleep session and how powerful it is. Like, I use it every- I’m not even an insomniac.
Junaid: But I use it. I can fall asleep anywhere. Like, I literally can fall asleep anywhere.
Adam: He can fall asleep standing.
Junaid: I went to high school in Bombay. Like, I used to go back on rickshaws. Like, you had to take a rickshaw to go to school, like, and I would fall asleep and it is loud. Like, you’re talki- like, Bombay crowd and it’s an hour journey. So, I – I – and I used to just sleep wherever. I was just like [unclear 00:52:11]. I used to work. I used to just like, play a lot and – cricket and stuff. But like, so pretty much, like, I can fall asleep anywhere and I have no issue with sleep but my experience with the sleep session has been quite surprising, frankly. Even when Adam invented it he started using it. He cured his own insomnia with it. He had 2 decades of insomnia but I was like: ‘ I don’t have insomnia; I don’t need this. I don’t need Brain fm sleep.’ And then when I started using it and um, then [unclear 00:52:40] blah blah blah, but, like, still my experience is and – and hundreds of other people who don’t have insomnia what they’re saying is quite, quite profound so far. Um, is that you wake up – first of all you will fall asleep, you will stay asleep, you will wake up with energy and ready to go. That is what [unclear 00:53:00].
Adam: And most people are waking up a bit earlier, too. And it makes sense ’cause slow-wave sleep it – whenever you get rid of certain toxins like adenosine, you end up – adenosine’s a key – as far as I understand it, and I’m not an expert on this but I was talking to Giovanni and he could probably tell you more but it keeps you asleep and whenever it’s all flushed out you wake up. And we haven’t shown this in a study yet. I’m really, really hoping to because it matches, you know, it’s kind of, again, this is an insane result. Like, I feel weird just even talking about these numbers, like 20-30% but it’s – it’s – it was there and every single subject it was remarkably consistent. And I was the only insomniac, you know, that used this. Whenever we did it with 3 subjects they – none of them were and they all got the same insane result. You know, went to sleep and got 20-30% better. And so, I guess what I was saying with memory consolidation earlier is that this will help you not only recover because this is the part of sleep where your body is repairing itself, but it will help you learn and learning is – not only just memories like okay, I ate this for lunch yesterday but skills, too.
Adam: So, that’s why we were getting involved with the Olympic wrestling team because he –
Ryan: Skill acquisition and recovery.
Adam: Yes, skill – as far as we understand it from him there’s a lot of relearning and you can be really good at American-style wrestling but European-style wrestling, which is the Olympic style wrestling is kind of Greco-Roman. Yeah, so there’s a lot of unlearning and relearning that goes into that so yeah, we’re super excited and they’re really excited. We’re gonna help them a lot.
Ryan: That’s awesome.
Junaid: Yeah, and the Olympic team, they’re elite athletes, these are elite athletes. These are people dedicating key parts of their lives will be within their 20s to perform. Right, like, these people are winning the gold. They wanna win the gold. And they’re being trained by the guy who won the last, like, more major medal. And it’s not – it’s [unclear 00:55:11] – to share it with. Like, it’s not the regular wrestling when you think about it in America, in North America. It’s more a – it’s, again, it’s an international form of wrestling and it’s actually very popular in Iran and in Turkey, traditionally, over the years. Including Europe. They were actually on a trip, they just got back from Hungary. So, it’s an international form of wrestling and it just requires – and America will hopefully win the medal. That’s the goal, right, that’s obviously – let – but let’s do our part and let’s, you know, see how it goes. But yeah, it’s – for physical performance with Brain fm, we’re gonna be stepping into that, too. And this is kind of our avenue to do it, to really use elite athletes. But what if we had elite athletes that we could just test stuff on and get the results, you know what I mean? In the really short amount – like that. We’d get the results like that. Through the app! Through the app!
Ryan: I’m raising my hand as a volunteer.
Adam: Oh, yeah.
Ryan: You can hook me up to whatever you want!
Adam: Well we – he did initially call us for sleep and we convinced him for – ’cause, you know, the preperformance anxiety, we can help a lot with that. But there’s also um, you know, focus without the, you know, negative effects of like a boat-load of caffeine or, like, you know, many of the supplements, like, will just increase my heart rate like crazy. And then it becomes, you know, like whenever I was really, really into supplements I would have to really scale back or not even take them at all right before a workout. I had to be very careful about that because if I raise my heart rate and everything I start, you know, sweating profusely before I even get to the freaking gym then it’s probably a bad sign. I won’t have a good workout. But what we can do is increase focus without any of those side effects. And so, we can get, you know, okay say you wake up and you don’t really feel like practicing today or working out. Well, people are – a lot of our customers are calling our focus sessions audio Adderall. What happens whenever you take Adderall, you wanna do things that you don’t normally wanna do. You really wanna get, you know, really wanna get to work. You know, I’m gonna read Moby Dick like 7 times. [laughs] You know, and it’s – so it’s – we convinced them to. And they’re really excited about it and they’re gonna be using it, you know, in warm-ups and putting it on the speakers and I expect it to be a very, very great help.
Junaid: Totally. And – and I do wanna say, like, you know, our users consistently keep coming. And you can just, like, Brain fm’s account I keep, like, Retweeting. And we all just keep Retweeting any of the testimonials. So, if you guys have anything in your story, it’s like, I will read – me and Adam read every single one. Like, Tweet, like, type it out and then Tweet at us. Just as BrainfmApp and we’ll respond. And we’d love to know what your experience is. Even if it’s bad, let us know. Even if it’s great, let us know! Whatever is your experience, kind of, let us know and we’ll –
Adam: If it’s bad, private message me. [laughs]
Ryan: That’s a good rule of thumb.
Adam: I don’t care. I like all feedback.
Ryan: Hey, real quick while we’re talking about that give us all of your social media handles. We’ll put this in the show notes as well.
Adam: I’m BrainFMAdam on Twitter. I just recently got on Twitter so [laughs] I have like 5 followers.
Ryan: Hopefully that increases after this show.
Adam: – take it seriously. I don’t even think Junaid follows me, like I don’t –
Junaid: I follow you! I [unclear 00:58:46] – following you! [unclear 00:58:49]
Adam: Liking things and Retweeting or responding to um, people’s accounts of Brain fm and it’s a lot of fun.
Junaid: Mine is J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I, jkalmadi, J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I, J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I. It’s a trip, every time I think about it. I should make that simpler. But it’s – for our account, if you actually just Tweet at BrainfmApp. We’re trying to get it to just Brain fm right now.
Junaid: Come on, Twitter, respond back to our e-mails. We just want that handle. It’s suspended. The account’s suspended for some – so if you go to – if you go to twitter/Brain fm it says account’s been suspended. It’s been there before and I’m like, please, who suspe- who – someone did some shady thing.
Ryan: Yeah. And it wasn’t you guys!
Adam: Yeah, it was not us.
Junaid: It wasn’t us! So, I’m just like, so we’re just BrainfmApp. And we’ll – I would love to hear what your thoughts are with using it while focusing at work or with anything, really, even for sleep. And we haven’t even gotten to the relax category yet.
Adam: Yeah. There’s a lot of cool stuff with the relax, too. A lot of cool stuff.
Junaid: There’s basically 2 use cases in the relax section, we can cover it for a second.
Ryan: Yeah, go for it!
Junaid: Um, basically there’s a quick relax option and a meditation option right now. If you kind of think about the quick relax option, it’s a way within 10-15 minutes to have, basically, a way to get, like, reduce your anxiety, reduce your stress. And it –
Adam: Increase your HRV which is an independent – an independent study was done. And they didn’t even inform us! We didn’t know about this until it was published. And so somebody, one of my customers e-mailed me and was like: ‘Have you seen this study?’ I’m like: ‘No, I’ve not!’
Ryan: Can you send that to me? We’ll put that out as well.
Adam: Oh yeah, it’s on our site, too. Front page.
Adam: That, yeah. It’s amazing. We’ve since contacted the guy that did it in Italy and he’s on our advisory board now. But yeah, completely independent study. Raised HRV. I mean we’re – as far as I know we’re in a very, very select category of therapies that can passively raise HRV. I mean, you don’t have to think about anything, you know. You don’t have to do positive thinking, you don’t have to do breath work. It just works. And it works really, really well.
Ryan: So that would be another way that you guys could facilitate physical performance as well.
Adam: Oh, of course! Yeah, yeah. And that’s, yeah, another reason – another way we kinda convinced the Olympic wrestling team to kinda go – go all out with Brain fm.
Adam: Integrate it into everything, guys! While you’re eating, sleeping. [laughs]
Ryan: That’s awesome!
Junaid: `Yeah, and it really goes back to music’s relationship to humanity here. Like the really, like, we’re – this is all just music, right? This is all just – this is already things that you know. This – don’t, like, it’s just – we’re already – we already know anecdotally, we already have an account to Spotify or Pandora and we listen to our favorite songs and we, like, love it. And we feel things. What if you made music for the brain and made it focused – focused for focus, relaxation and sleep? That’s our premise and how it kind of came about. And this is based on 13 years of Adam’s work. So, he’s actually got audio brainwave training software for neuroscientists and psychologists that’s kind of, like, the gold standard for auditory neuroscience software right now. And it’s called Neuro Programming [unclear 1:02:14]. And we’ve reached, you know, like Olympic athletes in the past. We’ve reached – we’ve had – Dave Asprey was a customer. And Dave’s been, you know –
Adam: Yeah. We went up to him one time it’s like at first he was like: ‘Alright, I don’t know who you are.’ And I was – oh, I was like – I was kind of shy, I was like: ‘I mean, I make a couple software programs, whatever.’ And he was like: ‘Oh, man! I’ve got you on my laptop right next to my bed right now!’ [laughs] Like: ‘Oh, cool!’
Ryan: That’s awesome!
Ryan: Alright, so guys we’re coming up on the end. We already covered your Twitter handles. If you guys are on Facebook let our listeners know where they can find you there and then of course, the website brainfm.com.
Adam: I think I’m mind.adam.hewett, H-E-W-E-T-T. But if – yeah, just look up Adam.
Ryan: We’ll – I’ll –
Adam: Yeah, we’ll – we’ll, yeah.
Ryan:I’ll find it, I’ll find it and I’ll put the link.
Junaid: It’s just – it’s just brain.fm, www.brain.fm, www.brain.fm or brainfm.com. Both go to the same spot. But, yeah. Ryan: And you guys offer a free 7-day trial, right?
Junaid:Um, 7 – we give 7 free sessions.
Ryan: 7 sessions.
Junaid: Right now, 7 free sessions. But for your audience we can make anything happen, really. So, we’d like to give them 20% off, first of all. And what would you like the code to be like? Brainfm/op?
Adam: Ryan Munsey.
Ryan: Or Natural Stacks. Let’s just do Natural Stacks.
Adam: I love Ryan Munsey. [laughs]
Junaid: Brainfm/naturalstacks will be it. And just go to brainfm/naturalstacks and you will get a 20% off coupon. And we can make it into a 7-day trial if you want, how about that?
Ryan: Whatever works for you guys!
Junaid: Okay, cool. How about we do – we’ll –
Adam: We’ll figure it out, we’ll figure –
Junaid: The 7 day sessions are, like, enough to really get a great experience. It sounds like oh, 7 free sessions! Great!
Adam: The vast majority of our customers buy after the very first session.
Junaid: Yeah, we’ll have – actually it’s the 4th session is the highest.
Adam: Oh, has it moved?
Junaid: The 2nd one is after the 1st session. The 4th session is where people get convinced personally. And then they’re okay, let me upgrade. Half our current purchases are annual sales right now.
Ryan: Okay. Yeah, you guys have a great deal on that one.
Junaid: Yeah, we have a great – exactly. And with the discount of 20% it’s just a steal. It’s just like-
Ryan: Right, right. And –
Junaid: And that’s the goal. We don’t want – we wanna charge – we wanna be up front with, like, we wanna, you know, be fair about our price. And like, the way we think about it is what we’re – what is something that we wanna go for it. And what – so what’s an app that we wanna build? What’s an app that we wanna use. Like, we just – how do we wanna treat our customers? Like, how would we wanna be treated, you know what I mean?
Junaid: It’s just like it’s – we do this – that’s kind of the culture within our team.
Ryan: Well, and I’ll share anecdotally also that the first time I used it I did the intense focus and I was amazed when I finished the work that I finished it that quickly. And it was just kind of like coming out of a tunnel. And I was just like holy crap, that really, really worked.
Ryan: But then, the interesting thing was the next morning I just – I – that was kinda, like, later in the evening. And then the next morning I woke up and was just in a great mood. I shared it with my fiancée and she experienced the same thing the next day. She used it that evening and then the next day. So, it’s not just the work and the focus or whatever session you use it for but I think, at least in our experience, it has effect beyond that listening session.
Adam:Yeah, yeah. There’s actually a lot of evidence that brain wave entrainment persists. In fact, some of the definitions of entrainment are that it persists. But um, and we’re seeing that a lot, like with the insomnia or yeah, with insomniacs using the sleep session it’s actually very common and it happened with me, miraculously, that I – I still use it every night but I don’t need to. If I – if I’m traveling or whatever and I forget my sleep phones I can sleep fine. And keep – I used to be on, like, some people are on Ambien. No, no. I was on – I was on things that I’m – things and on dosages I am hesitant to mention. [laughs] I was very, very severe and it’s –
Adam: So, that – that has persisted. And it definitely does have positive effects after the fact.
Adam: It’s something that we don’t mention yet because we have not studied it formally. You know, it’s still, kind of, you know, we need to get more information on that before we start a clinical study on that.
Junaid:Totally. And – and –
Adam: Yeah, it’s definitely being reported, yeah.
Junaid: Yeah, so and for us, like, we’re trying to be proactive about research here. And if there’s anyone in the audience that’s listening that is a research science and is interested in studying the relationship between music and the brain, audio stimulation and the brain or even AI and music. William Blake from MIT Media Lab reached out wanting [unclear 01:07:26] after Hacker News. And they’re – MIT is studying AI and music, so – and – I think, goes by Bill. Bill actually was kind of like a protégé. He was under Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward was one of the most legendary journalists [unclear 01:07:42]. Like Bob Woodward. Like it’s – I was like: ‘Oh my god, Bob Woodward!’ It’s – yeah, but he’s – yeah – but any who, so please reach out to us. Reach out by Twitter or even our first name at –
Adam: Even if you’re skeptical ’cause if you’re skeptical and you happen to own an EEG lab, you don’t like the cut of our jib and you’re just like: ‘I don’t like that red-haired, ah. No, I don’t like him. I’m gonna prove him wrong.’ Please contact us. [laughs] I hope that we are descended upon by thousands of skeptics because I love – ’cause the results are so obvious on an EEG. So, yeah. But a good EEG. That’s something that we should say. People using Muse, EMOTIV, that kind of stuff. You know, I – they have proprietary things going on in there that, you know, sometimes people are saying: ‘Oh, the Muse it raises it crazy levels!’ And other people are saying it only does it a little bit or, you know, it’s just not – those aren’t –
Ryan: So what – what is going – what’s going on with the, like, the Muse or any of those other ones?
Adam: Um, well they’re –
Junaid: Adam, I’ll let you take it.
Adam: They’re – yeah, they’re – I mean I’d say I like EMOTIV the best out of all of them because they use saline electrodes. Or at least they did. I think that their newest one is dry electrodes. Dry electrodes are kinda the problem here because you can only really measure from one, you know, unless you’re bald, you can only measure from one place, the forehead. And, you know, ’cause you need skin contact to get that, kind of, conductivity.
Adam: So –
Junaid: Taking a step back, Adam, on dry electrodes. What are dry electrodes? Right. Like, I think there’s – there’s 2 – with an EEG, there’s consumer grade EEGs and medical grade EEGs. You’ve heard about the medical grade EEGs with all those EEG caps you see, like, all over your brain like that. You know what I mean? And you can see those different things. Just Google EEG, you’ve seen it. You’ve definitely seen it. It’s in movies, it’s in a very rare pop culture thing, like, you know, going through the MRI, you know what I mean? Like, brain machines like when there’s a nervous moment. Like, and it’s part of the human experience, too. So, within – so consumer grade EEGs is like, kind of like 3D printing almost. Like, you know, let’s kind of take what’s already there and make it into consumer 3D printing which is really the revolution right now. Or the Renaissance, rather. And that’s what’s going on with – with EEGs. So, Muse – there’s a lot of different headbands that have been funded on Kickstarter like Kokoon and we’re definitely, like, on the pre-order list of all of them and own all of them, including the medical grade. Like, we – we have like – we all have so many EEGs.
Adam: Yeah, we have a bunch of EEGs.
Junaid:In general – yeah, we – we – ’cause we’re – this is what we do. This is, like, we just love doing this stuff. And, like, we need to be testing. So um, there’s consumer grade and there’s – as anyone in the audience, if you own a Muse, great. But it is – you have to understand there are certain limitations just as an EEG. Right now there’s consumer grade EEGs that have dry electrodes and sticky electrodes. The dry electrodes are basically, they’re, like, that’s it, they’re dry. And sticky actually has a way to actually be attached to the skin, which is –
Adam: And it uses a conductive – it’s very important to mention that it uses a conductive paste of some sort. That – and saline electrodes it’s – what I meant by that is you soak some cotton in saline and saline’s, like, salt water is very conductive. So you need to amplify that, you know, the – we’re talking micro-volts here. This is very, very small, you know, units of electricity. And you need to amplify that to get a good result. So, yeah it’s – I’ve been disappointed with the vast majority. Like I don’t mean to single out Muse, I’m sure that they have a lot of –
Junaid: But actually, I actually own a Muse and as a customer I actually do appreciate what they’re doing and it does work for me with meditation. It kind of tracks – and it is whenever you [unclear 01:11:43]. It’s actually – I do – and it’s like one anecdotal thing, I do endorse my personal experience of it being positive. But again, the Bluetooth issue is a little b- like, so in general this is just consumer – it’s just a movement. Right, this is – let’s – don’t – let’s not single out companies, let’s try to figure out collectively how you can get a consumer grade EEG, like, if that’s a thing. Like, even if – it’s a whole otherly territory, right. So just being knowledgeable and don’t kind of just say: ‘Oh, screw consumer EEGs.’ Or like: ‘Let me buy them all!’ Like, just take a more open mind right now. There’s this – that’s what these companies are doing, too. And let’s – let’s sort of, like, all kind of navigate it together. But I think with – with specifically, like, for example, there’s ones that, kind of, like literally the laws of physics are impossible, right.
Adam:Yeah, I was –
Junaid: There are certain EEGs that are out there –
Adam: I was just gonna say that there are a lot of Kickstarter campaigns that actually got fully funded for, like, half a million dollars that – for anybody who knows about, just, how electricity works. It’s like, really, you don’t have a ground? You don’t have a reference? Okay. [laughs] That’s interesting. Okay. But, yeah.
Junaid: And there was one of them that got 2 million dollars recently. I won’t, obviously, mention them by name ’cause it could [unclear 01:12:56]. But basically it’s, like, you know, a headphone that is, like, over your head. So basically, if you have hair. Think about it visually. Imagine this. How can an electrode with a headphone that you’ve – like think of a Beats headphone but with an EEG, that’s the concept. And then there’s – it’s gonna be touching. But if you’re a woman or if you’re a man, like, with all of us that have hair or, like, it won’t work unless you’re bald. And, like, and, like – what? And you’re supposed to be listening and it’s a beautiful design and it’s, like, comfortable and all this stuff. But, like, it’s – you’ve gotta be [cough] – in general, we’ve gotta be mindful ’cause the same thing that happened at Lumosity, right. They got fined 50 million dollars. Like, I’m very cautious with this territory and I think Muse is doing a better job, in general. And I really respect them for what they’ve done so far. [unclear 01:13:44] a lot more to do. And they’ve been proactive about it. But there’s, again, like for any company, right, there’s a lot to do. And there’s a lot of misinformation with EEGs going on with Kickstarter campaigns. And certain ones are good, certain ones are not so good. It’s about, like, just – just do your research, almost. If you’re a dork about this stuff do your research.
Ryan: Most of us are interested enough to consider ourselves dorks. I don’t wanna call our listeners dorks, but yeah. I – this is what we like to listen to and research.
Adam: I’m a dork, I don’t care. [laughs] Honey badger don’t care if he’s a dork.
Ryan: Before we let you go, we close every episode asking our guest to give us their 3 tips to live optimal. Since there’s 2 of you guys, let’s go 2 tips from each of you.
Adam: Use – use Brain fm. That’s – that’s [laughs] first of all. But, you know, actually I would actually say that – know your body chemistry, know yourself. Take your health into your own hands, you know. It’s – most – many times whenever I go to the doctor I’ll have a problem and it’ll be the same thing, like: ‘Oh, we don’t know! Let’s just experiment with things.’ And you end up having to kind of experiment with your own body many times and you can’t be afraid to do that. You need to be cautious about it and do your research but don’t be afraid to try things out. And take your health into your own hands. That’s – that’s really helped me a lot, at least.
Junaid: I would say 2 things that – I’m not gonna say Brain fm ’cause Adam already said it so I don’t wanna give it, too. The first one I’d say is, in general, what is your frame of mind? And being really mindful about the frameworks that you think about. It’s been really key. Kind of, having self-awareness. And understand that as a human, part of the human experience that we all share together and we all know individually is that what you kind of believe as your own limitations become your own limitations, right. That’s anecdotal but like, if you believe there are no prerequisites to, like, following what you really wanna do and improve what – what do you wanna be putting out in the world, right? What do you wanna be doing? Go do those things. And if you have limitations, be self-aware. And how do you mitigate them, right? How do you approach them? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Be self-aware. So, I think, really, like the first one is self-awareness and really the frameworks of how you think about the world, right. Like we’re all viewing this world through different lenses. How you – like what is consciousness, which is the other thing. Which is like really interesting research in neuroscience right now. But that’s sort of, like, the Olympic gold for neuroscientists. Like, what is consciousness? Like Obama had – I don’t know if you’ve heard like 300 million dollars to BRAIN Initiative. Go check it out, it is amazing. There’s YouTube videos on it. Like, he’s giving a speech to some of the most renowned scientists of the world. Like, we’re talking about the head of DARPA. Like, the head of the – and we’re talking about NIH. Like, these – these people are, like, really exploring. And we’re doing a lot as a people right now. America is kind of, like, Obama has really put, like, it’s like, alright, this is a priority. Like affordable care act, the same way. So, I – I’d say the first reference is really self-awareness and your frames of mind. The second thing I would say is with anything related to – related to, like, you know, either Brain fm or CILTEP or anything, right. Like, trust your own personal experience and try things, be open-minded. Be curious, right. You don’t have to, like, buy a supplement and be on it. You don’t have to, like, listen to b- like, cancel at any time. Like, send us an e-mail. You know what I mean, like, with anything, really – and there’s so many tools, right. There’s herbs, there’s teas, there’s a lot of, like, even, like classical Western medication is a tool. Think of everything as a tool in your tool belt, right. And then go out and try different things, right. Like you make your own decision. Like, take – like – really jumping on Adam’s point, like, take control of your, like, be more self-aware about your health and – and make decisions.
Adam: Yeah, to clarify that I – I didn’t mean that I’m against going to the doctor or taking Western medication. I’m not against pills at all. I think – I – and in fact I think many supplements like Huperzine A is actually much more powerful than its prescribed counterpart. But yeah, I just wanted to clarify that. [laughs] I think, you know, being a human is hard. It’s hard. And you should use whatever tools you can get a hold of. And there’s not – no one that is right, it’s all of them. You need to use everything you can to be at your best at all possible times.
Junaid: Yeah, but then again pills have been over-prescribed, in general. That’s why we – we [unclear 01:19:13]. It’s just there’s a lot of, like, fuckery going on with the, in general, a lot of things. And we shouldn’t be Ritalin prescribed. It doesn’t – it blows my mind that we’re prescribing amphetamines and there – like, 3 year olds! Like, it’s never, like, okay, do we know the long-term impacts? Are we studying this? Over, like, 3 decades before giving them this? Like, are – these are your children. Like, what did you want – and it’s just, there’s lack of information. So, I think the more we put the information out and the more we, kind of, get informed is key. But, then again, they’re a tool among many tools, just like Brain fm, just like CILTEP, a lot of these things. And with ours it’s just music, it’s just like – and what we’re discovering, I don’t know, like, what I’m sure you guys are really pushing forward is like what else can we do here? You know what I mean?
Junaid: Like, what to explore.
Ryan: Yeah, and I mean, to us that is the essence of, you know, this whole biohacking movement is how do we optimize the human experiment – experience? Like how do you – how do we get better physical performance, better mental performance, better sleep, better focus? All of it. And it’s what tools are at our disposal? How do we use these tools? What is each tool doing? So you guys nailed it. Those are awesome. Um, Junaid, Adam, thank you guys. This has been amazing. For everybody listening, hope you guys have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed it.
Adam: Oh yeah! Sure.
Ryan:Make sure you head over to naturalstacks.com, we’ll have the hopefully video version but definitely all the links to videos, studies, all kinds of cool stuff that we talked about, all the resources. Links to brain.fm/naturalstacks so that you can get the 20% off discount that these guys so graciously have hooked us up with. And if you haven’t done so, make sure you share the Optimal Performance Podcast with somebody that you know who will benefit from what we’re talking about. So, as Junaid mentioned earlier, you know, if you know somebody in a sleep lab, if you know somebody with commercial EEGs, share it. Let’s get some more studies done and let’s help more people live optimal. So, thank you guys for listening and we’ll talk to you guys next Thursday!
Luis Angel is the Memory Master and Memory coach who recently became the first winner of FOX’s SuperHuman TV show. Luis joins us on the Optimal Performance Podcast to share the techniques that helped him – and can help anyone – memorize anything and become a memory master.
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor – or BDNF for short – is a naturally occuring growth hormone that is responsible for neurogenesis: the creation of new neurons. Higher levels of BDNF are associated with increased intelligence, mood, productivity, and memory along with decreased risks of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s. Keep reading to see why expert scientists call BDNF “Miracle-Gro for the brain” and to learn 7 easy ways you can increase BDNF naturally.