A delta wave, also known as delta rhythm, is the normal brainwave in the encephalogram of a person in deep, dreamless sleep, occurring with high voltage and low frequency (1 to 4 Hz). If you plan to design and develop your own brain tickler (or similar) system as an academic, amateur, or professional electronics project, this easy-to-build circuit — centered around an inexpensive CMOS chip — is for you. This battery-powered minuscule circuit can be exploited as an adaptable delta wave generator to help someone suffering from chronic insomnia (chronic sleeplessness).
Delta Waves & Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation
Delta waves are the slowest recorded brain waves in human beings. They are found most often in infants and young children. As we age, we tend to produce fewer delta waves, even during deep sleep. They are associated with the deepest levels of relaxation and restorative, healing sleep. They have also been found to be involved in unconscious bodily functions, such as regulating heartbeat and digestion. Adequate production of delta waves helps us to feel completely rejuvenated after we wake up from a good night’s sleep. If there is abnormal delta activity, an individual may experience learning disabilities or have difficulty maintaining conscious awareness.
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is a process which utilizes extremely small levels of electrical stimulation across the head for therapeutic treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain. CES is a relatively simple treatment; it employs a small, battery-powered device that is similar in size and appearance to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS) devices commonly used in physical therapy for pain relief but produces very different waveforms at a much lower current level. The CES device sends pulses of very low amperage (less than 1 mA) electricity through thin wires attached to electrodes clipped to the earlobes or stuck to the skin over the bony prominences just to the front of or behind each ear. The frequency of the electrical pulses can be adjusted — usually from 0.5 Hz to 100 Hz — depending on the desired treatment effect.
Simple DIY CES Device
This is an introductory/demo design of a variable frequency CES device that is safer than many other ideas found on the internet. This device, configured as a delta wave generator to help people suffering from chronic insomnia, outputs a “clean” bipolar symmetrical square wave of a frequency a little below 1 Hz.
As can be seen from the circuit diagram, the heart of the device is a “cheap” CD4069 (IC1) configured as a simple RC feedback oscillator with the help of its first two gates (IC1A-IC1B). Components R1, R2, R3, and C3 determine the frequency. The 4.7-M multi-turn preset potentiometer (RP1) can be used to fine-tune this frequency to some extent. Similarly, the 10K multi-turn preset potentiometer (RP2) controls the intensity of the output pulses available through the proves P1 and P2. The red lamp (LED1) simply works as a device status (run/stop) indicator. The whole device can be powered from a 6-V (1.5-V x 4) battery supply.
Did You Know?
CES has been used in numerous countries around the world for more than 40 years as an effective non-drug therapy (acupuncture without needles) to balance neurotransmitters. This design can be used to deliver an adjustable tingle to your earlobes that balances your nervous system so that you feel at ease and capable of working, playing, meditating, focusing, or sleeping whenever and wherever you like.
Notes & Warnings
• A true RMS digital ac voltmeter is necessary to adjust the output intensity (output voltage). Similarly, a precise digital frequency counter is essential for calibration of the output frequency. However, with a CRO/DSO, it is possible to carry out these two tasks efficiently.
• In my prototype, a 100-uF/25-V capacitor (C2) is connected across the 100-n capacitor (C1). Later, it’s removed and, thus, you can’t see a capacitor labelled as C2 in the presented circuit diagram.
• The 33-n capacitor (C4) helps prevent ringing and unwanted noise injection on the outputted square waves. Another good value for this capacitor is 39 n.
• Although I have successfully built and tested this design, performance is not warranted. I hold no responsibility; hence, use the device at your own risk. Those who are epileptic, pregnant, or have a pacemaker (or any other bioelectric device) should consult their doctor before use!