Calm App, Sitting vs. Lying Down


Note: I’m posting this here because there doesn’t seem to be a forum for Muse customers.

I’ve noticed that it’s much more difficult to achieve a ‘calm’ state when lying down than it is when sitting. My guess was that physical movement during breathing could cause the headband to register activity, so I tried a test:

  1. Three-minute session while lying face down, head slightly elevated so that neither it nor the headband are in direct contact with anything. (Yeah, I looked a little like a seal.)
  2. Follow normal procedure during the calibration phase (eyes closed, think of as many things as possible…)
  3. During the session, hold breath for about one minute at a time. By doing this, movement is kept to a minimum.
  4. Keep eyes open and make no effort whatsoever to relax or clear mind

Active for 0 seconds
Neutral for 11 seconds
Calm for 169 seconds

A repeat of the test achieved similar results. Session data graphs are here:


It’s SIGNIFICANTLY easier to achieve calm when lying; though mine is nowhere near the consistent low levels on your screenshots. I’m a daily meditator and also suffer from chronic back and neck pain so it was very natural for me to want to try it lying down. My results were similar. I rationalized it in my mind that I was less calm because of the pain but I’d be curious to know that plays into it, if it’s just movement it’s picking up, etc.


Wow that is impressive worn out amygdala. I hope I’ll achieve such calmness as well.


Nah, those screen grabs didn’t have anything to do with being calm – I don’t think holding your breath for 60 seconds is conducive to focused relaxation. :slight_smile:

This is just an anomaly, and I posted that because I was hoping for some insight into how small movements (e.g., breathing) and body position might affect the readings of the Calm app.


Hahah ok. Well I think you are focused when holding your breath, since that is the only thing that is on your mind. The results are based on brainwaves i think.

You will hear birds when you are calm for long periods. But I think it is actually based on the strength of Alpha waves, which usually take some periods to increase.

As an experiment I took some L-Theanine half way through a 3 minute session. Because the latter amino acid is known for increasing Theta brainwaves I pressed the L-Theanine on my palate with my tongue instead of swallowing and almost immediately I heard birds and in the remaining 1,5 min I gathered a total of 10 birds, which seems a bit much, since i only managed to get 6 during a full 12 minute session.


For a 12-minute session with no cheating of any kind, the largest number of birds I’ve seen is 142. It might be possible to get a few more except for what appears to be a bug: the first two seconds of a session are always recorded as either ‘active’ or ‘neutral’, never ‘calm’.


I’ve gotten 70 birds and thought it was attributed to poor calibration. I find the system wildly inaccurate sometimes. I know I was just as calm on my 2 bird session as I was in my 70 bird session…


I am not very calm. So 142 birds in 12 minutes is nearly impossible for me. But indeed Andre I would like to know how much the calibration influences the session. Sometimes during calibration i get distracted when example with the movies category I started remebering how the movie actually went. Or sometimes I get stuck, I cant just think up any new things.


That’s definitely an interesting way to use Muse, Worn Out Amygdala. It’s not something we’ve ever tried before!

I’d have trouble explaining why lying on your stomach and holding your breath would cause our algorithm to read calm like that.

We’re currently working on improving our artifact detection and noise alerts, which will interrupt the session when we pick up artifacts and noise. I’m guessing that holding your head in that position and holding your breath would generate a lot of muscle-noise artifacts and confuse the algorithm.

The algorithm in the application is designed to detect a single brainstate under very specific conditions, and I’m proud to say that it does that extremely well. If you use Muse as intended, I’m very confident that the data will be accurate. Outside of that, the results will be unpredictable,

Over time we’ll be able to “catch” more and more of this bad data, but in the meantime I recommend using the product in a comfortable position and breathing normally as instructed and you should have a much more accurate/responsive experience.



forgive me for my poor english.


I come from China, bought the MUSE 5 days ago, estimation into my hands still need 25 days, my god![/SIZE]
[SIZE=14px]I am a meditation teacher, I am ready to introduce Muse into my teaching, of course, this is a challenge, so first to this forum to learn, we have the question about meditation can seek advice from me.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=14px]For respiratory problems, exercise don’t hold your breath, come very naturally to breathe, while maintainingawareness and mindfulness, just started a little difficult, but also the chance to progress, but difficult to perceive,meaning behind, aware of the nature of the problem, the nature will progress

[SIZE=18px]Give you a few suggestions[/SIZE]
[SIZE=18px]Natural breathing, don’t lie, lumbar straight[/SIZE]
[SIZE=14px]The practice of meditation, hope everyone don’t worry too much[/SIZE]
[SIZE=14px]And other equipment into my hands, I will provide my brain information to everyone, please also under the guidance of EEG problem.[/SIZE]