What is ASMR?
It stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response, which is a fancy way of saying tingling or static-like sensations that start at your scalp and run down your spine creating an overall sense of well-being.
This usually occurs in response to a certain sound or group of sounds, but can also occur as a result of certain touches and visual stimuli.
It has also been affectionately referred to as the “brain tingles”.
Although it is said that the feeling can be difficult to describe, here is an ASMR testimonial written by an ASMR user…
” When I experience ASMR, I get tingles throughout my scalp and sometimes also the back of my neck. It is like a warm, fuzzy feeling. It can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. It causes relaxation and calmness, and can help induce sleep” – Katie
So What’s the Big Deal and Why Has the ASMR Craze Suddenly Taken Off?
The term ASMR was first coined in 2010, however there have been reports of people feeling the sensation for many years prior.
Although it has been around for some time, it has had a steady increase in followers and recently exploded in the world of social media with thousands of new ASMR videos being posted on YouTube daily.
There was even a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl that included ASMR. Crazy right?!
Why the Sudden Explosion You Ask?
Well, the cause of the sudden rise in popularity is unclear but there are
Not only do these sounds make you feel good
They also help to banish anxiety!
And what’s even better than that? You guessed it… it helps you sleep!
How does this happen you ask? Well, researchers from the University of Sheffield found that people who watched ASMR videos actually had a significant slowing of their heart rates, putting them into a state of deep relaxation.
In fact, participants in this study who reported experiencing ASMR also self-reported having more feelings of calmness, increased excitement, decreased levels of stress and less sadness.
Sounds like my kind of video!
So What are These Amazing Sounds and Sights That Have So Many People Drifting Off into Calming States of Relaxation and Peace?
Whispering, tearing paper, rustling leaves, scratching brush bristles, and tapping nails!…….Doesn’t sound too impressive huh?
But if the millions of YouTube and Google searches mean anything, these sounds DO WORK to trigger those “brain tingles” that everyone is talking about.
I know What You’re Thinking…. Does Everyone Experience ASMR?
That’s a good question. There are several people who have reported experiencing this phenomenon in their daily lives and even during their childhood (of course there wasn’t a fancy name for it back then).
And those in the study at the University of Sheffield who had a history of experiencing this phenomenon in their daily lives were more likely to experience it while watching the ASMR videos
But not everyone reports experiencing ASMR, even while watching the videos.
However, it may be that they just haven’t found the trigger that works for them.
So how can you tell if you are one of those lucky people that can experience ASMR?
Well, the only way to tell is to watch a video and be on the lookout for those “brain tingles”.
The most common trigger is reported to be whispering. You can watch the video below to see if whisper ASMR works for you!
If that didn’t work, try out some of the other common ASMR triggers in the video below to see if any work for you.
ASMR and Sleep
Now, although I LOVE a good relaxation technique, the reason that ASMR caught my attention was it’s reported effect on sleep!
A study published in 2015 surveyed 475 individuals that reported experiencing and using ASMR and it found that 82% of them used ASMR to help them sleep.
Those who use ASMR to help them with sleep report listening to or watching the videos before bed to help them relax and combat the anxiety that often makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.
Listening to these videos helped to put them in a state of calm and relaxation, making it easier for them to fall asleep.
Some people even listen to the videos overnight, while they are sleeping to help them stay asleep, as some of the videos are up to an hour long and you can loop them on repeat.
It also helps to quiet your mind of all of those racing thoughts while at the same time producing an overall sense of calm and euphoria that helps you drift off peacefully into sleep.
For the best results, it is recommended that you listen to the videos through headphones like these while you sleep.
These headphones fit comfortably over your ears and were designed by a family medicine doctor to be worn while you sleep.
ASMR Sleep Videos
Below are some of the most popular ASMR videos to try if you have trouble falling or staying asleep!
Other uses for ASMR
The great thing about ASMR is that it can be used to help your infant sleep as well.
The book Brain Tingles explains how ASMR can be used to soothe an angry infant or put your toddler to sleep.
It also goes through the ASMR triggers and steps to take to help you find the one that works for you!
Although more research is needed (and ongoing) to really flesh out all of the benefits of ASMR, the potential benefits are vast.
Similar to things like meditation and other relaxation techniques, attaining the deep levels of relaxation that are reported with ASMR can have many health implications such as improved blood flow, mood and decreased stress.
And, as we all know, anything that improves sleep leads to many other health benefits and decreases potential health hazards like those covered in my post What Are the Benefits of Sleep?
If you’re interested in learning more about ASMR, visit the ASMR University which is a website that includes a variety of resources that cover everything ASMR from its origins, to new and exciting research, to celebrities who follow and participate in ASMR.
I hope you found this post helpful and hopefully you’ve come across some ASMR triggers that work for you!
If you’ve had any experiences with ASMR or found any in this post that worked for you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below and definitely be sure to share with your family and friends!
As usual, Happy Sleeping!