While there are many tried and tested ways of combating insomnia and getting a good night’s rest, researchers are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to get you your rest.
ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response is a relatively new method that is not understood but is quite an interesting option.
You may have heard of the sensory phenomenon, which has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years.
And as more patients are interested in this cultural phenomenon, it only makes sense to learn more about ASMR and how it can benefit sleep.
What is ASMR?
ASMR is sometimes referred to as a condition, and at other times it’s referred to as a phenomenon or an experience.
It’s newly identified and has been given its name within the last decade.
People with ASMR often experience feelings of relaxing, tingling, and intense pleasure concentrated in the head and neck in response to specific sounds or images.
The most common trigger of an ASMR response are audio and visual stimuli, but some people experience this relaxing, tingling response to touch or smell as well.
The powerful calming sensations seem to be triggered by a broad range of sounds and sights. Some of the most common stimuli involve listening and watching people performing simple and ordinary tasks and routines.
Some of the simplest tasks such as doing laundry, turning pages of a book, eating, or brushing hair are some of the most popular triggers for ASMR. Some other powerful ASMR stimuli include sounds involving water running. These so-called crisp sounds such as the scratching of nails on a hard surface or the crinkling of plastic are also popular stimuli.
Routines that involve personal care and attention like having your hair trimmed or shampooed, and getting a manicure are regarded as common ASMR triggers.
In order to generate this unique experience, people usually watch videos or listen to audio recordings that are made specifically to elicit an ASMR response.
So what does the experience feel like?
It’s both an emotional and physical experience. Physically, you will start to feel sensations of tingling in the scalp that spreads across the head and neck and often travel to the arms and legs.
In addition to the physical sensations, you’ll experience powerful feelings of pleasure, enhanced relaxation, and calm as well as a deep sense of comfort and well-being.
While some people experience this phenomenon much easier, others do not. Scientists are still not aware of why this happens, although differences in brain activity could play a role.
ASMR has gained a large following of practitioners since it was discovered almost a decade ago. Lots of physicians also use these stimuli extensively to help elevate their patient’s mood, induce relaxation, and help them have better sleep.
What triggers ASMR and how does it work?
ASMR triggers are different for individuals. At the same time, they can be related to things that calmed you down in childhood.
For example, someone speaking softly to you or the sound of a back being scratched can often transport you to happier times where you feel safe and relaxed. In turn, this can help you feel at ease and fall asleep. So it’s more or less like being in a cocoon and having the awareness that nothing bad can happen to you.
While scientists are not sure exactly what causes you to experience these feelings while you are watching or listening to these videos, the videos are all over the Internet.
In fact, you can find 11 million of them. However, what are the videos off? And does the response to ASMR come from repetitive watching and listening? Well, here are some sounds that are possible triggers for ASMR:
- Turning the pages of a book
- Folding clothes
- Tapping against a surface especially nails against a hard surface
- The loud crunching of food
- Crinkling of a plastic bag
- Having your hair brushed
- Whispering into a microphone
The videos are often a person with a microphone that is whispering positive affirmations while doing everyday tasks and activities. These videos are often an hour or longer and are designed for you to watch and listen to while drifting off to sleep.
Sleep and ASMR
ASMR videos are specifically useful before bedtime.
Some people struggle to fall asleep during the week or switch off after a long and hard day of work or studying, while others find it hard to sleep on the weekends when they are out of their usual routine. Irrespective, ASMR can also be used to destress and help ease into bedtime.
Watching a calming video can help to hold your attention and put your thoughts away from the everyday tensions of life. If you are trying ASMR for the first time, a great place to go to is YouTube.
You’ll find literally millions of videos and sometimes the most popular ones won’t give you the effect you are looking for, but with so many to choose from, you don’t need to give up.
So what should try and do is climb into bed or curl up on the sofa and then take some deep calming breaths and prepare to begin your relaxation.
If you are not agitated when you sit down, it’s going to help a great deal. A good pair of headphones in a quiet room will also do the trick. Ultimately ASMR is an individual sensory experience that takes a little time for you to ease into it, so don’t be alarmed.
However, while watching the video, try to slow down your breathing and try to release any tension in your joints. Allow the muscles in your face and body to soften and allow your body to become heavy. Once you start feeling a tingling sensation, instead of fighting it, try to relax into it.
Allow the feeling to wash over your head and down your spine. Thereafter, focus on the movements from the video as well as the sound and move away from busy thoughts related to the outside world. And while everyone knows that a mind is a powerful tool, we believe the key to putting it at ease is ASMR.
Everyone has a different reaction to ASMR
Everyone experiences ASMR differently.
However, since, it is not well understood or explained by science, and still a newly introduced method of relaxation, it’s hard to tell who can experience the brain tingles. It is believed that ASMR gives you the ability to switch off your brain and focus on a mundane sound or sight.
Research has also shown that people experience is the feelings in different ways and the triggers are not the same for every person. While some people may experience that tingling sensation from light sounds such as stirring or tapping something or even spraying a water bottle, others just don’t get the same sensation from the same sounds.
Instead, they would experience a deep sense of relaxation and not tingling. Some people may respond quite effectively to a video showing a person role-playing or whispering as well.
What are the most popular ASMR themes for sleep?
Due to the overwhelming number of ASMR videos on the Internet, there’s literally no limit to the number of possible tingle-inducing triggers, but here are the most common ASMR themes:
- Personal attention
- Physical touch
ASMR is a great way to unwind after a long day at work and provides assistance in helping you ease into bedtime.
Lots of people can benefit from it as well. So if you are not too sure about the ASMR triggers that you can enjoy, you may want to try watching a trigger assortment video. With such a wide activity of videos available, you’re bound to find one that works for you.
So don’t just give up after watching a couple of videos, be persistent because if you do find your trigger, then it can work wonders for you when it comes to relaxation and more peaceful sleep.