ASMR for Relaxation

Ever since I started my medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis my sleep hygiene has taken a beating. My mind is so wired I cannot power down at night or I can’t fall asleep because I napped too long during the day. And, to add insult to injury, I couldn’t stay asleep through the night.

Trying traditional methods

I tried lavender, I tried meditation, I tried yoga, and I even tried climbing in the evenings to tire myself out (that didn’t work too well as it had the opposite effect and I needed two hours to unwind afterward). I ran out of options.

Now, a little bit about me, I occupy a very specific sphere in the online universe. I am mostly interested in the beauty scene. I predominantly only watch those specific videos and rarely venture into unchartered territory. If I'm not careful, as you probably know, it's very easy to fall down the rabbit hole that is the internet. As online spheres go, people keep to their own and very rarely cross-over. However, a few months, possibly even a year, ASMR started to sneak in everywhere.

ASMR for sleep & relaxation

ASMR stands for “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response”. It is a tickly, prickly feeling, caused by gentle, relaxing stimuli, that generally originates in the head but can also feel like goosebumps across the body. Do you know that ‘crack an egg on your head, let the yolk drip down’ trick where a friend pretends to break an egg and then tickles you on the neck and back to simulate the liquid dripping down? That’s basically ASMR!

Most people experience ASMR in response to the soft tapping on objects, whispering into the microphone or eating food. The beauty community only tried these triggers but there is a wide variety to choose from. People found these sounds and sights relaxing and swore they helped them fall asleep. I was intrigued. I had serious sleep hygiene issues and it wouldn't hurt to try this ASMR thing. I started my research on the subject and found there are actual studies going on about ASMR. There is isn't a lot of evidence supporting ASMR for sleep but scientists find that listening to these soft sounds do relax people. Is it the specific triggers or is it just the soft nature of these videos similar to white noise?

Experiencing ASMR

At the beginning, I thought ASMR was kind of creepy. The person is really close to the camera and it often feels very intimate. I don’t mean in a sexual way but that the person is intruding on my personal space.

There is still a bit of embarrassment when talking about ASMR since the videos are so ‘close quarters’ but the conversation gets louder every day. People find ASMR a good way to change the focus of their brain, relax and eventually ease them into sleep.

I personally don’t get a lot of “tingles”, or responses, to most stimuli. I had to watch a lot of videos to find out what relaxed me. I don’t particularly care for whispering, a common variable in most videos or tapping, even. I do especially enjoy “personal attention” videos where the artist brushes the camera lens or pretends to give a scalp/face massage. I also like the scratching of pen on paper.

Finding ASMR videos that work best for you

I should mention a common complaint is that people feel incredibly angry while watching these videos and I wonder whether they just watch the exercises that trigger them the wrong way. I personally hate “wet” sounds like lip smacking or the noise of eating food. It really, really irritates me and I fixate on those sounds only even if there are other triggers I enjoy. I almost feel a rage having to listen to those horrid sounds (IMO).

It takes a little trial and error to find your favorite triggers and even favorite ASMR artists. But, once you do there is something really therapeutic about these videos. The tickling response relaxes me almost immediately and that mixed with the low volume means I often fall asleep while watching.

When I’m worried or fixated on something, focusing on these types of videos, changes my brain’s conversation. My mind becomes drowsy and my senses are at ease, setting myself up for a good sleep.

Have you tried watching ASMR? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it works? Does it really annoy you? LMK in the comments!

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