A Massage for the Mind: The Sedative Sounds of ASMR

For many people, falling asleep in silence is a pipe dream. White noise apps, sound machines or the low-volume hum of a TV often are must-haves for a round-trip ticket to dreamland.

How ASMR Can Help You Sleep Better Tonig_blog_640x400
Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61

A relatively new phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) has been making waves in the sleep world — and YouTube subscribers can’t get enough. ASMR is defined as an experience of low-grade euphoria characterized by a “distinct, static-like tingling sensation on the skin", triggered by specific auditory or visual stimuli. Coined in 2010 and often referred to as “brain massage”, ASMR is a relaxing, often sedative sensation that begins at the scalp and moves down to the toes.

You know the feeling you get when someone whispers into your ear in a soft, slow manner? Or the chills you get when someone plays with your hair or traces your back with their fingertip?

Most people describe the effects of ASMR this way: a tingling and relaxing sensation that takes over your body after experiencing repetitive sights such as hair brushing or pages turning, or sounds like light tapping or scratching. The dulcet tones of soft-spoken painter Bob Ross are among the most common ASMR triggers.

Avid ASMR subscribers swear by the content’s relaxation benefits. In the first research study on ASMR published in 2015, 82% of participants surveyed admitted to streaming ASMR videos on YouTube (there are currently more than 5 million clips on the channel) to help them sleep. Additionally, 70% did so to manage stress.

Wind Down the Mind

Some of the most effective nighttime routines begin with a relaxed sleep environment. Listening to the right ASMR clip may be what you need to downshift after a long day. Well over half of all Google searches for ASMR are on mobile, and queries tend to peak around 10:30 p.m., regardless of time zone, when people are winding down for the night. The top ASMR video on YouTube has racked up more than 22 million views (and counting).

Tossing and turning, and waking in the middle of the night, often stand in the way of a full, uninterrupted night of slumber. Finding the right ASMR clip may lull you to sleep and keep you dozing for an extended period, increasing the quality of your rest.

Not everyone responds to ASMR. And even for those who do, not everyone responds in the same way. But, considering the potential for success, giving an ASMR video a listen before bed.

If you found this article helpful, consider sharing it on TwitterFacebookPinterest, or Instagram or emailing it to any van lifers who might benefit from a better night’s sleep. Sharing is caring!