For the past decade, ASMR has taken YouTube by storm. Millions of viewers follow “ASMRtists” (as they choose to be called) all in the hopes that the video will calm them and help them drift off to sleep. But does it work?
What is ASMR?
ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is described as a tingling sensation that begins in the head and/or neck and travels down the spine and throughout the body. The tingling is a reaction to certain visual, physical, and auditory “triggers.” People who report feeling such tingles describe feeling relaxed and calm during the experience and feel like they can fall asleep while listening to/watching it. Not everyone who uses ASMR responds to the same triggers, and some people who try it won’t experience anything at all. A study showed that only 813 of 1,002 participants (around 80 percent) experienced ASMR tingles.
What Triggers ASMR?
ASMR triggers vary amongst its users. What triggers one person may have little to no effect on another. Some people respond well to one trigger, while others will need a combination of them to feel any effect. Examples of common ASMR triggers include:
- Hair brushing
- Mic scratches, soft scratching noises
- Towel folding
- Hair brushing
- Turning pages of a book or magazine
- Typing sounds
- Slow movements
- Personal attention such as a haircut, make-up application, and medical exams
Can ASMR Help You Sleep?
Studies on ASMR and its effects are still in their infancy. There is a lot that we still don’t know about this tingly phenomenon. However, the studies that have been done look promising for people who do react to ASMR triggers.
In 2018 a study was used to determine if ASMR showed differences in physiology after participants watched ASMR videos. The study was performed on two groups of people, a group that reports experiencing the effects of ASMR and one that does not. The study discovered that the ASMR group experienced a significant reduction in heart rate and an increase in the electrical conductance of their skin. These participants reported having an increased sense of calm after watching the videos.
A study performed in 2015 with 475 participants showed that nearly 98 percent of this group used ASMR videos to help them relax. Around 80 percent used ASMR to help them sleep and 70 percent used it to help them deal with stress.
Because ASMR affects everyone differently, scientists have yet to pinpoint exactly why it happens and have yet to determine its actual benefits for helping treat conditions like depression, anxiety and insomnia. However, as studies have shown, the people who do respond to ASMR triggers do report feeling of calmness and sleepiness, even in those with insomnia.
Popular ASMR YouTube Channels
There are many different ASMR triggers and everyone responds differently to each kind. One “ASMRtist” may affect you in a way another does not. So, if you are curious about ASMR and would like to see if it helps you relax or possibly sleep, you may have to do a little experimenting with different channels to find what works best for you. These are just some of the popular ASMR YouTube channels to get you started:
Can ASMR help you sleep? As far as we can tell, it certainly doesn’t hurt. If you find it relaxing and it helps you catch some Zzz’s on the occasional sleepless night, then use it! However, should you find yourself struggling to sleep multiple days or weeks in a row you may be suffering from a sleep disorder and should see a sleep specialist right away. Family Sleep Diagnostics can help. If you are in the Hurst, Texas area, you can make an appointment online or give us a call at (972) 714-0011.