ASMR is a sensory phenomenon that has taken the internet by storm in recent years. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response or “ASMR” is a term used to describe a physical reaction in the body that is triggered by an audio or visual experience. The physical reaction is a pleasurable tingling sensation, though not a sexual one, which is usually concentrated in the head and neck and spreads out to the rest of the body. It is not unlike the shivers you get when hearing a breath-taking piece of music or a truly moving speech.
ASMR triggers vary from person to person, but generally, a lot of them revolve around everyday tasks, such as brushing hair, folding clothes, reading a book, or writing on paper. Whispering is the most popular ASMR trigger and features in more than 5 million ASMR YouTube videos.
Not everyone experiences this tingling sensation, however, and scientists are still trying to work out why that is the case. The first peer-reviewed scientific study of ASMR was conducted at Swansea University in 2015 and interest has only grown in this area of research since.
It is thought that ASMR may be linked with misophonia, which is a sensitivity to sounds that produce feelings of anger, stress, disgust, and discomfort, such as chewing or snoring. A study on misophonia found that half of the participants also had ASMR, which gives some indication that these experiences may be a part of a sound trigger spectrum.
So, how can it help you to sleep?
While research is still taking place on the effects of ASMR on sleep, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that confirms that it helps many people to drift off sleep. Studies have found that 81% of people who use ASMR do so before they go to bed. This may be because it:
Fosters feelings of safety and wellbeing
Provides pain relief
Is similar to mindful meditation
If you want to try ASMR, the National Sleep Foundation recommends checking out ASMRUniversity and ASMRLabas to find out more.
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