How Watching YouTube Videos Reduced My Anxiety And Cured My Insomnia

by Megan Cary

My overactive mind used to keep me up at night, worrying, stressing and thinking for hours, until exhaustion would finally take over.

I would go to bed early and fall asleep late.

I’ve struggled with sleeping my whole life.

I worried about what I would do the next day, what I would wear and where I would go. I worried about what I did earlier that day, if I embarrassed myself, if I did something stupid and if I accomplished enough.

I couldn’t turn my mind off.

But when I discovered ASMR, my sleep routine changed completely.

ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is the experience of pleasurable tingling sensations, triggered in response to specific sound and sight stimuli.

ASMR videos have recently become very popular in helping people to sleep and relax.

The tingling sensation is different for everyone. In fact, “tingling” may not be the right word. I personally experience a warm sinking feeling in my stomach, as if a weight has been lifted off me.

Other people experience tingling on their heads, scalps and backs. Everyone has different triggers, but many common ones are whispering, tapping, crinkling and scratching.

It’s similar to the comfort some people find in sleeping with a fan nearby.

Many ASMR videos include roleplay. The roleplays are always scenarios commonly associated with relaxation, like a massage or a haircut.

Some videos are simply a whisperer reading a book. In this example, the triggers are the whispering, page turning and tapping on the book. Other videos are tapping and crinkling only, without whispering.

I personally enjoy the sound of stroking fabrics and hair brushing.

I think the fabric-stroking reminds me of when my mom would rub my back over the blankets when I was young and couldn’t sleep.

I think I like the sound of hair brushing because I enjoy the actual sensation of hair brushing.

I also like whispering. I have no theory about why, but I like whispers with accents.

It's common to temporarily become immune to certain voices or triggers. I can find relaxation in one whisperer for a few nights, but I need to change often.

ASMR isn’t for everyone. I’ve showed friends ASMR videos, and they’ve watched them without experiencing any relaxation. It could be the video did not include their personal triggers, or they simply weren't in the mood to relax.

Many people use ASMR for everyday relaxation, while I use ASMR almost exclusively for sleeping.

ASMR is reported to increase relaxation and sleep, but it also decreases anxiety, depression and stress.

People suffering from anxiety disorders have reported using ASMR videos to calm themselves, avoid panic attacks and reduce their general anxiety.

ASMR has not only given me hours of sleep back, but it has also given me hours of my life back.

I know it will only take me half an hour to fall asleep, so I no longer waste time lying in bed.

I stay up later and spend time with family, do homework, write or do whatever, knowing I'll fall asleep at a practical time and wake up feeling restored and refreshed.

However, I'm still an incredibly light sleeper. Unfortunately, ASMR is only powerful enough to put me to sleep, not keep me asleep.