The ways in which people fall asleep are just as personal — and strategic — as the clothes we choose to snuggle under the covers in. Take me, for example: I can’t doze off unless I’ve read a few pages in a book (a real, hard copy BTW - I don’t do the iPad thing). My husband, on the other hand, lulls himself to sleep watching videos on his phone. As frowned upon as any sort of technology before bed may be, things like ASMR videos can help you sleep — think white noise, but on a more intimate scale. The point of even having a nighttime routine, after all, is to figure out what sort of behaviors and activities wind down your individual body quickly, and efficiently. So if you’re having trouble falling asleep, listening to ASMR videos might be a valid option for you.
TBH, I’d never heard of ASMR until recently, and the best way I can go about describing this nighttime phenomenon would be that, well, it’s interesting, to say the least. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, and essentially, that is the feeling, or tingle, you get when watching things like ASMR videos. The content on YouTube focuses less on the physical subjects on camera, and more on the sounds they make, hoping to produce that buzzing. The goal is to trigger a kind of tingling sensation that starts in the brain, and moves down the listener’s spine to, ultimately, garner a kind of meditative state that lets you fall asleep feeling completely zen-ed out.
In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Dr. Mark Winwood at AXA PPP healthcare, explains that ASMR promotes "feelings of relaxation, relief and, in doing so, sleep." He says that the soft sounds and whispering involved seem to be linked "with parent and infant bonding" because they create a sense of closeness and emotional security.
Are you curious, yet? I thought you might be. Browse through the following examples of ASMR below to figure out which approach works best in helping you fall — and stay — asleep.
1. A Spa Treatment For Your Senses
A lot of people who watch ASMR videos do so because they have a lot of trouble relaxing their mind. Gibi ASMR's videos are the epitome of soothing, in my opinion, as her voice is so airy and she offers a wide range of content from imaginative role play to cooking.
Her sleep and relaxation treatment might be a little awkward to watch if you're new to the genre, because if you take what she's doing out of context, it looks like she's caressing her camera lens and that's kind of odd. But, if you really join in on the playfulness and imagine yourself in a spa setting, you'll start to feel the calming sensations as if she were in the room with you.
2. Gentle Hair Play
When I was a little girl, I would lay my head on my mother's legs, and she'd run her fingers through my hair a few minutes before it was time for bed. To this day, I beg my husband to massage my scalp, or pick up each strand one by one to induce that same kind of physical lullaby. Gentle Whisper's video brings me back to that.
ASMRtist WhispersRed told AXA PPP Healthcare that, as a child, she too, loved having her hair played with, or for her siblings to trace words on her back. These sorts of videos, she explains, put a name to that "tingly feeling," like the "nurturing of a mother at the touch of a button."
3. Soft Spoken Product Reviews
As someone who considers YouTube their favorite social media platform, I like to think I'm tapped into the kinds of videos that pique most people's attention. If you were to search "product review," for example, a whopping 27 million videos are yours for the watching, and nighttime routines are having a moment as well.
Personally, I think ASMR Darling's collaboration with LUSH is actually genius, because not only do people love the organic cosmetic company's luxurious offerings, but the packaging is tap-able, some products have that gritty exfoliation, and who doesn't get off on the fizzy pop of bath bomb bubbles?
4. Kitchen Sounds
I don't know about you, but when I'm busy in the kitchen, I like to have some sort of background music going to keep me entertained. I never considered that honing in on things like the sound of ripping packaging, peeling off lids, and kneading butter with a spatula could also be meditative. After watching The Vegan Corner's no-bake cheesecake instructional, though, I can't help noticing a sense of calm.
5. Poppin' Rocks
Pop Rocks were never something I could get into. While my best friends would trade flavors and giggle at the tiny explosives going off against the skin of their cheeks, I nibbled on Hershey bars instead. I will admit, though, the concept is pretty cool, and the sound is alluring, almost like bubble wrap.
FrivolousFox's video is really cool acoustics-wise, but if watching someone practically makeout with a microphone makes you uncomfortable, I'd suggest turning up the volume and setting your phone on your bedside table.
6. Gaming Sensations
While ASMR Ryan's videos might be geared toward a particular audience (#gamersunite), his channel really speaks to the fact that the genre literally has something for everyone. So, as far as what the best ASMR videos are, it really does depend on what you're into.
"Certain people find certain sounds and certain mundane activities calming," Brantner tells Elite Daily. "I'd recommend trying out different ones until you find the right fit."
7. Colorful Fairytales
You may not consider yourself an artist, but there's no denying the calming effects of coloring. It is because of this that WhisperingLife's video introduces something very interesting to the AMSR table, because while the sounds of each colored pencil etching in between the lines is soothing, the visual aspect of watching her color can also put your mind at ease.
According to neuropsychologist and adult coloring book author, Dr. Stan Rodski, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that, according to his research, when adults color heart rate and brainwaves change. This is because coloring introduces this kind of intense focus that's can also be very comforting because the end result is predictable.
8. Makeup Tutorials In Hushed Tones
For something as visual as a makeup tutorial, I personally never would have guessed these types of videos to be successful in the ASMR community. Currently, though, there are over 1 million ASMR clips dedicated to cosmetic how-tos, so what do I know, right?
My only reservation with ASMR beauty tutorials is, I know myself, and I cannot take my eyes off a tutorial if it's a look I'd actually want to try. This is problematic because not only would it end up in a marathon of videos, there's a good chance the beaming light from the phone will mess with my sleep cycle.
Brantner tells Elite Daily, if you're a before-bed scroller, harsh light from your device "can have a negative impact on melatonin production," aka the hormone that helps you sleep. "However, for some people the benefits may outweigh that risk," he says. If that's the case, schedule ASMR vids at the beginning of your routine, rather than right before you're ready to doze off, to "give space between device usage and sleep."
9. The Sounds Of Snacking
Some people get majorly skeeved out by the sound of smacking saliva, chewing, and slurping, but according to TheWaterwhispher's fanbase, it can be incredibly soothing. Whatever floats your boat, right?
There are actually over 1.7 million videos of ASMR eating to choose from, and you can narrow down your results by searching for chatty meals or nibbling in silence. These are excellent options for you to turn up the volume, close your eyes, and turn down for the night.
Sweet, ASMR-induced, dreams!