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What is ASMR and how can it help you sleep?

Posted on July 18th, 2023

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It refers to the tingling, pleasurable sensation that some people experience in response to specific auditory or visual stimuli. These stimuli are often gentle whispers, soft sounds, or repetitive actions.

ASMR videos are popular on platforms like YouTube, where people create content specifically designed to trigger viewers’ ASMR responses. These videos typically feature a host engaging in activities to elicit the ASMR response. These activities include…

  • Whispering
  • Crisp sounds
  • Tapping objects
  • Crinkling paper
  • Scratching
  • Page turning
  • Laughing 
  • Vacuum cleaning 
  • Airplane noise

Some videos also incorporate visual triggers, such as…

  • Slow hand movements
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Smiling
  • Close-up shots of objects

People who experience ASMR often describe it as a pleasant, relaxing, and calming sensation that starts at the scalp and travels down the spine or throughout the body. Some people describe the ASMR response as tingling or getting chills. The experience is highly subjective. And not everyone is sensitive to ASMR triggers or experiences the sensation.

But for those who do, here are a few of the ways engaging with ASMR content can be beneficial: 

ASMR promotes relaxation

The gentle sounds and visuals in ASMR videos can induce relaxation, calming the mind and body before sleep.

ASMR relieves stress

ASMR content can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This branch of the autonomic nervous system is responsible for promoting relaxation and counteracting the “fight-or-flight” response associated with stress. Activation of the parasympathetic system may lead to decreased heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and an overall sense of calm, making it easier for people to unwind and fall asleep. 

ASMR distracts your mind from racing thoughts

Engaging with ASMR content provides a focal point for people’s attention, diverting their minds from intrusive thoughts that might otherwise keep them awake. ASMR triggers redirect your attention to the sensory input provided by ASMR. That way, your racing thoughts can take a backseat, reducing their intensity and frequency. 

ASMR improves your mood 

According to a study published in PeerJ, 80% of participants felt their mood improved after engaging with ASMR. And this feeling lasted for several hours. The experience of ASMR also improved the mood of people with severe depression. However, ASMR’s mood-enhancing benefits declined at a faster rate in these participants. 

ASMR improves sleep quality

ASMR may enhance sleep quality by creating a soothing environment and reducing disturbances that could interrupt sleep. 

There is ongoing scientific research exploring ASMR and its potential benefits. But it is still a new area of study. And the mechanisms behind the phenomenon are not yet fully understood. Nonetheless, ASMR has gained a significant following. And it’s become a popular method for relaxation and sensory enjoyment for many people. 

But it’s important to note that not everyone experiences ASMR or finds it helpful for sleep. ASMR’s effectiveness can vary from person to person. And individual preferences for triggers can differ significantly. If you’re interested in exploring ASMR, you can search for ASMR videos online. Then, you can experiment with different trigger types to find what works best for you.

Dr. Meghna Dassani has practiced dentistry for over two decades and is passionate about the role dentists play in whole-body health. You can learn more at her website:

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