When warm milk can’t help me fall asleep, I turn to autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).
ASMR is a tingling sensation at the crown of the head. According to Scientific American, the “brain has cells called ‘mirror neurons’ which activate when watching someone doing a motion or task, and are thought to mimic the movements that are seen.” Just like flinching when watching a video of a baseball speeding towards us, we feel relaxed when watching a video of someone whispering and stroking the camera lens.
On days I couldn’t fall asleep, my mom gave me sleep remedies like chamomile tea, melatonin, and Advil P.M., but these were not only ineffective, they left me extremely drowsy the next morning. My lack of sleep started to affect my performance at school and I began to feel like I’d never find a solution to my exhaustion.
Fortunately, when I was in elementary school, I was introduced to ASMR videos and they became my new sleep remedy. While watching a video of a YouTuber react to a woman whispering to the camera, I nearly fell asleep, mesmerized by the calming movements and sounds of the woman. After seeing how easily these ASMR videos lulled me to sleep, I started to rely on them each night.
I’d always experienced these tingles at the top of my head, but I didn’t realize there was an entire community online that experienced the same sensations. This ASMR community, which posts videos on YouTube of calming noises like tapping and whispering, helps me feel at ease and I now rely on it for much more than sleep.
As I entered my teens, my anxiety worsened and I experienced frequent panic attacks. ASMR videos became the most effective thing to settle my nerves and they’ve become my go-to source of comfort.
I also started to listen to ASMR while doing homework and chores around the house. Listening to people whisper helps is calming so I’m able to better focus on the tasks.
My ASMR is triggered when I’m relaxed, often by a sound or a visual. Videos that feature more familiar things such as fireplaces, someone pretending to do makeup, or calming hand movements such as slowly brushing the camera lens trigger my ASMR and help me sleep.
For four years I’ve relied on YouTube channels like Gibi ASMR, Latte ASMR, WhispersRed ASMR, Goodnight Moon, and Lynn Cinnamon ASMR to create a world of peace and restful sleep, both essential to my mental health. When I’m having a rough day, these ASMR videos lift my spirits and help me feel at ease.