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August 02, 2022

Discovering ASMR, the viral Internet trend that helps a lot of people sleep

Discovering ASMR, the viral Internet trend that helps a lot of people sleep

Unless you’ve lived the last few years under a rock or don’t use any social media, you have definitely come across some ASMR content. You may not be familiar with the expression itself, but you surely know what it represents. 

This sensory phenomenon started to become fashionable between 2015 and 2016 and has since turned into an Internet craze. People love it or hate it, but no one is indifferent.

The production of ASMR content is so massive that it even has its own article on Think With Google, the technology giant’s page dedicated to insights for those who work in marketing. And if it became Google’s case, it’s because it’s not a small thing.

What is ASMR?

ASMR stands for ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’.

In other words, ASMR is like a ‘brain massage’ that creates a sensation of physical pleasure that starts in the scalp, grows in the back of the neck and can extend throughout the body. This pleasure is not sexual, however similar some their sensations may be.

This reaction is usually triggered by soft sounds, such as low voices, foam being squeezed, a water spray, or the contents of a pan stirring. ASMR can also be visual, so many images are close-up, focusing on the subject or the face of the person speaking.

And if you have doubt about the genre’s possibilities, in 2016 there were already more than 5.6 million ASMR videos on YouTube. Today, the most popular ones are approaching 500 million views.

ASMR is a natural relaxant

ASMR is a matter of taste. That means that there are people who love it, people who can’t stand it and also those who only like a certain type or category of content.

But for those who like it, it works.

There are relatively few published studies on the topic, but those that do exist attest to the relaxing and calming power of this natural sensory response.

The first article on the topic was published in 2015 by the Department of Psychology at the University of Swansea in the UK. During the research, it was found that 98% of people use ASMR to relax, 82% to enter the sleep stage and 70% to deal with stress. All these effects help a person sleep better.

In this same group, of almost 500 people, 75% of them said that whispering voices awakened the ‘tingle’ of ASMR in them. For 64%, the same sensation was triggered by firm sounds, such as aluminum foil or nails tapping on wood.

The results of that study, which pointed to the potential of ASMR for relieving pain and improving mood, opened the way for other studies to research its effects on the body and how it can help with sleep.

Types of ASMR

There are different types of sensory stimuli that affect people in different ways. Some of the most common are:

Cooking: with sounds of ingredients being opened, broken, beaten, mixed, prepared and cooked or baked.

Eating: hearing chewing noises causes ASMR sensations in many people. If you suffer from misophonia (the intense, almost hateful reaction to the noise of someone else’s chewing), avoid these contents.

Role-play: One of the visual kind of ASMR, in which a person simulates/pretends, for example, to be cutting their hair or cleaning the face of the viewer.

Nails: Made with the sound of nails constantly tapping the table or doing a manicure.

Firm sounds: such as aluminum foil being manipulated and crumpled.

Cutting: One of the most popular on Instagram, which consists of using scissors, knives or cutters to cut paper, food and even bars of soap.

Bubble wrap: no introductions needed. Who has never spent hours having fun with the packaging of a fragile product?

The options are endless.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if you are not sensitive to ASMR; not everyone is. If this is your case, there are other alternatives to relax before bed.


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