What is ASMR?
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and it has been getting its buzz in the past decade because of its powerful experience of helping people fall asleep. According to PsychologyToday, not everyone feels the same experience and triggers when listening to ASMR. In simple words, ASMR can be specific sounds or images that trigger intense pleasures and relaxing tingling, and those tingle sensations usually concentrate in the head and neck area. And in some rare cases, some will also experience the same trigger with touch and smell.
Dr. Michael J Breus from PyschologyToday explains that “The ASMR triggered physical sensations usually start with a tingling in the scalp that spreads across the head and neck, and often travels to the arms and legs. Accompanying these physical sensations are powerful feelings of pleasure (non-sexual pleasure), a rush of relaxation and calm, and a deep sense of comfort and well-being.”
What happens to the brain when Listening to ASMR audio?
Since it is a very new phenomenon, there is not a lot of research on it yet. The first peer-review and study research conducted on ASMR was in 2015 by UK’s Swansea’s University. However, researchers are making connections of the pleasures ASMR- triggered to what the human brain goes through experiencing “flow”. According to PyschologyToday, “Flow is a well-established state of consciousness that combines deep relaxation with highly focused engagement.” When we are experiencing “flow”, we are able to concentrate mentally and physically and perform our task without any stress and mental distraction. Dr. Michael describes “flow” as a powerful state of mind where our sense of time slips away. However, the one big difference between ASMR and “flow” is the pleasure ASMR triggers involves no task engagement at all. It is pure relaxation.
ASMR and Mindfulness and its Benefits to sleep
There is a recent study that explored the possible connection between mindfulness and ASMR. In the study, it found out that people who experience ASMR have more characteristics of mindfulness than people who do not experience ASMR. As researchers state, mindfulness is a powerful sleep enhancer because it helps with reducing stress, improving sleep quality and quantity, and shortening the time it takes to fall asleep. And stress is the number one sleep-deter agent.
1. Reduces stress
In a 2018 peer study, those who watch ASMR videos have significant reductions in both psychological and physiological signs of stress. The participants’ emotional stress went down and feelings of calmness increased, and they experienced a reduction in heart rate.
2. Improvement of mood
Many recent Studies are starting to back up that ASMR can temporarily lift mood and improve symptoms of depression, including relief from sadness. And as researchers noted, depression and anxiety are two big sleep-deter conditions.
3. Pain relief
There are some very early staged researches that suggest ASMR can relieve people with chronic pain. A research study group reported that half of their participants feel temporary relief of their pain symptoms after using ASMR.
Did you know Markham Public Library has some ASMR audio books for people to borrow? Here are some if you are interested to give this technique a try.
ASMR can be specific sounds or images that trigger intense pleasures and relaxing tingling, and those tingle sensations usually concentrate in the head and neck area. And in some rare cases, some will also experience the same trigger with touch and smell.