Have you heard of ASMR? They call it a brain orgasm and it has gone viral on the internet lately. In fact, more and more youtubers are dedicated to producing this type of content, and we can even find it on Spotify as well.

In this article we explain what ASMR is and how it works, why not everyone experiences its sensation, and if it really brings benefits to mental and physical health, including improving sleep. We also tell you about some of the best channels where you can find videos with this content.

What is ASMR?

In recent times, ASMR videos have become fashionable and are becoming more abundant on platforms such as YouTube. But what is ASMR?

The acronym ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which translates as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and it is a biological phenomenon in which a physical reaction is experienced after receiving specific sensory stimuli.

The stimuli we are talking about are certain sounds combined with visual content (although they can also be only auditory) and which in this field are called triggers .

ASMR videoThe characteristic of these is that, when hearing or seeing them, they are capable of causing a pleasant tingling or tickling sensation in the receiver in the area of ​​the head that can spread to other nerve endings in the periphery of the body. It depends on each person, but in general, it runs from the scalp to the top of the spine. Some call them “cerebral orgasms”.

The consequence of this experience is experiencing a feeling of relaxation, which can not only help you fall asleep, but, as we will see later, it is even beneficial for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and stress.

What is ASMR for and what does the science say?

Due to the way it has spread, many people turn to this type of content simply for fun and entertainment. But in reality, ASMR is also used therapeutically by people who suffer from sleep and mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety or insomnia. Realizing this led researchers in the medical field to begin studying the subject.

In one of the first investigations that was done on this topic, when asking the study subjects why they watched ASMR videos, 98% answered that one of the main reasons is to relax, 82% mentioned that it helped them sleep and 70%, to deal with daily stress.

man with headphonesMore data from the same research had to do with the type of triggers users preferred, which helped determine which ones worked best for them. The most chosen are whispers, followed by those related to personal attention (for example, simulating a facial), clear sounds and slow movements.

Another of the studies developed on ASMR states that “it is a reliable and physiologically rooted experience that can have therapeutic benefits for mental and physical health”, among which we find:

  • Reduces heart rate.
  • Regulates emotions and promotes feelings of positive affection, favoring interpersonal connection.
  • It helps to sleep.
  • Improves mood.
  • Reduces stress and helps deal with anxiety.

Do ASMR sounds improve sleep?

More than 80% of the participants in one of the first investigations on ASMR, admitted that they used it as an aid to fall asleep, so, can it be said that it helps to get a better rest?

Another of the studies, in which the brain activity of a group of people while experiencing ASMR was analyzed, showed that, at that precise moment, the regions associated with reward and emotional arousal are activated. A pattern that specialists define as very similar to the one that occurs when we interact with our loved ones. In these situations our body releases the “happiness hormones”, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins, which promote relaxation and, consequently, induce sleep.

Sleeping womanSo the answer to the question of whether ASMR sounds improve sleep is yes, but not as a one-time miracle tool. In other words, you have to bear in mind that, to obtain good results, this resource is useful, but it must be accompanied by correct sleep hygiene habits.

Which brings us to a second piece of advice: try not to use ASMR video content right before bed. It better be audio only. Remember that the blue light emitted by screens (mobile, tablet, computer or television) is counterproductive, since it inhibits the production of melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone).

On the other hand, we recommend that if you suffer from persistent insomnia or any other sleep disorder, it is important that you go to your doctor so that they can personally assess your situation, advise you on the most appropriate treatment and rule out the possibility that they may not be symptoms of other more serious pathology.

Not everyone experiences ASMR, why?

To everything we have explained so far, it is worth adding a nuance: not all people experience the sensations of ASMR when receiving its stimuli. That is, it is possible that you watch an ASMR video and feel a certain sensation of relaxation or find it pleasant, but you do not experience the tingling caused by the triggers .

Why? Because not all of us are sensitive to this experience. According to some ASMR studies, the full pleasurable effect is effective only on people who share certain personality traits.

Specifically, studies affirm that people capable of experiencing ASMR have a type of personality with high levels of emotional instability (which experts call neuroticism) and, at the same time, more open to new experiences.

Regarding the first trait, it indicates that they are people with a greater predisposition to suffer from anxiety, sadness, depression and mood swings, curiously, those to whom ASMR can offer a therapeutic solution.

The second trait refers to the fact that these people are more curious about the world around them and tend to be more prone to having vivid fantasies or daydreams. In other words, they are people who are more receptive and sensitive to sensations.

What is the difference between ASMR and misophonia?

Misophonia (whose clinical symptomatology resembles OCD, although it is not considered as such) is also related to sensitivity to sound, but unlike ASMR, in this case, a pleasant experience is not experienced, quite the opposite, triggers negative feelings. In fact, misophonia literally means hatred of sound.

Those with misophonia experience aversive feelings and increased anxiety when hearing another person make noises such as eating, coughing, or even breathing. The reaction, in addition, can range from slight discomfort to outbursts of violence or, in the worst case, self-harm.

Woman covering her earsAlthough it is curious and in advance, it seems impossible, some studies have found that there may be a higher incidence of misophonia among people who experience ASMR (50% of the volunteers who reported suffering from misophonia were also able to enjoy ASMR). These analyzes suggest that both phenomena could represent two extremes of the same sound sensitivity spectrum, since, although with opposite results, both are based on the inductor-concurrent relationship.

On the other hand, ASMR and misophonia also have similarities and could belong to the same group of phenomena as synesthesia.

How is ASMR produced?

As we have already mentioned, if you are looking for ASMR content, you can find a large number of videos on YouTube. To produce this type of sound, the creators use microphones to capture 3D sound (in fact there are microphones shaped like ears) and produce triggers , that is, detonating sounds capable of causing physical stimulation in people who are sensitive to ASMR.

Some examples of triggers may be turning the pages of a book, chewing, drinking or sipping, tapping on objects made of different materials, scratching a rough surface, rubbing hands or fingers against each other, making noises with the mouth and, already famous and highly demanded, whispers.

What are the best ASMR channels?

Currently, the ASMR proposal is very wide and diverse, but not all channels gain popularity. The skill, production quality, imagination and originality of the ASMRtist (that’s what the creators of this type of content are called), have a lot to do with it. Let’s look at some of the most popular:

Love ASMR by Ana Muñoz

It is one of the most successful channels in Spain. Ana Muñoz started in 2016 and already has 1.6 million subscribers. In her videos, she uses whispers, noises made with her mouth, touch or movement of objects to do everything from simulations to guided meditations.

ASMR Mouth Sounds to Sleep in Minutes | Love ASMR in Spanish

Mol ASMR

The videos of Mol, a Colombian boy with 1.7 million subscribers, are among the most original. Among the most popular are simulations of hairdressing sessions with celebrities, ASMR with songs or narrating video game games, and series-themed roleplays.

ASMR – FRIENDLY BARBER | Virtual Court and Cranial Massage | ASMR Spanish

Al ASMR

The channel of the Colombian Alejandra Robledo, born in 2018, is another favorite with 1.04 million subscribers. In her videos it is very common to find personal care triggers , generally focused on beauty (spa, hairdresser, facial cleansing, among others). And in some of her live shows, her cat appears purring.

Spanish asmr – CLEANSING and deep FACIAL treatment for SLEEP – Ale ASMR🙂

Whispers from the Earth

María’s proposal seems very interesting to us, since it is out of the ordinary, since it combines ASMR triggers with relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and reiki.

ASMR ☯ Te ayudo a dormir // Helping you sleep (Massage, trigger words, rattle sounds)

Jane ASMR

With videos that exceed 200 million views, this young Korean has become one of the most famous creators of ASMR content in the world. In her channel, bright colors abound and she is focused on sweet food (sweets, cakes and ice cream, for example).

ASMR PINK ICE CREAM *PARFAIT, CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM, HAAGEN-DAZS Pink Ice Cream, Bead Ice Cream Mukbang MUKBANG

Conclusions

Although at first glance ASMR seems like just another fad among the entertainment formats offered to us, scientific studies show that it has beneficial effects on mental and physical health, such as helping to calm anxiety or fall asleep, for example .

This makes it one more tool that you can use, as long as you are sensitive to its effect, since, as we have mentioned, not everyone is susceptible to experiencing its pleasant and relaxing tingling.