An alternate form of relaxation: ASMR

When you think of relaxation, you maybe associate it with sitting back with a good book or show, playing some good tunes and closing your eyes, eating some comfort snacks and not thinking of the stresses of work and school. Maybe your go-to is a nice bubble bath with a fizzy, colorful, scented bath bomb. Maybe you work up a good sweat or have a long, deep conversation with a good friend.

All the above are super calming and therapeutic, but what if I told you some quality relaxation was available through a youtube video and some headphones? Or a compilation Spotify playlist and headphones?

Most of us use Youtube as a source of entertainment—which can be relaxing, of course. There’s nothing quite like lapsing into a Youtube click-hole and losing hours of your time watching weird videos. What if those videos were more purposeful than mindless entertainment?

ASMR is not for everybody. A lot of you may have heard of ASMR—autonomous sensory meridian response—but very few of you have probably tried to sit through an ASMR video or live stream. ASMR uses the repetition of ordinary sounds and—usually—soft voices and mesmerizing hand motions to guide the viewer in meditation or relaxation. It sounds kinda weird, right? The viewing experience can be weird, as expected, because the audio-visual sensory stimuli cause tingling at the crown of your head—for whatever reason—and make their way down your neck and spine.

I’m new to ASMR, but I’ve found that it’s working itself into my nightly routine of finishing up assignments, listening to music, and writing. For some reason, right before bed, I seek out these videos and find myself entranced and sleepy. I’m not entirely sure what brought on my delving into these videos in the first place. Probably something on social media. I was probably looking for some absolutely pleasing soap-carving videos and stumbled on a slew of videos claiming to help with falling asleep.

At the height of my insomnia, I tried a lot of things to sleep. I’d get up because reports say the worst thing for a non-sleeper to do is to continue to not-sleep in their bed. I’d count sheep, stare at the wall, concentrate on my breathing—the works. Listening to a song on repeat sometimes helped to lull me into sleep. Occasionally, a podcast of a lengthy story told in monotone helped wear out my mind. I tried to make peace with just resting instead of sleeping, but nothing seemed to do the trick.

I’m a little bummed I hadn’t discovered ASMR yet. I’m very relaxed when I watch these videos—once I get past the breathing noises or cringe-worthy mouth noises. If I ever go through a sleepless spell again, I plan to test ASMR out on my insomniac mind. If you’re having trouble relaxing or shutting off your mind, I implore you to sit back, turn on some ASMR, and relax, relax, relax.

Megan Keane is a senior English and psychology major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at

mk[email protected].