Just imagine the frustration of being so exhausted, and yet not being able to fall asleep. That classic “tired but wired” sensation which undoubtedly keeps you up, tossing and turning, feeling hopeless with every passing minute. Well, that was the “norm” for the majority of my adult life. With age, we naturally take on more responsibilities and deal with more stressors, and sometimes that leads to bouts of insomnia.
Like many people, I deal with anxiety. One of my triggers happens to be lack of sleep. So when I don’t get quality sleep, I tend to have more anxiety during the day. This leads me into a horrible cycle of dreading the next night, wondering if I’ll have insomnia again, which keeps me up throughout the night. Then the cycle starts all over again the next day, all without fail. Sound familiar?
According to the American Sleep Association, 50–70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder, with insomnia being the most common one. All in all, a lot of people are losing sleep, and I was one of those people. I was desperate for a solution when I discovered ASMR.
What is ASMR?
ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a term coined to describe the calming and tingling feelings one gets from certain visuals and sounds. The ASMR “triggers” can be anything from running a brush slowly through hair, gently tapping fingernails on a hard surface, someone whispering a story, to towels being folded methodically. The feeling can be equated to that of having goosebumps, but primarily on just one’s scalp. There are many different ways to experience the phenomenon of ASMR, yet not everyone can experience it. I have also tried several other ways to help with my insomnia, but nothing has worked as well as ASMR videos.
What happened when I tried ASMR for insomnia
Even though there isn’t much solid research yet on the positive effects of ASMR, more and more people (including people with PTSD) are experiencing benefits that have improved their quality of life. Thankfully, it has helped me fall asleep much faster. As soon as I find myself awake longer than 30 minutes, I’ll put an ASMR YouTube video on my phone and watch it while lying down. This enables the “volume button” on my thoughts to dial way back, which then allows my body to relax and my parasympathetic nervous system to take the wheel. Detaching from my overactive brain while also experiencing the comfortable sensations of ASMR ultimately helps me drift off into a restful slumber.
That’s not to say that having a healthy, solid sleep routine isn’t crucial. I am an avid fan of sleep hygiene tips. Here are some that I live by…
Sleep Hygiene Tips
- Utilize a sound machine to block out sounds, especially loud neighbors.
- Invest in black-out curtains to keep the room as dark as possible.
- Don’t keep the TV in bedrooms because it can be overstimulating.
- Use lavender essential oil to invoke feelings of relaxation and serenity.
- Turn on low light lamps (or salt lamps) to create a calm ambience and helps to stimulate melatonin production.
- Journal before bed to release any lingering to-do lists, or just to let go of anything from the day.
Although I would highly recommend not being on your phone at night, that would prevent you from using ASMR videos to help you fall sleep. Instead, I have invested in blue-blocker glasses that protect my eyes from the light emitted from screens, but still allows melatonin production. I also put my phone on airplane mode so no one (or notification) disturbs me while I decompress.
You owe it to yourself to make your night routine work for you.
See for yourself if ASMR videos are a tool that can help you fall asleep at night. I’m so glad I discovered them, because now I am no longer fearful of nightfall. For those of you who are curious to see if you do experience ASMR, just go to YouTube and type in ASMR and you’ll find a variety of videos. If that’s too overwhelming, start with an ASMRtist who has been making quality videos on YouTube for several years. You can find her channel here. She is my absolute favorite!
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Photo: Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash; Gregory Pappas on Unsplash