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ASMR Sleep: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Blog Sleep & Wellness
ASMR Sleep: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Sleepytime teas and melatonin supplements may have failed you, but listening to quiet, soothing sounds might just have you sleeping like a baby. In theory, having someone whisper in your ear might seem like a strange solution to sleepless nights, but for some people, the ASMR sleep method works better than a sleeping pill.

Soft sounds, whether that’s whispering, tapping, crinkling, or raindrops, can elicit what’s known as an autonomous sensory meridian response.

ASMR sleep, and the concept as a whole, is so sought-after that millions of popular videos on YouTube are devoted to evoking this blissful tingling sensation. Some ASMR videos even feature celebrities, so you can listen to Jake Gyllenhaal popping bubble wrap and Margot Robbie pouring a glass of champagne.

The world of ASMR is vast and varied. Here, we dive deeper to understand how ASMR can help you sleep and the science behind its positive effects.

Table of Contents

What Is ASMR?

If you’ve come across videos of Bob Ross’ painting videos and found it strangely entrancing, then you’ve likely experienced the euphoric effects of ASMR without even realizing it.

ASMR refers to the pleasure you derive from certain visual or auditory stimuli. These sounds and sights are referred to as “triggers” and can encompass various ordinary activities, such as pages turning, eating, humming, or even specific words.

Most people describe the effects of ASMR as a tingling feeling that starts at the scalp and works its way down the body. This response can be deeply relaxing, so ASMR is often used to manage stress, anxiety and even aid sleep.

Discussion surrounding ASMR first popped up on a forum thread in 2007, which was titled “Weird sensation feels good.” The thread received over 300 replies. Jennifer Allen, one of the participants, later coined the term autonomous sensory meridian response to describe the feeling. Previously, ASMR went by several other terms, including head tingles and attention-induced euphoria.

Ever since ASMR became an established term, more and more people began creating videos. According to a 2016 Think with Google report, a high-ranking ASMR video can easily get more than 16 million views. More and more creators have emerged, and today, you can find an ASMR video for almost anything, including people eating bars of raw honeycomb and an ASMR spa roleplay.

The Science Behind ASMR: How Does It Work?

The Science Behind ASMR: How Does It Work? | Puffy

Because ASMR is a fairly recent emergence, research about the topic and the exact science of how it works is relatively limited. It’s also worth noting that ASMR doesn’t work for everyone. Some people feel the tingles associated with ASMR after listening to certain sounds or watching some sights, but others simply aren’t affected by these triggers or feel repulsed. For example, ASMR videos of someone making scratching sounds on a table might be relaxing to some viewers and aggravating to others.

Though not everyone might benefit from the positive effects of ASMR, it is nonetheless a real phenomenon. Researchers have even tried to understand why some people experience ASMR and others don’t. One 2016 study indicates that those who experience ASMR form slightly different neural pathways than those who don’t.

Another study noted a link between ASMR and synesthesia, a neurological condition in which information that’s meant to stimulate one sense has an impact on multiple senses. For example, a person with synesthesia may find that listening to their favorite song isn’t just pleasing to the ears; they can also visualize its color or feel tingles run down their spine. Those who experience synesthesia can perceive the things they hear, see, taste, or smell in color or other abstract concepts.

Yet another study that examined ASMR personality traits found that participants with ASMR scored high on a personality domain referred to as Openness-to-Experience.

Openness-to-Experience is an indicator of curiosity, fantasy, unconventionality, and artistic or aesthetic tendencies. Though more research is required to substantiate the link, the study suggests that an individual’s personality can influence whether or not they experience ASMR.

The Link Between ASMR & Sleep

The Link Between ASMR & Sleep

For many people, ASMR sleep videos are a way to relax before bedtime and fall asleep. But the key is to find the ASMR sleep videos that work for you based on your interests. While some may find videos of space soothing, others may prefer the quiet sounds of a library.

After you find a video that feels soothing to you, all you need to do is curl up on the most comfortable bed and take a few deep breaths to feel calm. ASMR sleep videos can almost be meditative, which is why they’ve become such a popular remedy for anxious and restless nights. ASMR can also activate areas of the brain associated with relaxation by releasing dopamine and endorphins. Here are some ways ASMR videos can help you get better sleep.

Relieve stress

Stress is one of the main reasons why people struggle to fall asleep. Whether you suffer from sleep anxiety or just find yourself fretting over the most minor things while you’re in bed, increased cortisol levels can elevate your heart rate and keep you up even longer.

If you feel the tingles and relaxation associated with ASMR, then watching or listening to videos can help you lower your heart rate and prepare you for sleep. ASMR sleep videos can also activate areas of the brain associated with relaxation by releasing dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins, which is why watching ASMR videos may help you relieve stress.

Pain relief

Some studies have shown that ASMR sleep videos can be effective at treating chronic pain. Chronic pain and insomnia often go hand in hand. The majority of people who suffer from chronic pain also have trouble sleeping.

Studies have shown that people who experienced chronic pain reported feeling relief because of ASMR. This relief lasted for several hours, which suggests that watching ASMR videos before going to bed can ease the symptoms of pain and help you get a good night’s sleep.

Improves mood

One of the main reasons people enjoy ASMR videos is because they can have a positive impact on mood.

Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders can severely derail sleep. But several studies have shown that people who experience anxiety and depression seem to feel at least temporarily uplifted after experiencing ASMR, and it’s not hard to understand why. Even before the term ASMR was coined, people often discussed the euphoric yet inexplicable feeling they got from hearing specific sounds.

If you experience the effects of ASMR and find an ASMR sleep video that you can resonate with, then it’s likely that you may notice an improvement in your mood when you watch it or hear the sounds.

Other Ways To Improve Your Sleep Quality

ASMR sleep videos alone may not necessarily be effective at helping you get a good night’s rest. To ensure you’re getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep, it’s essential to practice healthy sleep hygiene habits. Here are some other ways you can improve the quality of your sleep.

1. Maintain consistency

To achieve consistency, you need to create a routine you can follow. One of the most effective ways to reset your sleep schedule and improve your sleep quality is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Though you might feel the urge to sleep in longer on the weekend, try not to hit the snooze button for longer than an hour.

Following a bedtime routine can be challenging at first, especially if you’re not used to it, but the trick is to start small and set achievable goals. For instance, if you’re a night owl and struggle to fall asleep early, don’t set a bedtime for 9:30 p.m. Instead, set a more realistic goal that still allows you to get sufficient sleep.

2. Take time to unwind

If you’ve never managed to get into the habit of practicing meditation or some form of mindfulness every evening, then turn to an ASMR sleep playlist.

Regardless of the kind of day you’ve had, it’s important to take some time for yourself to properly unwind every evening. This way, you can clear your mind of the day’s stresses and prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.

3. Cool down

Your thermostat can influence your sleep more than you realize. It’s tough to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep if your room is too hot or cold.

Most sleep experts agree that the optimal temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, your room should be on the cooler side because it’s easier to fall asleep when your body temperature decreases.


If you’re experiencing restless nights, ASMR sleep videos might just help you relax and fall asleep. However, it’s important to note that ASMR sleep videos are likely to be more effective when paired with good sleep hygiene habits.

Your Turn...

Does ASMR helps you sleep? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.

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