So there's this thing called ASMR, it's not what it sounds like. It's a sleeping method for insomniacs.

Anna Lee  |  MY
Published 2016-03-31 11:44:21

Ah, sleep. It’s one of my best friends and there is absolutely nothing about it that I hate. I’m always reluctant to leave it behind when I have to go about my daily activities, and every evening, I anticipate its arrival and welcome it with open arms. Not many would reject sleep, but then again, not many have enough of it in the first place.

One of my 2016 resolutions was to get more rest and I’ve found a comfortable balance in 9 hours of rest. That may sound ambitious but on days when I don’t have to get up early the following day, I would happily settle for 8 or 7. Even so, I find it really hard to fall asleep on most nights. You see, my thoughts keep me awake—and I have many of them.

I would find myself rolling in bed for an hour or so before finally drifting off to sleep. It is almost something which I can anticipate nightly and as such, I would usually allocate extra time just so I could still cap my nightly rest off with enough hours to feel energised the next day. That was until recently when I discovered ASMR, and for the past two weeks, that’s how I’ve been falling asleep every night.

Sounds For The Brain

ASMR was something I had stumbled upon in the suggested videos section on YouTube. At first, I had thought nothing of it. That was until I decided to give it a go and the rest they say is “sleeps-tory”. ASMR is an abbreviation to the term autonomous sensory meridian response. In layman’s terms it would also be known as sounds that makes your brain “tingle” or ones that sound satisfyingly good, for instance the sound of paper being crumpled or pitter patters against a tabletop.

Image Credit: YouTube
Image Credit: YouTube

There are several free playlists on YouTube and a popular one which I have been listening to is made by a YouTuber whose looks won’t put anyone to sleep by a mile, but his voice just might. The channel Fred’s Voice has more than 67,000 subscribers, or perhaps 67,000 insomniacs to be exact. With Fred, you might need to turn the volume up a little, as Mister Whisper whispers out every single thing that he says—even his laughs.

I’ve showed the channel to my colleagues and they have much to comment (and laugh) about the Thor look-alike from his inaudible voice to his obvious good looks. Bottom line though is that listening to his videos does help me fall asleep faster, and wake up in a great mood because of the sufficient rest that I had the night before.

Music To My Ears

Image Credit YouTube
Image Credit YouTube

I’ve been adventurous with ASMR and have even tried listening to unintentional ASMR playlists which are essentially videos created by other content creators which happens to be narrated in a tone of voice that would send insomniacs into a deep sleep. Yes, deep sleep that would make even Sleeping Beauty jealous. Some of these videos range from math equations to assembling a bike and my favourite thus far, a chef piecing together his favourite sandwich with great enthusiasm.

Each night, I would normally curate videos into a playlist within an hour long duration, give or take. I would normally fall asleep before the playlist end, but even if I don’t, I would just turn the playlist off and almost immediately fall asleep mere minutes later, since I’m already feeling groggy.

What I like about ASMR is that it isn’t hard to attain. All one needs is a connection and a YouTube app and they would be able to drift off to sleep in no time. It might not work for everybody, but it’s worked well thus far for me. It serves as a white noise in the background and listening to the hardly audible words by the individuals in the video, I had no room in the space of my mind to entertain my own thoughts, which are often times lengthy and unnecessary in the first place.

Whatever Helps You Sleep (At Night)

Image Credit: YouTube
Image Credit: YouTube

I’ve pitted ASMR against rain sounds to see which worked better and as much as rain sounds are calming and simulates a small storm right outside my window, I will still choose ASMR hands down. Somehow, my mind just gets attuned to the sound of white noise floating around my room, that I welcome it now every night.

In a world where everything is moving so quickly and sights and sounds bombard our every thought, it’s nice to be able to fall asleep without the flurry of my own thoughts preventing me from that. I take it as listening to someone else’s conversations rather than my own, and I realised from this very contemplation that falling asleep to the chitter chatter of other people, be it friends or strangers, is good too.

In the future, I would hope to be able to fall asleep with a snap of a finger. Those who can already do so, have no idea what luxury they have. But at the end of the day, I guess it falls back to “whatever helps you sleep at night” and for now, ASMR sounds like a good fit—all puns intended.

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