As a full time student at Texas A&M International University, I always find myself awake studying late hours preparing myself for a test or writing a twelve page paper the night before it’s due. Evidently, my sleep schedule gets extremely unbalanced because of this. I have never been a huge fan of taking medicine to help me sleep and have struggled with sleep almost all my life. It seems that by mere accident I found a solution many years ago on a date I can’t even remember.
I stumbled upon YouTube videos that all had ASMR in the title which I was extremely drawn to for a reason I couldn’t fully understand or explain during this time. But soon enough, my first encounters with ASMR dawned on me and I eventually googled what exactly ASMR means.
ASMR is an acronym for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. According to an article on asmrlab.com the ASMR experience is usually a, “tingling in the scalp and the back of the neck and can extend into the rest of the body…it is a very calming sensation that washes over you”. This suddenly made so much more sense to me and brought me back to a moment when I was younger and was extremely drawn the children’s show “Blue’s Clues” show when I was already in high school! See, in “Blue’s Clues”, the host of the show is pretending he is talking to an audience which isn’t really there. This gives the illusion that you’re actually being talked to and are getting attention in a subtle, calming way. This sort of, “zone out” moment I was having with “Blue’s Clues” episodes was my first experience with ASMR. But as a high school student, this ASMR experience was something I could not necessarily comprehend. The soft speech, the slight crackling of notebook paper, and the sounds of pencil on paper: these were all moments in which I experienced the most ASMR.
It is a phenomenon indeed, as it’s so difficult to explain unless it is experienced by oneself. It has been suggested that not everyone is susceptible to such sensations. I feel lucky that I fall into the category that can. ASMR was a strange revelation that came into my life even though it was always there; not unnoticed but incomprehensible. My YouTube searches for ASMR grew and sooner or later I became addicted to watching and listening to these vides every night before bed. It was sensational, literally. My sleep improved so much and I was finally able to snooze peacefully. ASMR soon became my adult life lullaby.
Soon into in my ASMR journey that I found that ASMR can also, oddly, be used for study. Not only are some ASMR YouTuber’s entirely focused on producing their videos on mini-ASMR-history lessons, like the French Whisperer, but there is also countless hours of ASMR trigger videos intended to improve the outcome of an individual study session. Anything from an hour long crinkle paper sounds experience to role play haircuts is available. I found I was a big fan of white noise or inaudible whispering to help me concentrate on reading books and writing essays. At times I couldn’t fathom the fact that sounds so simple could benefit me so much in the long; yet it is rather endearing to know that it’s the simple things that really matter.
I share this story to in fact encourage students at TAMIU to invest their time in researching ASMR, as it may benefit the amount of time you sleep and the amount of focus during a study session. ASMR is a phenomenon that is only recently starting to become more popular within YouTube but is a community that has greatly expanded through the past few years. As a student, finding something that can benefit me in two very important daily tasks (sleeping and studying), it is extremely endearing to know that ASMR can be something I can rely on as long as I have a computer and a WiFi connection.