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What Is ASMR?

The Weird Thing That Makes Me Fall Asleep Every Night

Fun fact about me: I'm the lightest sleeper in the history of sleepers. I hear every creak of the floorboard, every flush of the toilet, every honk of a distant horn. I wake up whenever my boyfriend turns over or kicks the bed while he's in la-la land. Sometimes I drift back to my dreams easily — other times, not so much.

Enter GentleWhispering, aka a YouTube channel in which a soft-speaking, placid blonde woman named Maria strokes hairbrushes, taps random surfaces, folds towels, caresses clothing, and crinkles paper. Often, she does these things in the form of roleplay, which (believe it or not) isn't sexual. The point of the seemingly random, abitrary, or strange movements of Maria's videos? A physical sensation known as ASMR.

So what is ASMR? For those who aren't familiar, the Washington Post explains it well: ". . . [Maria's] voice and movements hold a certain magic: they can instill tranquillity, overcome insomnia — and induce a mysterious physical sensation known as autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, wherein the body is flooded with waves of euphoric tingles."

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And while I only "tingle" along my spine on rare occasions (and yes, it feels amazing!), Maria's soothing voice and tender motions do put me to sleep just about every night. You know when you're getting a soft massage, or someone plays with your hair, and your eyes glaze over in a sort of hypnotic trance? That's exactly how I feel when I'm watching GentleWhispering or ASMRRequests (another great channel!). It's my form of meditation. It's the ultimate therapy and shut-eye medication, and believe me, I've tried over-the-counter pills.

So if you find snoozing stressful, for whatever reason, try opening yourself up to the concept of ASMR. You, too, may soon become one of the thousands of devoted fans.

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