The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday October 18th

Column: Yes, you should try ASMR to relax

<p>DTH Photo Illustration. A study conducted by UNC Ph.D. student Alex Kresovich revealed an increase in references to mental health in rap music over the past two decades.</p>
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. ASMR can be helpful to people who have trouble sleeping or constantly need noise in the background.

Are you one of those people who tosses and turns until 4 a.m., no matter how early you go to sleep? Do you need constant noise in the background to concentrate? Does silence freak you out? 

ASMR might be for you.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, also known as ASMR, is the triggering of a sensation through audio and visuals, usually referred to by followers as “tingling.” Triggers include tapping, hair cutting sounds, whispering and slow movements. There hasn’t been much scientific research done on the subject, but the hordes of users on YouTube will tell you the tingles are real.

As someone who really struggles with falling asleep, the white noise ASMR provides has greatly improved my nighttime routine (once I manage to get off Instagram). 

However, when I’ve told some people what I do to help, many have found ASMR to be weird. Maybe it’s the occasional crossover with the mukbang community, or perhaps the concept of someone whispering affirmations in your ear is foreign. 

One of the individuals who makes ASMR videos, Gibi ASMR, admitted that out of context, ASMR can sound a little strange. She also pointed out that many other things taken out of context do as well. Take massages, for example. A stranger comes to you in a dark room to rub your back. Sounds strange, right?

Another issue is the casual sexualization some people have assigned to ASMR. When asked whether ASMR is inherently sexual, many content creators disagree. A popular ASMR creator, ASMR Glow, compared these statements to claiming the entirety of Hollywood films are inherently sexual because of the mere existence of the adult film industry. They’re related, but one doesn’t inherently imply the other.

I personally think the reason people judge is that they don’t understand. I don’t think an affirmation ASMR video is any different from a guided meditation. If the benefits of ASMR were to be studied more and become more mainstream, it wouldn’t be as big of a problem for people to judge.

So what is the key to ASMR? The key is to make it work for you. Gibi ASMR stated that she’s encountered a lot of people whose automatic response is “ew" when they see something ASMR-related. Her response was to just relax, and that they’re doing “something for someone somewhere who will enjoy it. If that something is not for you, then you can move along." There is no reason to judge those who find relaxation in it. 

OK, maybe you think the mouth sounds are a little weird, but you might find that it’s easy for you to enjoy tapping videos. 

But if in the end, you find that nothing out there in ASMR is for you, at least don’t judge those who genuinely find it helpful.

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