Sep 7 2017
AXA PPP healthcare has collaborated with ASMRtist WhispersRed in order to remaster its very own track, creating a new night sound that can induce relaxation, aiding in longer sleep duration and healthier sleep patterns.
ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos are one of the biggest YouTube trends, with ASMRtists getting millions of views per video. Starting in 2009 with WhisperingLife, who posted videos of herself whispering on YouTube, there are now more than 5 million videos available. Yet this unique sleep technique, as popular as it is on YouTube, many people may not yet heard of.
Unlike YouTube’s usual visual content, ASMR is predominately focused on the high definition sounds, such as paper turning, whispering voices and even preparing food. The idea being to create a calm and strong series of sounds in order to induce a tingling sensation that typically starts in the back, and moves through the body, inducing relaxation and with it, sleep.
Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare, discusses the possible reason why these sounds work:
Trying something new may be the answer to prayers, to some of us who have been stuck in what seems like a never ending cycle of not being able to sleep.
ASMR may promote feelings of relaxation, relief and, in doing so, sleep. The soft sounds and whispering associated with ASMR might be directly linked with parent and infant bonding, involving soft and caring vocal tones and focused attention, which in turn can help to create a sense of trust, closeness and emotional security, through the release of certain hormones.
These are sometimes known as the ‘bonding hormones’, or ‘love, drugs’ due to their importance when forming close friendships and relationships. ASMR can therefore induce a relaxed, safe and emotionally supported feeling in its listeners, ultimately aiding with sleep.
Research has shown 1 in 3 adults across the UK suffer from disrupted sleep – in fact Brits are reportedly getting two hours less sleep a night than they did in the 1960’s. This can lead to low levels of focus and mood swings and, more severely, sleep deprivation can be a contributing factor to in obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
“Working longer hours, watching too much television, looking at smartphones and computers well into the night all have their effect on how we sleep,” Dr Winwood continues. “Sleep has a profound effect on not only our mental wellbeing, but our physical health too. First and foremost, sleep helps prepare our brains for the next day, forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. A good night’s sleep won’t rid your life of emotional problems, but it can mean that you’re more resilient to be able to deal with difficult or stressful situations more easily. While there is an abundance of sleep therapies available, each one will work differently for each of us so it’s worth trying out different techniques to find what works for you.”
In general, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep but the exact amount varies from person to person. Different people need different amounts of sleep, and this depends on your age, your lifestyle, your genes and what you’re used to.
ASMRtist, WhispersRed, comments on her own experiences with ASMR:
The ASMR sensation is something I’ve been aware of the whole of my life. As a child I loved to have my hair played with or for my siblings to trace words on my back. It's been a life changing experience to find out there is a name for the 'tingly' feeling I have always had and that others experience it too.
Falling asleep has often been an issue for me throughout my life due to having an active mind, especially in the stillness of the night when I tend to process events. In fact it was after a car accident and subsequent sleepless nights that I found ASMR videos on YouTube. The sounds, voices and movements that triggered my lovely feeling left me so relaxed that I nodded off to sleep with no trouble at all. Even the videos that didn't happen to trigger the feeling were relaxing. The soft sounds, slow speed of speech and movements were meditative enough for me to clear my mind, slow down my heart rate so that my body could rest. Much like relaxing music but more personal and comforting. A rhythm for my mind and body to follow with the added reassurance that I am being cared for as I rest. The nurturing of a Mother at the touch of a button!