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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Opinion

ASMR: the free cure for sleep troubles


Sleep deprivation

ASMR videos use whispers, among other sounds, to relieve stress and help with sleeplessness. | File Photo/The Cougar

A student attending a Tier One research university like UH can experience high stress, leading to sleeplessness. According to Brown University, college students worldwide are the most sleep deprived people in the country.

While college students generally cannot afford the countless sleeping medications, sleep labs, studies or ‘miracle cures’ given to help with insomnia and stress relief, there is a place on YouTube, known for a long time as ‘the Whisper Community,’ that can help relieve stress, tension and – most of all – help you fall asleep.

Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is a sensation a person experiences when they hear sounds or voices that are relaxing to them.

ASMR and relaxation videos, although considered taboo by some, are a great way to help students relax before finals or de-stress after a hard assignment. Along with millions of other ASMR viewers, students can also use the relaxing sounds from ASMR videos to help them fall asleep.

“I actually didn’t get into ASMR until this year,” said computer science junior Brandon Okezie.

“There’s two things I know almost every college student faces at least once: sleeping problems and stress, whether it’s because of endless work, studying or multiple exams in one week. I feel like ASMR could really benefit us in regards to those problems.”

While there is little current scientific evidence due to a lack of research conducted for ASMR, there is no harm in trying this new way to fall asleep. YouTube provides these videos for free. They can help you relax, make better grades and be an overall happier and healthier person.

When stressed over studying, you could pull up an ASMR video to stay sane while memorizing endless formulas.

“I don’t use it to help me fall asleep. I’ve used it as a way to relax for a bit and then get back to my day,” said nutrition senior Nicole Brandon.

Despite the positive effects many experience, ASMR has some negative connotations that influence people to stray away from the so-called ‘brain orgasm.’

“I think a lot of people experience ASMR, but they either don’t know it’s common or are embarrassed to talk about it because people might misconstrue it for something sexual, which it is not,” Brandon said.

Tricia Grace is a Houstonian and ‘ASMR-tist’ who goes by the name accidentallygraceful.

“I have used ASMR videos to help me overcome insomnia, anxiety, depression,” Grace said. “Often when I am working, I put a video on in the background and it helps me stay focused. Discovering ASMR really has changed my life.”

UH has a Sleep and Anxiety Center, and while ASMR’s popularity is growing, the clinic might be able to conduct research on this up and coming form of alternative medicine.

“I think that nearly everyone is capable of experiencing ASMR to an extent, but because ASMR is such a new term, many people are wary to accept it as a real ‘thing’,” Grace said. “Once it does have scientific evidence to back it up, people will be more open to the possibility of experiencing it.”

Opinion columnist Hannah Endicott is an education junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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