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“ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it refers to a phenomenon which is very difficult to explain to those that do not experience it. It is usually experienced through a relaxing 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.” ~ASMRLab.com

Lately, I’ve been listening to things that produce ASMR for me to help me sleep (in addition to the sleep medication I’m already taking).

Quite a long time ago, when I was working with 3-year-old children, many times, a couple of them wanted to read a book to me. Of course, they couldn’t quite read yet, and the books they picked out were always far beyond their years in comprehension. Nevertheless, they read their books to me. One of them, Thomas, would sit next to me, reading the book aloud to me (whilst looking down at each page as if he were really reading to the book itself). Thomas had a bit of a lisp at the time. He may have outgrown it now. He would turn the page every now and then, sometimes quizzing me for my own comprehension. So many times, though, I would immediately fall into what I called at the time a “zone”. It was this sort of transcendental state of mind that completely relaxed me, my eyelids rolling down heavy like the wooden cover on a roll-top desk. I never understood why I had that reaction.

Then a few months ago, my aunt was giving my uncle a face massage. He was in the hospital, and she was just wanting to help him sleep because he’d been a bit agitated. I sat in a chair in the corner of his hospital room, watching her talk to his nurse while still giving him a facial massage the entire time. And again, that meditative, relaxing feeling washed over me like warm water being poured slowing onto the top of your head.

As a writer, I haven’t wanted to write about this “hooey” because it just seems hokey, as some friends of mine from the southern US would say. How on earth could watching my aunt give my uncle a facial massage have the same effect on me that a three-year-old did when he was “reading” a book to me?

After the incident with my aunt giving my uncle a facial massage, I decided one night, when I couldn’t sleep, to search YouTube for someone else giving someone a facial massage. Sure enough, there were a ton of video results. So each night, I usually listen to one of them or more. I started noticing that ASMR popped up in so many of these videos, that finally, tonight, I looked up what it really is. Apparently, not all people have a reaction to these “triggers” (sounds or motions I should say).

I’m just glad I know a name that might fit this kind of phenomenon. It’s the cheapest sleep therapy ever.

And it puts me in a great state of mind to write.