Rustling Paper May Help You Relax

Get this! There are over 2.6 million “relaxing” videos online of women and men whispering, tapping their fingers, folding towels, rustling paper, brushing fake fur, pretending to cut hair, and slowly sorting through baseball cards.

I checked out some of these videos—highlighted in a recent New York Times article The Compelling World of ASMR..

I was captivated.

And bored….

It seemed very bizarre…and kinda stupid…to have a video showing just the hands of a woman whispering instructions on how to fold towels. Yet I kept wanting to watch, even after my mind had given up on finding any meaning.Why do these videos work? Maybe they are so mundane, we’re lulled into serenity. Or they might remind us of a childhood experience.

But it’s a good possibility they might trigger a neurological response.

Relaxing tingle through the body

These videos were initially designed for people who have autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). For them, certain sounds and images cause a relaxing sensory tingling traveling over the scalp and other parts of the body.ASMR has been linked to synesthesia–characterized by the blurring of one sense into another.

For example, people with synesthesia may see a color or sense a taste associated with a certain word. I have a little of that—2 is absolutely yellow, 3 is blue, 4 is green, 5 is red.

Why do so many like these videos?

Turns out, when I watched the folding towels video, I did have a subtle relaxing tingle sensation, though I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t read the article….But I might not have a little ASMR, because these videos are quite popular. They might work for just plain overloaded people (that would be most of us).

“ASMR videos seem to be a variation on finding ways to shut your brain down,” says sleep disorders specialist at Columbia University, Dr. Carl W. Bazil.

He says this can be especially helpful for people in the hyper-arousal state of insomnia.

Could be worth a try for you, before you head to bed.

–Wishing you restful nights,
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