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The new way to study: how ASMR can improve life


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ASMR can help improve your life in so many ways, including improving your ability to study, get to sleep and relax. 

You've probably heard of ASMR in recent months - to say the craze has 'swept the nation' might be a bit strong, but it's certainly gone from 'weird corner of YouTube' to being (perhaps reluctantly) taken up by celebrities like Cara Delevingne and Ashley Graham. ASMR videos usually take a sound like quietly scratching or tapping on an object, and deliver these binaurally to your headphones. Autonomous sensory meridian response - ASMR - is, put simply, the art of producing brain-gasms.

Sure, sticking your headphones in and listening to someone crinkling a plastic bag and whispering closely into a microphone might be a bit odd by most people's standards. But once you find your perfect 'trigger' - the kind of sound or visual effect that works for you - ASMR can be really relaxing, and you might even get some tingles out of it.

Some people say they first discovered their ability to experience ASMR when someone did something simple like drawing or tracing patterns on their skin, or when they watched someone neatly unpacking. These simple actions produce a tingling sensation in the body, such as at the back of the skull, and can reportedly help with everything from studying to insomnia. A recent study found that 81% of its participants preferred to listen to ASMR before sleeping, and 80% said their mood changed positively after experiencing ASMR.

So, what can ASMR do for you? It's important to find what works on a personal level - you might hate certain sounds and love others, or find the whole experience too bizarre for words. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that centre around finding your own triggers, and others that zero in on individual sounds once you've found what you like. You'll also figure out the best time to plug in - if you feel ASMR increases your productivity, you could listen to it when reading or revising. If you're having trouble sleeping, stick some ASMR on at bedtime.

Of course, it's not a cure-all. Barratt and Davis found in their study that ASMR, despite its alleged benefits, had no effect on chronic pain. If you're looking for a pick-me-up, though, and your favourite music isn't working - well, you don't know until you try!

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