As the world is adapting to our new normal, many of us are sleeping fewer hours or a lot less than before. However, we must all find ways to cope with the ever-changing weals and woes of our new and surreal everyday life.
Products to help us sleep definitely aren’t lacking, but what other ways can we ease ourselves into a quality 8 hour snooze? Well, using nature sleep sounds to wind down and relax can be a great way to help yourself drift off to sleep.
“How can noise and sounds help me relax?” I hear you ask? Well, there are many ways that sound can help you fall asleep and even reduce anxiety And it’s all through a phenomenon called ASMR.
What is ASMR?
‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’ is the scientific term for what is known as ASMR. Nature sounds, spraying water, people eating, as well as tapping on surfaces are all included in this phenomenon, which has taken off in recent years on platforms like Youtube, and is described by Sleep.org as “[...] a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that can come over someone when he or she watches certain videos or hears certain sounds.”
Although there isn’t any solid scientific research undertaken about this phenomenon, Neurologica Blog has provided a possible explanation as to why it may occur. It says, “Perhaps ASMR is a type of seizure. Seizures can sometimes be pleasurable, and can be triggered by these sorts of things. Or, ASMR could just be a way of activating the pleasure response. Vertebrate brains are fundamentally hardwired for pleasure and pain — for positive and negative behavioral feedback.”
ASMR triggers come in many different forms and can be split into four trigger categories; sound, physical, situational and visual.
Let’s consider sound, particularly sounds and triggers that we find in nature.
The Triggers Found In Nature
ASMR sleep triggers include an array of noises, but are usually soft sounds such as whispering, blowing, scratching, tapping and even chewing.
The main trigger sounds that we see replicated in nature include beautiful animal calls, sounds of heavy rain, flowing waterfalls, crunching of autumn leaves on the forest floor and trees dancing in the breeze. Are you feeling relaxed yet? If this is your kind of thing, why not try Forest Bathing?
Forest Bathing: Nature's Own ASMR
Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-yoku as it is traditionally known, is when a person fully immerses themselves in forest or jungle sounds and engages in various mindfulness exercises. Even though the exercise is called ‘Forest Bathing’, it can be adapted to include various other sounds to create a more Jungle-like environment.
Forest Bathing was developed by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982. It was developed to encourage people to make contact with and take in the atmosphere of a forest, resulting in an improved state of mental and physical relaxation. Headspace says,
“The cognitive response to the sounds of nature have been shown to result in increased productivity, improved overall mood, and deeper relaxation. For decades, people have been retreating to nature for a sense of calmness and clarity. Whether that is the beach, mountains, rainforest or desert, the sounds of water, wind blowing through the trees, animals like crickets and birds, and other nature-like tones have comforted mankind for many years. While many of us don’t have the same access to a long-term daily connection with nature as our ancestors once did, the ability to utilize relaxing nature music can certainly help reap its great benefits.”
There are many free resources for jungle themed ASMR sounds such as BBC Earth and Netflix’s One Planet, which can both be found on YouTube. They provide hours of listening to calming jungle and nature sounds.
You can also find apps and other paid services that provide relaxation sounds for sleep. These can be really effective and are definitely worth the extra money as they improve wellbeing and sleep.
So, How Does ASMR Actually Help Us Sleep?
The University of Sheffield says:
“In the first study of its kind into the physiological underpinnings of ASMR, researchers from the University of Sheffield found that those who experience the phenomenon had significantly reduced heart rates while watching ASMR videos compared to people who do not experience ASMR.”
Reduced heart rate and complete relaxation are perfect conditions for bedtime, this is why ASMR is a recommended practice when someone is struggling to sleep.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for all people. Some people find ASMR claustrophobic and strange, whereas others struggle to imagine themselves in certain environments, making experiencing ASMR extremely difficult.
If you’re one of the lucky people who are able to experience ASMR, why not try introducing some nature sounds to your evening routine? Escape from your busy life, and enter a tranquil space to prepare yourself for some quality shut eye.
When it comes to the best ASMR for sleep, everyone has their own preferences and different sounds influence people in different ways. However, in general, the most popular ASMR sounds for sleep include; ocean waves, rustling leaves, steady rain, heartbeats, animal calls, as well as thunder.
You can find out what the best ASMR for sleep is for you, by researching all the different types of noises and frequencies we can hear. Check out our blog post, Pink Noise vs White Noise: Which Helps You Sleep Best? to find out more.
Is ASMR Safe For Children?
ASMR is a fairly new thing, so if you’re only just being introduced to it, you might find yourself asking whether ASMR is safe. And more specifically, is it safe for children?
“Generally, yes. In a sample of 155K+ ASMR videos, OpenSlate found fewer than 3% flagged for any kind of safety and suitability concerns. The content is largely vlog-style tapping, chewing, and other auditory delights for relaxation.”
ASMR can be integrated into children’s bedtime stories quite easily. Imagine reading Michael Rosen’s ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ with ASMR sounds like swishing long grass and the flow of a river.
You could even try a whole new bedroom routine. Tuck your little one up in one of our exciting treehouse beds and snuggle up and experience an ASMR bedtime story together!
Give ASMR a Try
We believe that everyone deserves a good night's sleep, and by including ASMR in your bedtime routine, you just might get one! You could even make your bedroom into a jungle paradise by having a read of our blog, How to Create Your Child A Jungle Themed Bedroom.