ASMR: The Sleep Revolution – Benjamin Nicholls




“Written with the need to placate a friend, sparing him a lengthy discussion, this work is a passion project I have attempted to keep laconic in order to concisely, and entertainingly, detail a vibrant new world. Prepare yourself to uncover a vista of head tingles, cohorts of whisperers and triumphant tapping.  Once exhumed, ASMR can’t be ignored. ” – Benjamin Nicholls
ASMR: The Sleep Revolution explains the tingly feeling sending you to sleep.

Insomnia to stress – people who experience the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response phenomenon claim that it cures chronic sleep deprivation. Amongst a plethora of remedies on pharmacy shelves, ASMR stands out as a natural, biological sleep aid that induces deep relaxation using only the mind.

ASMR could be your key to what we all desire – a good nights sleep.

Emerging from an internet subculture to mainstream acknowledgement, hundreds of videos are uploaded to YouTube each day in the attempts of recreating the feeling in viewers. This book delves into the booming ASMR community: addressing misconceptions, theorising origins and exploring the science behind it. 

Understand the mystery that could change the way you sleep and relax:

  • Head Orgasm?
  • Roleplays?
  • Internet Fad?
  • Neurological Origins?
  • Pseudo-science?



Benjamin Nicholls is an ASMR YouTuber, budding author, and online entrepreneur, running a YouTube channel with multiple millions of views, and a creator that utilises various forms of media to entertain and inform about the ASMR phenomenon and entrepreneurialism. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug during his school years, the growth of his online content spurred on his desire to learn, adapt and succeed in the digital sphere whilst trying to help others.

Currently a marketing undergrad, Benjamin is a voracious reader and writer, with a particular interest in digital marketing; the books he has written thus far tie into his interests and experience, offering knowledge in a (hopefully) entertaining package!

Web Site

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response?

The acronym ASMR conjures either complete bewilderment or feels very familiar. Two camps emerge when discussing ASMR: one camp are those who have a partial or non-existent knowledge about what ASMR is, and on the face of it, may see it as strange; the second camp are those who recognise ASMR and understand its nuances – for them it is a little less strange. The following chapter is predominantly intended for the former camp in order to make ASMR a little less alienating. ASMR is an acronym for autonomous sensory meridian response and, fortunately, whilst the jargon is confusing, it does not take a neurosurgeon to understand it: autonomous, meaning no conscious human control; meridian, a set of pathways in the body along which vital energy is said to flow; sensory, relating to physical sensation; and response, a reaction.

In its plainest form, ASMR is a neurological response to certain visual and audio stimuli, which create an experience that is borderline euphoric. The experience itself can be characterised by a pleasurable tingling that begins in the scalp and can descend through to the neck and the spine, although the tingling is not limited to those regions – surely there is nothing strange about that!

The use of audio to promote relaxation is not exclusive to ASMR content; people have been listening to different types of audio to wrestle from the grasp of sleeplessness for centuries. Ocean sounds and classical music continue to lull many to sleep – bizarre to think that whales and Johann Sebastian Bach achieve a common goal. More interventionist methods have also been adopted. Back in 2009, the Daily Mail ran an article titled ‘I’d hardly slept for 18 months’: How two hours of hypnosis ended my insomnia nightmare. The article explained how suggestive phrases could help a person enter a hypnotic trance that could be used to enter a deep sleep, although the results vary. Even before the digital distribution of music and hypnotherapy, children fell asleep to the sounds of a mother’s lullaby. Unlike ASMR, it can be understood how these genres of audio are commonly accepted to help someone fall asleep; soothing, calming tones allow you to clear your head and relax. Interestingly, whilst similar calm and balmy sounds also induce ASMR, the jarring aspect for people unfamiliar with it appears to be the tingling sensation.


Popularised by the tingling sensation, an equally vital component in experiencing ASMR is the trigger. The term was adopted by the ASMR community in reference to specific sounds or actions that, when performed, may induce a person’s ASMR. The word ‘trigger’ perfectly articulates the feeling one feels when ASMR occurs; for those who have ever gotten a massage, or slumped on a soft bed after hard labour, experiencing ASMR is reminiscent of the instantly felt relief – velvety and soothing. There appear to be two subsets of ASMR: type A needs no stimuli and can trigger the feeling through meditation or reflecting on a triggering moment; type B is the more traditional ASMR experience requiring stimuli.

No one trigger is the same and varies from audio to visual, quiet to loud, slow to fast. ASMR triggers can be experienced in the wider world at any moment, as will be discussed. However, as those experiences are isolated from one another, I shall be focusing on recorded ASMR (also discussed further in the book) as it is the most universal. A common trigger is either whispering or speaking softly, this is the type of trigger you are most likely to be familiar with as it is often how ASMR is introduced on non-ASMR platforms. Speaking in a gentler manner naturally encourages a person to relax and to escape the rush of the world by enjoying a slower-paced style of speech. Speaking softly is a prime example; it can stir memories of childhood when you were read a bedtime story or a teacher calmly explained a lesson. Some peoples’ earliest ASMR memories involve a teacher going over a question one to one, or a friend tracing a pencil over their palm. As Freudian as it sounds, I am not arguing that ASMR ‘develops’ as a child. I simply mean that for those who ‘rediscover’ ASMR, they are often brought back to those memories and how that calmness was induced.