Maybe a Little Relaxation

Photo of a lit candle against a dark background.

Look, we’re living in stressful times. It doesn’t matter who you are. With issues like the economy, inflation, mass layoffs, mass shootings, political tensions, threats of war, and natural disasters linked to climate change (just to name a few), there’s a scary headline suited to your specific anxieties.

So, maybe a little relaxation?

I often have a hard time quieting my brain at night. When my daily work and fun is done and I’m supposed to be winding down, I’m just…not. Instead, I’m turning all of those worries and anxieties over and over in my brain. “Nothing to lose sleep over.” Oh, my friend! I can lose sleep over what I’m having for breakfast. And if it’s too late, I generally don’t take sleep medications because I don’t want to feel groggy from them in the morning.

I was discussing this with a friend who told me that she usually falls asleep to ASMR videos on YouTube, and I admit that I had to covertly Google “ASMR”. Wikipedia to the rescue:

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a tingling sensation that usually begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. A pleasant form of paresthesia, it has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia and may overlap with frisson.”

Oh! Yeah! I know what that is! What I didn’t know until I went to YouTube and searched “ASMR videos” was that there are tons of content creators who specialize in making videos to tingle you into relaxation and help you fall asleep fast. I’ve got a few favorites that trigger tingles and relaxation, but I’ve found that when it comes to sleeping, videos mimicking the spa environment work best for me. My current go to is: The Healing Room ASMR. My eyelids usually get pretty heavy about 15 minutes into one of these videos.

In exploring ASMR for sleep, I stumbled into the world of sleep stories, and guided meditations/sleep hypnosis to try and maintain a sense of calm in the waking hours. I’m not always as successful with sleep stories and guided meditations because my mind is sometimes like a really loud beehive and it’s difficult to focus on the story/meditation. (When that’s the case, I relax with a quick ASMR first, and then move to stories/meditation.)  For sleep stories, I’m trying out MindRest. For guided meditations and sleep hypnosis, I like Michael Sealy.

Now that I’ve explored this stuff on YouTube and found that it actually helps and isn’t just techno snake oil, it may be time to try out the sleep apps.

If you have a favorite sleep app, feel free to drop it in the comments.

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