Do you spend half the night tossing and turning, dreaming of a good night’s sleep? If yes, you’re not alone. Roughly 1 in 10 Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, and now some are finding relief in an unexpected place; the internet.
Ilse Blansert is a sleep whisperer and part of an exploding online phenomenon known as ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Blansert creates and posts online videos of her whispering, tapping on book covers, and gently rearranging crayons with the goal of putting her viewers to sleep.
But what exactly is ASMR? Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is characterized as a pleasurable tingling sensation in the scalp in response to visual, auditory, or cognitive stimuli that often helps people feel more relaxed and thereby, able to fall asleep.
Blansert describes why she thinks people are so interested in watching her pour water into a glass or gently run her fingers over a brush, “I think . . . it has to do with the combination of sounds and voices. It’s a calming relaxing voice because if it’s too fast you don’t really have a chance to experience those tingles.”
Those “tingles” are generating Blansert millions of clicks.
Emily Hansen, like many Americans suffers from occasional sleepless nights but is hesitant to using traditional sleep aids, “I couldn’t sleep and was just thinking about so many things going on my life. I just wanted to relax. I didn’t want to have a glass of wine . . . I didn’t want to take a sleeping pill.”
Hansen says Ilse Blansert’s ASMR videos have been the key to her conquering her insomnia, “it was one of the most euphoric experiences I’ve ever felt . . . I was hooked. My eyes get heavy, my brain relaxes so much and I just fall asleep. I mean, I just conk out.”
ABC’s Linsey Davis asked Ilse Blansert if it’s possible for people to watch so many videos they become addicted to ASMR. Blansert says while watching ASMR videos isn’t addictive in the same way as nicotine, “You can become addicted in the sense that you really want to watch it every night.”
But Blansert warns, “If you give yourself an over-kill of those types of sounds you’ll become immune to it, which basically means that if you watch the video, you aren’t going to experience tingles anymore.”
For people struggling to find a new way to fall asleep, the answer may be just one click away.