ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response if you prefer the fancier term, is everywhere right now.
Your social media feeds are probably full of people talking about their favorite triggers. YouTube is loaded with vloggers trying to find the sound that will send them into a state of bliss.
If you’re still searching for that infamous tingling sensation, look no further. Here, we break down 28 of the most common triggers and why they work.
WhisperingOne of the most common ASMR triggers, gentle whispering can result in feelings of calmness and relaxation, as a recent studyTrusted Source noted.
Some say the simple sound, which involves someone whispering slowly into a microphone, can also help with sleep issues.
BlowingBlowing sounds create a similar effect to whispering. Resembling a gentle wind, this popular ASMR trigger can send you off to a good night’s sleep.
ScratchingScratching can be a slightly controversial ASMR trigger. Although popular, it can rub some people the wrong way.
But if you’re into the sound of someone scratching metal, plastic, or even their nails directly across a microphone, you’re likelyTrusted Source to experience a tingling, calming sensation. Sometimes, you may even feel excited.
TappingTapping is similar to the above ASMR triggers. It usually involves the sounds of nails tapping on various surfaces, including glass and wood, and promotes relaxation.
Page turningRepetitive sounds are included in the top five most popular triggers, according to one 2015 studyTrusted Source. Page turning certainly falls into that category.
The soft, crinkling noises that newspapers, magazines, and books make can reportedly soothe symptoms of anxiety and leave you feeling super calm.
WritingWriting sounds can provoke a strong tingling sensation. Some say they can also send a person to sleep.
ASMR video creators often opt for one of two tools: pens that produce a scratchy sound or softer pencils.
TypingTyping ASMR can either send you to sleep or assist with concentration. Often, different keyboards are used to create varying sounds. Acrylic nails can heighten the sensations.
CrinklingSimilar to page turning, listening to the crinkling of paper or plastic sounds can elicit relaxation, helping you de-stress.
HummingFor some, the sound of a person humming is an annoyance. For others, it acts like a nighttime lullaby. You’ll have to figure out which side of the fence you fall on.
BuzzingBuzzing triggers are usually created by electric items, such as razors.
Some of these vibrating sounds can be gentle enough for a soothing experience. Others are a little more aggressive. Of course, this is still seen as relaxing by some people.
ChewingWhen it comes to chewing ASMR videos, you either love them or hate them.
There’s some crossover between this trigger and the Korean concept of mukbang: an interactive eating experience where the eater films themselves consuming large quantities of food, and viewers respond.
But eating ASMR focuses more on the sounds that emanate from someone’s mouth, whether that’s loud and crunchy or soft and slurpy.
Sticky fingersA soft tone that’s often pleasurable to listen to, sticky fingers ASMR is exactly what it sounds like.
People either place their fingers on sticky objects like tape or use a substance like honey to “stick” their fingers to the microphone.
Water dropsWhether it’s simple droplets or fizzing noises, the natural sound of water can be incredibly relaxing.
In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it can even improve sleep quality if you leave it on all night.
Ticking clockThe repetition of a ticking clock sounds rather natural to the brain. If you need some help sleeping or studying, this could be the ASMR trigger for you.
Motor hummingListening to the humming motor of a vehicle can soothe some people and intensely irritate others. It’s all about personal choice.
Cat purringCat purring is an oddly soothing sound. With the ability to relax and cause a nice shut-eye session, it’s one of the cutest ASMR triggers around.
Some people like them because they feel like they’re inside the video with the ASMR creator, heightening the sensations.
Ear brushingMakeup brushes make the perfect ear brushing ASMR technique. Whether it’s a small eyeshadow brush, a larger Kabuki design, or even the bristles of a shaving brush, the sounds can be super calming to listen to.
Hair playHaving your hair played with is relaxing in real life, so it makes sense that watching and listening to it can provoke the same response.
Hair play ASMR involves a number of tools, from fingers running through strands to the bristles of hair brushes.
MassageWatching someone massage another person can result in the typical ASMR tingles — whether it’s a deep head massage or a back massage involving oil.
Certain wordsInterestingly, some words can trigger a sleepy ASMR response.
Words with the letters S, P, and K tend to be used (and whispered) due to the calming sounds they produce.
But some words can remind you of a past memory, prompting positive feelings.
Personal attentionTo relieve stress and ensure a good night’s sleep, personal attention ASMR videos can help.
The creator makes direct eye contact with the camera, placing their hands near the lens as if they were touching your face. They also speak in a relaxing and welcoming tone.
Role-playRole-play ASMR involves putting yourself front and center in a typically relaxing scenario. Think hair salon or spa and you’re on the right track.
However, some acts involve more niche environments, like a mock tattoo parlor or surgery. No matter which one you choose, they’re all designed to de-stress.
Eye contactThis ASMR trigger is all about long-lasting direct eye contact, giving viewers a sense of intimacy and companionship.
Hand movementsA lot of ASMR videos incorporate hand movements into another trigger like whispering. But the soft and gentle movement alone can relax and send you to sleep.
Watching someone concentrateWatching someone paint or study can invoke a tingling and calming ASMR response. This is because they combine several common triggers, including brushing noises and soft speaking.
Color swatchingSoft sounds are what color swatching ASMR is all about. Beauty fans are sure to fall for this one with its makeup focus. The product reviews are just a bonus.
Paint mixingWatching paint dry may be mind-numbingly boring, but watching it mix? Well, that’s a different story. In fact, it can even trigger a tingling, calming sensation.
And if combined with whispering and gentle noises, you can expect an even more powerful response.
Light patternsAlthough certain light sources are known to interfere with sleep, the relaxation that light ASMR promotes appears to block this effect.
So, if you’re looking for a soundless way to de-stress at night, try watching a light-up video.
But plenty of people describe tingles running through the backs of their heads and spines — as well as feelings of relaxation and peace — when listening to or watching their personal triggers.
Back in 2012, one neurologist wondered whether ASMR could be a sign of a mini pleasurable seizure. Alternatively, he hypothesized that certain sounds were simply a way of activating the brain’s pleasure response.
Although no one is sure of the process, a couple of studies have examined the benefits of these self-reported feelings.One study, published in PeerJ in 2015, determined that ASMR can result in a short-term improvement in symptoms of chronic pain and depression.
A more recent studyTrusted Source claimed to be the first to show the emotional changes caused by ASMR.
Participants who experienced ASMR exhibited a significant increase in positive emotions and feelings of social connection. They also demonstrated significantly reduced heart rates.
Currently, though, ASMR remains very much a mystery.