How can I feel tingly with ASMR

To fall asleep, he needs Maria's gentle whisper. A few breathtaking words, so close, as if he could feel her breath, her lips on his ear. In the evening in bed, the Berlin lawyer Tim Neumann * puts on headphones, starts one of Maria's internet videos and closes his eyes. Only then does he slip into sleep.

Paula Wert from Linz discovered Maria's YouTube channel in the second semester of her mechanical engineering degree. Check it out, push your concentration, a colleague had advised her. First she had declared him and the films of the barbie-blonde Russian woman crazy. But then she clicked on the clips where Maria is ironing. The sound of hot iron gliding over soft fabric is better than any background music for learning, she says today.

It is sounds of banal simplicity that Maria, 30, enthuses more than 500,000 subscribers around the globe with, sounds that thousands like Wert and Neumann rave about in forums. Sometimes it's her whisper that she presents on the video platform, sometimes the patter of her fingernails on a book cover, sometimes the rustling of a brush through strands of hair. On YouTube, Maria, who lives in Los Angeles, calls herself "Gentle Whispering", she does not reveal her full name. She is by no means the only one who captivates a large audience with simple sound videos.

There are now more than 2.5 million clips on YouTube

In 2010, the first Youtubers began to post so-called ASMR videos on the Internet. The catchphrase is an abbreviation for the bulky term "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response", which means something like head tingling. Exactly that, a long-lasting, pleasant tingling sensation, is what certain noises trigger in some people, often in combination with visual stimuli. There are now more than 50,000 ASMR channels and more than 2.5 million clips on YouTube alone. Wood is carved in it, tape is plucked from carpets, and paper is rustled. Often the films seem like the beginning of amateur porn, sometimes like Bob Ross' television painting courses or autogenic training.

While thousands of ASMR fans rave about goose bumps in comments, about trance-like relaxation, deep sleep and top mental performance, the rest of humanity is usually irritated. This is mainly due to the fact that not everyone reacts in the same way to the sensory stimuli from the clips.

Whispering expert Maria says in a video call in a loud voice that her regular viewers often suffered from insomnia and stress. "They want to switch off. Others are looking for that tingling feeling that certain triggers can trigger. All of that is ASMR. Who reacts to which noise and why and how has not yet been researched. There are dozens of videos online that can help viewers find out if they are a target audience. According to his own statements, the New York sleep researcher Carl Bazil believes it is possible that parts of the brain are immobilized by ASMR. The neuroscientist Bryson Lochte from New Hampshire, on the other hand, assumes in a study that the videos stimulate the cerebral reward system and possibly increase the release of dopamine.