You have a road trip playlist. You have a throwback playlist. Why not have a study playlist?
The hardest part of a good playlist though, especially a study playlist, is finding one that works for you. In my experience, classical music and scores are what usually comes up when you search for a study playlist. While classical music is good for some, I often find myself focusing more on the music than I do my work. My mind wonders to where I’ve heard that song before, what movie it was in, or what it reminds me of.
From there I tried more of the nature sounds that would show up much further down in the search. As someone who frequently meditates (primarily at night), these sounds just reminded me of sleep.
I’m one of those people who needs some type of background sound, so what am I to do when studying or doing homework?
Then I stumbled into the world of ASMR.
ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, can simply be described for most people as tingles, similar to goosebumps, on the top and back of your head. This feeling can come from a variety of triggers. Some of the most common triggers are whispering, tapping, scratching, light movement, or common favorite sounds like a page-turning, or even the sound of a pen writing.
ASMR can be used for a variety of reasons. It can be used to relax. It can help you fall asleep. I use it in lieu of a study playlist.
The soft sounds are just enough for background sound, but not overpowering as I found classical or nature sounds to be. One of the best things about using ASMR videos instead of a study playlist is that there are hundreds of new videos uploaded to YouTube every day.
As ASMR is gaining more momentum there is an immense variety of videos to either play in the background, as I often do, or watch. Some of my favorite ASMR artists are:
- WhispersRed ASMR — Emma has a video on practically every type of ASMR out there. She continues to stay ahead of the ASMR-game with what is and will be popular over the upcoming months.
- (Fe)Male ASMR — This duo, while some videos can leave you questioning what you just watched, produces great sound videos to play in the background. Most of their videos are no talking or soft, inaudible whispers, which is great to keep on throughout a study session. Most of their videos are 20-30 minutes long.
- YvetteASMR — Yvette does a lot of roleplaying videos (dermatologist, spa, makeup artist, etc.). While some of her videos are better for sleep, I have never been disappointed with how relaxed and focused I feel during and after a video.
- Caroline ASMR — The thing I like most about Caroline is that she always has a live stream going on. When all else fails I’ll put her stream on. The great thing about this is the stream is constantly changing. It’s a rare thing to see the same video playing two days in a row. If your study session has the possibility of turning into an all-nighter, I would check out her stream. She also uploads regular videos to her account.
- Bob Ross — Some say that Bob Ross is the father of ASMR. For 10 years, Bob Ross left viewers peacefully relaxed. His soothing voice and soft strokes of the paintbrush seamlessly take your worries away. Not only do you get the sounds of Bob Ross, you can watch in awe as happy little trees are painted before your eyes.
While ASMR is not for everyone, if you’ve had issues finding the right playlist for you it may be worth a try. My advice to anyone adventurous enough to try this form of artistic relaxation is to try a little bit of everything. Try a video of tapping sounds, a video of whispering, a video of completely strange sounds, and even a role-playing video.
ASMR has changed my academic and work life. It might just do the same for you.