Exploring The Best ASMR For Students

Rain hammering against a window pane. The squish of a giant marshmallow. The ring of a crystal sound bowl. These are just a few of the soundscapes trending on YouTube and TikTok which are helping students all over the world relax—what gives you the tingles?!

If you find yourself falling into a hypnotic state when listening to these sounds, you’re not alone. You’ve found yourself in the world of ASMR: a rising phenomenon that has transformed social media and has seen a 180% increase in UK searches in the last three months alone.

ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) content helps many students relax, de-stress and focus. But which ASMR ‘triggers’ are most popular for tuning into? We’ve analysed some of the most popular ASMR YouTube videos to find out.

What is ASMR?

ASMR is a tingling or relaxing sensation that many people experience in response to a stimulus. According to Psychology Today, ASMR is a ‘form of stimulating relaxation’, and countless stimuli can trigger a response, such as typing, tapping, humming, applying makeup and hair brushing.

Many people experience ASMR by watching stimulating videos on platforms like YouTube and TikTok (It’s impossible to open a social media app without seeing an ASMR video).

Not everyone experiences ASMR, and those who do respond differently to different stimuli. Some people feel a tingling sensation, often in the scalp and down the back of the neck. They may refer to this sensation as ‘brain tingles.’ Others simply feel relaxed, often to the point that they fall asleep.

ASMR meaning in a nutshell: a tingling or relaxed sensation experienced in response to a stimulus.

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What are ASMR ‘triggers’?

Within the ASMR universe, ‘triggers’ are the different types of sounds which can activate the scalp tingling experience. Across the past three months, ‘ASMR triggers’ have risen in search interest by +450% according to Google Trends, with trending triggers including ‘unintentional ASMR’ (+60%) and ‘makeup tutorials’ (+40%).

Common triggers include whispering, hand movements, scratching, tapping and writing. Outside of the common triggers, ASMR enthusiasts are also tuning in to watch an array of role-play content, such as massages, makeup tutorials, medical appointments and hairdresser experiences.

ASMR Creators are also increasingly getting creative with understanding what is making their audiences tick. From exploring what different foods sound like in mukbang style, to entertainment-inspired ASMR videos which see creators role-play famous characters.

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Why do students use ASMR videos?

ASMR videos create different responses for everyone and it’s important to test different ‘triggers’ to find what floats your boat the best. Whilst ASMR can support an array of benefits, many students use ASMR content to:

Whether you want to alleviate anxiety or improve your concentration, ASMR videos can help. These relaxing videos can be especially useful around exam season, when life gets stressful.

Scottish ASMRtist, ASMR Shortbread, fell in love with ASMR whilst studying at university and began creating her own ASMR content in 2018, accumulating 154K subscribers on YouTube:

"I've been creating ASMR for around five years, but I was actually introduced to the world of ASMR when I was at university.”, ASMR Shortbread has commented.

“I was studying Mandarin Chinese as part of my degree - which was pretty challenging to say the least - so I needed to find some way to relax during my downtime. I then found the perfect solution in ASMR when I stumbled across a Chinese ASMRtist. Through watching her videos, I was able to practise my listening skills and chill out at the same time - such a win!"

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What are the best ASMR triggers for students?

We have analysed 840 YouTube videos in leading ASMR genres. Each has racked up hundreds of thousands of views. We’ve compared these videos to uncover how popular different ASMR genres are.

Based on our findings, here are the eight most popular genres:

No. ASMR trigger Total view count of Top 20 videos
1 Rain 1.1bn
2 Dripping water 697mn
3 Squishing 526mn
4 Drinking 455mn
5 Crunchy food 360mn
6 High-pitched sounds 177mn
7 Low-pitched sounds 140mn
8 Spray sounds 124mn

Videos in each of these genres can help viewers and listeners relax or improve their focus when studying. Different triggers are enjoyed differently by different people, so you might need to try a few ASMR videos before you find one that gives you all the feels.

ASMR Shortbread has commented, “I create ASMR similar to the videos I personally enjoy, so I'd say my favourite triggers are personal attention, ear to ear inaudible whispering, hand movements/camera touching, fabric brushing and wood tapping.

My followers particularly like when I add background music or rain sounds to my videos and I also often get asked for spa therapy sounds, like hair brushing and washing.”

To find the genres that work for you, create a zen space and explore the most popular ASMR triggers we’ve uncovered below.

1. Rain

According to our data insights, rain sound videos are the most popular ASMR genre.

Rain sounds fall under the umbrella of the trending term ‘pink noise’, which has seen a +40% surge in search interest according to Google Trends. The repetitive rhythm of rainfall can calm the nervous system, easing stress and helping you fall asleep.

Here’s a rain video to try.

2. Dripping water

Dripping water videos also often have a rhythmic quality that can help you drift off to sleep, with this ASMR genre coming in as runner-up from our research.

Whether you’re listening to droplets or fizzing noises, the natural sound of water can help you wind down.

Here’s a dripping water video to try.

3. Squishing

Squishing videos involve ASMR artists squashing items to create satisfying sounds and visuals. The combination of sticky, soft, and bassy sounds can be soothing, both for relaxation and study.

On TikTok, the #squish hashtag has 147.5k posts, with popular items including kinetic sand, marshmallows and ‘squishies’.

Here’s a squishing video to try.

4. Drinking

Drinking videos can also prove relaxing. Many videos go beyond the artist drinking beverages. Some artists get creative by boiling fizzy drinks and adding corn syrup to make slurpable jellies. Others use straws of different thicknesses and textures or pour ice into their drinks.

Here’s a drinking video to try.

5. Crunchy food

Crunchy food videos often involve a variety of crisp foods, which the artist eats on camera. These foods may range from deep-fried onion rings and hash browns to wafer rolls and candied fruits.

Here’s a crunchy food video to try.

6. High-pitched sounds

Many artists incorporate an array of high-pitched sounds into their videos. Tuning forks, singing bowls, vacuuming, and high-pitched talking are all popular. Experiment with different videos to find the high-pitched sounds that help you feel calm or focused.

Here’s a video with high-pitched sounds to try.

7. Low-pitched Sounds

Videos with low-pitched sounds can feature numerous ASMR triggers. These triggers can range from whispering to the crinkling of different materials. Artists may also run items like polystyrene blocks around their microphones. And, just as a sound bowl can create comforting low-pitched sounds, it can create high-pitched sounds too.

Here’s a video with low-pitched sounds to try.

8. Spray sounds

Artists use different spray bottles to create a blend of water-spraying sound effects. These bottles release different volumes of water and at different speeds to produce a varied soundscape.

Here’s a spray sounds video to try.

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Tuning into ASMR videos with headphones

You’ll get the most out of ASMR videos if you listen with headphones. This way, you can fully immerse yourself in relaxing sounds that help you unwind, sleep, or focus. You’ll hear every sound more clearly and intimately, which can make the experience more soothing.

Explore UNiDAYS student discount offers on headphones and other gadgets from the biggest tech brands.

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For each ASMR trigger, the total view count for the first 20 results in YouTube's search function was summed for the following phrases: asmr [trigger] relax and asmr [trigger] focus. The total for both variants were then combined to provide a final view count.

Sources: Psych Central, Healthline, Remfit, , NCBI, Right As Rain and CNN.

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