Tag Archives: stress

October 2016 column Michiana House & Home Magazine: Wide Awake in Dreamland

sleepwalking        Everyone has his or her own unique was of dealing with stress. Some people are emotional eaters. Some go for a long run or walk while others swear by the concept of “retail therapy,” but I am a bit unconventional…I sleepwalk.

I’m not really sure when my nighttime jaunts began, but I know I didn’t do it as a child. That was my brother’s department. I vividly remember the night in which he padded down the hall and wandered into the kitchen in order to throw his pillow in the trashcan. On another occasion, he removed the drawers from his dresser and stacked them on his desk in a configuration that can only be described as “modern art.” There was also the time that he got up at 1 a.m. thinking it was time to deliver his afternoon paper route. He nearly made it out the back door before my dad caught him and put him back to bed.

When I sleepwalk, it’s just as scary. I am incapable of navigating the layout of my own home. I see people who aren’t there. I try to unlock doors that don’t exist and in my most recent escapade, I stood over my son’s bed and stared down as him as though he were lying in a casket.

“If your planning to audition for the next Paranormal Activity movie, I think you’ll get the part,” he told me the following morning.

“What are you talking about?” I asked him.

Evidently, I got out of bed to visit the bathroom, but for reasons unknown, I chose his facilities rather than my own. This required me to jump over the dog gate at my bedroom door. According to Boy Wonder, when I finished my business, I didn’t go back to bed but rather, took a tour of the entire second floor of my house. I went into my office and sat in my chair for a while. I wandered across the hall to the spare bedroom and for a grand finale; I entered his bedroom and spun around before paying my respects at his supine body.

“Seriously, I don’t know how you did any of that in the dark without killing yourself in the process.” He said as he concluded his tale. “It was really impressive. Frightening, but impressive.”

While I would love to tell you that the story has been wildly exaggerated for dramatic purposes, I know he’s telling the truth. I have a vague memory of needing to use the bathroom and then being in his room…I’m just glad I didn’t confuse the latter with the former. That would not have ended well.

“Oh no, you made it into the bathroom just fine,” he assured me. “As for everything else, I don’t know what you were doing. You just kept saying you were looking for something.”

“Did I tell you what I was looking for?” I asked.

“Yeah…you said you needed to find a pillow.”

I should have checked the trashcan.

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Tingle Tuesday : ASMR Book Update

asmrDear Tingle Heads, Readers and Friends,

First of all,  yes, I know it is Thursday, but I haven’t posted for so long, I am in hopes that you will forgive me for not holding out for five more days.

I apologize for my absence in recent weeks, but I can assure you that I have been hard at work on the Complete Idiot’s Guide to ASMR. Deadline is fast approaching and it seems like there is still a lot to do. Still, it looks like it will be ready for a Spring 2015 release and I can tell you that Ilse Blansert (who is co-authoring the project) as well as Dr. Craig Richard at the ASMRUniversity are both very excited about the material I have compiled. Dr. Richard has even told me that he suspects this book will be the “ASMR Bible.” (His words, not mine)

So, what is going to be in this book? Well, I don’t want to give everything away of course, but I can assure you it is NOT going to be a book filled with tingle stories or speculative theory. From the time I first heard the term “ASMR” and throughout this entire project I have been driven by one, burning question: “Why doesn’t anyone know what this is?”

Right from the start this seemed impossible to me. Maybe it’s a lack of faith in myself that I could actually be on  the cutting edge of something “new,” but something didn’t feel right to me from the get go. How could the scientific community NOT know about this? When you stop and think about the number of people who experience ASMR and then make a good guess as to what percentage of those people have probably mentioned this tingly sensation to their doctor at some point in their lives, it only stands to reason that someone, somewhere knew something.

So I began tracking it in. There were a LOT of dead ends, but I didn’t stop. The more I read, the more convinced I became that the reason no one knows really anything about ASMR is because they aren’t looking past the surface. They hear about these “sleep whisperers” causing “tingle heads” to sack out by crinkling paper on YouTube and well, logically-if you don’t experience it-  it sounds a little weird. So…..I started breaking it down. I analyzed the videos. I talked to Dr. Richard about his Origin Theory (which, as he admits, may or may not be 100% correct but it’s a really good start!) I looked into sleep, brain wave states, stress, mirror neurons and relaxation techniques.I started finding new search terms that you won’t find in an article about the ASMR phenomenon (honestly, if they manage to get beyond Bob Ross and actually quote a non-skeptical neuroscientist, I’m impressed) I read about meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback. I learned that there may be something significant about how old you are when you have that first ASMR experience. I learned about neuroacoustics, sensory learning styles, speed, frequency and oh yeah…I managed to even find specific, scientific references to ASMR-like tingles that are NEARLY 30 YEARS OLD!!!  (Believe me, I was hopping out of my chair when I found that!)

While I freely and without reservation admit that I am not a doctor, scientist or clinical researcher…I am the girl who will not stop until I can draw some good parallel lines between what is happening in our heads and what science knows about it. I don’t guarantee much in life, but I guarantee that this book will PROVE that the scientific community has had experience with ASMR even though they don’t know it. In some alternative treatment practices, as many as 15% of patients/clients have REPORTED to their doctor, therapist or other clinician ASMR-like symptoms and yet, it has been roundly ignored. (Chances are, if you asked those same professionals, “What is ASMR?” they may not have a clue as to what you are talking about.) It also occurred to me that since some of these treatments involve monitoring devices, then logically, we have data showing what is happening in the body when the ASMR sensation occurs.

SO, what is the answer to the question that has been driving me all this time? Well, the reason science appears not to know what ASMR is largely stems from the fact that they haven’t been paying attention. I also think that it will take a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to figure it out. At it’s core, the ASMR sensation relaxes people and makes folks want to go to sleep, however- I don’t think that we can simply subject a few people to an MRI and have all of the answers. If I have learned anything in writing this book, I have learned that ASMR may be “all in our heads” but it’s not just a “brain thing.” It is something that is tied to our growth and development, has implications regarding our senses, what we perceive, our ability to empathize, our emotions, and may have application in every
day life.

I hope you will enjoy it.

Until next time, keep rockin’ and tingle on,


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