Back in 2012, some researchers in Japan decided to check a theory: laughing before bedtime helps you sleep. Okay, cool. So what did they do? They took 48 nursing women and split them up — half watched Charlie Chaplin’s MODERN TIMES, the other watched weather programming. After they took to their beds, researchers woke them up every two hours to collect breast milk and check the melatonin levels. You know, that fantastic natural inducer of all sleepiness? The group who laughed themselves into delicious oblivion produced higher amounts than those who watched Mother Nature do her thing with the world’s climate. What does that mean, exactly?
Well, laughing is a great jump starter for sleep. Cool. But are you surprised? Really? After all, we’ve all pretty much grown up with that saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and now seems like as good a time as any — maybe even better than most — to dive in and validate better living and sleeping through ROTFLMFAO activities.
Let the comedy begin!
“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Wellness!”
You’re chatting with friends, someone brings up something funny, you all start laughing then there’s that almost unanimous sigh of “Ahhh” at the end. It’s like breaking through water to breathe again in deep, satisfying relief. And it feels good. Your silly smile lingers on your face, and that laugh just took a ton of pressure off of your body, mind and soul.
Laughter is all-around, feel-good fuel. That sharing that just happened? Yeah, it brought you together. Think of all those times you and a loved one suddenly look at each other, one of you says one word and you’re both rolling again from the memory. Yep. It’s a link that simply can’t be broken and seems to just grow stronger over time.
Obviously, we all know that laughing is good for our emotional well-being. It’s a giant boost of happy that releases endorphins, filling you with a rush of the merry-making chemicals our bodies naturally manufacture. That in turn lessens our stress, which in turn relieves pressure on our heart — as in, that thing in the middle of our chest — by getting the blood flowing.
Isn’t it amazing to think that, legit, laughing is awesome for the physical as well as the mental and emotional? Truth. I mean, the list of laughter benefits beyond how it makes you feel is crazy long and may even be surprising. And if you want to get a glimpse of just how deep that goes, you must check out this incredible Laughter is the Best Medicine article from helpguide.com.
Now, you may be wondering, "Why are you sending me somewhere else to learn about all of the cool things that giving into the 'funny' can do for me?"
Because today? We want to talk to you about actively giving over to some healthy guffaws because we so often forget to do that.
In times of crisis, we tend to dig in, put our heads down and push through. It feels like what’s expected of us when big things go south is to tough it out and endure. We prove our mettle by how well we survive. Strength-showing, I like to call it. That, in itself, can be very stressful and, quite frankly, bleak. Sterile, even.
Relieving the pressure that comes from all of that stoicism means calming our minds through meditation, giving to our body through yoga and physical activity, and even reaching out and talking to others, asking for human support and care. But we often forget to find ways to keep laughter and actively seek out humor to lighten our emotional load. That’s very personal because a sense of humor is not universal. What makes me laugh may not do the same for you and although there are definitely comedians who have huge followings — Patton Oswalt, Dave Chappelle, Awkwafina — what about the day-to-day? Finding the funny in what you encounter?
Our funny bones need to be exercised just as much as our muscles. Opening your heart to the humor of life and then giving yourself permission to laugh out loud allows you to relieve any weight you’re carrying right away. That’s the beauty of laughter. It’s instant gratification. Yeah, when you’re cracking up hardcore, your head starts to hurt, you’re out of breath and you feel like you’re gonna die — George Carlin has this incredible bit about it that ends with, “Knee-slapping! Side-splitting! Rib-splitting! Gut-busting!… Laugh? I thought I’d die.” But then comes the breath of “Ahhhh…” and you are filled with this bright, beautiful wave of happy that just takes over your whole being.
A good laugh is worth every pill, every cleanse, every glass of wine you can have. It is right here for us at any time whether we manufacture it by streaming our favorite go-to stand-up, comedy film, or TV show that never fails to send us rolling, or we just step outside to watch nature’s infinite jest: the squirrel that lives in the giant tree in my backyard is the best comedian I’ve ever seen, hands down. Laughter is medicine for almost every ill in the world and we have it here in our souls, in our minds, in our very being to access.
Enjoy the silly. Whatever it is for you, bring it into your heart every chance you get. It gives you the positivity you deserve at all times. Laugh hard. Laugh long. You will live and sleep better knowing you have given yourself the light you need to keep going from time to time. And all you had to do was laugh.
Isn’t that funny?