Do you need more laughter to sleep better? Read on to find out how positive emotions can help resolve sleep challenges.
Several years back, a neighbor smiled at me and said, “he takes himself very seriously, doesn’t he?”
It was an interesting question / observation, and I immediately understood how she had that impression of the person she was talking about.
And, I considered how she could have made the same comment about me. How often did I smile? How often did I laugh these days?
There was a time in my adult life where I recall having laugh-cry fits: where my abdominals hurt so badly when uncontrollable laughter took over. Where did those go?
Of course as a sleep & well-being coach, I’m always looking at things from both personal and professional perspectives.
Do I need to bring more laughter back into my life? Absolutely. And . . .
How does laughter relate to the work I do with sleep?
Well, let me state the obvious: few people lie awake in bed because they’re thinking happy, funny thoughts!
Our brain’s protective “negative bias” means that we’re more likely to see what’s concerning or wrong than what’s right or what’s working.
And this negativity is a top contributor to (preventable) sleep deprivation.
Researchers like Dr. Barbara Fredrickson have shown that cultivating positive emotions can lead us toward better health & well-being. (1)
That’s because unlike negativity, positive emotions broaden our thinking. They help us see more possibilities and therefore feel less stuck.
While laughter isn’t a positive emotion per se, it’s “considered an auditory expression of a number of positive emotional states, such as joy, mirth, happiness, or relief.” (2)
Therefore, the amount of laughter we’re getting can be a reflection of how much positive emotion we’re feeling.
I couldn’t help but be curious: is there a correlation between how much laughter one experiences and how refreshing their sleep is?
Some studies have found that melatonin–the popularly supplemented sleep hormone–might increase with your dose of laughter (3); others have shown that laughter has positive effects on depression, insomnia, and sleep quality–especially among the elderly (4).
Create your own sleep experiment
My latest sleep experiment is with humor and laughter.
I have a bookmarks folder called “FUNNY”, that I go to once/day for a giggle. Bloopers from my favorite TV shows always crack me up.
What makes you laugh?
How do you think more humor and positive emotions in your life could impact your sleep?