Through these challenging times, we could all use something that can relieve our heightened stress. This doesn’t have to come in the form of an expensive therapy session, massage, or new-age spiritual ritual. Sometimes, all it takes is a good laugh.
Not only can it release those feel-good hormones, but it can lead to a better night’s sleep. According to a survey conducted by King’s College London, nearly 63% of people said the quality of their sleep has declined in recent months because of the stress around the pandemic.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a neurophysiologist and sleep expert, explains why our mood is so vital to a good night’s rest. “Especially in these challenging times, it is important that we allow ourselves moments of joy, mirth and happiness, to counterbalance the anxiety, fear and uncertainty which cause disrupted sleep,” she says.
Laughter affects your sleep because it “decreases stress hormones and relaxes your muscles.”
If you’re one of those people suffering from sleep deprivation, know that not getting enough sleep creates an unhealthy cycle that’s hard on your body. “We also know that poor sleep can play a role in increasing our levels of stress, which can create a cycle that’s difficult to break. This is reflected by the findings that this effect was greater for those most vulnerable and those who were more concerned about the pandemic,” says Dr Ivana Rosenzweig, Head of the Sleep and Brain Plasticity Centre at King’s College London.
So whether it’s watching funny Tik Toks or calling up your funny friend who lightens your mood, try adding laughter to your self-care routine and see how it may improve your overall health.