Laughing Myself to Sleep

Everyone seems busy these days. The popularity and proliferation of productivity advice reflects this busyness. I am always on the look out for tips and hacks for packing more into a day. All of this busyness adds to my general stress level, and I am, therefore, also on the lookout for ways to ease my stress.

One way has been my daily walks. I started my twice (and sometimes thrice) daily walks back in 2012 as a way of breaking up my day, and avoiding what I call “coding comas.” I listen to audiobooks as I walk, which helps get my mind off work, and I come back fresh and ready to tackle what’s next. On the days I get in a decent amount of walking, I generally feel better, and there’s a good reason for that. Walking is good for you.

Since 2012, however, my busyness has steadily increased, to the point where, more often than not, my walks are crowded out in favor of meetings and other work-related activities. When I don’t get my walk I don’t feel quite as good at the end of the day.

To counteract this added stress, I’ve changed my evening routine slightly. I used to read, or listen to an audiobook before going to bed. Instead, for a while now, I have been watching funny shows. I don’t watch them on live TV, but instead watch shows that I’ve bought through the iTunes store. I’ve watched episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show, and All in the Family. Recently, I’ve been rematching episodes of Modern Family. The latter gets the mosts laughs from me. And I do laugh out loud at these show.

Often, I have to suppress my laughter because Kelly will already be asleep. But suppressing the laughter only makes me want to laugh harder. The laughter feels good. I watch a show or two before setting aside my iPad, turning over, and going to sleep.

I’ve discovered a few things:

  1. The laughter takes my mind off the stresses of the day, and it keeps them off.
  2. I go to sleep smiling.
  3. I fall asleep much faster after I’ve had a few laughs.

It’s not news that laughter helps to reduce stress. But I think it has been much more noticeably effective for me as my days get busier and I’ve had less time for other things that help keep my stress level down.

What’s more, I wake up in the morning feeling well-rested. That is good, because I generally have a very busy day ahead of me.