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10 Surprising Benefits of Laughter That Are Backed by Science

by Patricia West
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Laughter is a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries. It’s a joyous expression that can transform a dull day into a vibrant one. But did you know that laughter isn’t just about having a good time? Science has uncovered a trove of health benefits hidden within those hearty chuckles. Join us as we delve into ten amazing benefits of laughter backed by science.

Related: 10 Ridiculous Health Myths (Science Says Are Actually True)

10 Laugh Your Way to a Good Night’s Sleep

Guided Laughter Meditation: Healing & Transformation Solfeggio MI 528 Hz Binaural Beats 7.83 Hz

The quest for a good night’s sleep can feel like a never-ending battle. But what if I told you that laughter could be your companion on this journey? When you laugh, your body releases a cascade of melatonin, those natural chemicals that induce sleepiness and relaxation. As the melatonin surges through your system, it paves the way for restful slumber.

The relationship between laughter and sleep is not merely anecdotal; it’s grounded in scientific research. The release of melatonin during laughter reduces stress and promotes muscle relaxation. Consequently, your body is better prepared to embrace sleep.

Instead of tossing and turning, consider watching a funny video or reminiscing about a hilarious memory before bedtime. These simple acts can trigger laughter, ushering in a peaceful, uninterrupted night of rest.

Joke: What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fsh!

9 The Fertility Factor

Guided laughter meditation (60 SECONDS OF HAPPINESS!)

Conception is a complex process influenced by various factors, including hormonal balance. Stress, particularly the release of cortisol, can interfere with reproduction. Enter laughter, your stress-busting ally. When you engage in hearty laughter, your body releases endorphins, which promote relaxation and help lower stress levels.

Reducing stress levels can create a more hospitable environment for conception. So if you and your partner are trying to expand your family, consider incorporating humor into your lives. Watch a comedy together, share funny stories, or indulge in playful banter. These moments of laughter can help alleviate stress and, in turn, improve your chances of conceiving.

While laughter alone won’t guarantee pregnancy, it can be a valuable addition to your fertility toolkit. You’re taking steps toward a healthier and more enjoyable fertility journey by embracing humor and reducing stress.

Joke: Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field!

8 Heartfelt Chuckles

Ask Dr. Nandi: 3 ways laughter can give you a healthier heart

Your heart does more than pump blood; your emotional well-being also influences it. Laughter can be a heart-healthy habit that improves cardiovascular function.

When you engage in laughter, your body responds by increasing blood flow and circulation. This boost in circulation promotes a healthier heart by reducing the risk of blood clots and improving cardiovascular health.

Additionally, laughter can reduce inflammation in the arteries, a critical factor in heart disease. By decreasing inflammation, laughter helps to maintain the flexibility and health of your blood vessels, ensuring that your heart can pump blood efficiently. Think of laughter as a delightful workout for your cardiovascular system without running shoes or a gym membership. The more you laugh, the more you give your heart a mini-aerobic exercise session.

Joke: How do you organize a space party? You “planet”!

7 The Healing Power of Humor

Laughter helps relieve stress, reduce pain

They say laughter is the best medicine, and that saying holds when it comes to pain relief. The connection between laughter and pain relief is in releasing endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers.

Endorphins are like little superheroes swooping in to save the day. When your brain releases endorphins, they bind to receptors in your body, reducing your perception of pain. It’s like having an army of pain-fighting warriors ready to battle discomfort.

While laughter may not provide a permanent solution to chronic pain, it can offer temporary respite and improve overall well-being. So, the next time you grapple with a headache, aching muscles, or discomfort, consider a good laugh. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy show or sharing jokes with friends, laughter can be a natural and enjoyable pain management strategy.

Joke: What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot!

6 Laugh in the Face of Stress

The power of laughter can reduce stress – Anthony Ackroyd

Stress is a common adversary in our lives, but laughter can be a formidable ally in the battle against it. When you laugh, your body releases a powerful cocktail of hormones that counteract the effects of stress.

Endorphins, those feel-good chemicals, flood your system during laughter. They enhance your mood, promote relaxation, and reduce stress and anxiety. Also, laughter stimulates other beneficial hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are crucial in regulating mood.

Think of laughter as a natural way to cope with stress without side effects. A hearty laugh can help you face adversity with a smile and maintain your inner calm, even in the stormiest of times.

Joke: Why did the bicycle fall over? Because it was two-tired!

5 From Giggles to Friends

Why we laugh | Sophie Scott

Laughter isn’t just a solitary pleasure; it’s a social glue that bonds people together. Sharing a laugh with someone creates a sense of camaraderie and strengthens social connections in ways you might not have imagined.

Consider the moments when you’ve shared a hearty laugh with friends, family, or strangers. In those instances, laughter served as a universal language, breaking down barriers and fostering togetherness. Whether you’re swapping jokes, reminiscing about funny memories, or enjoying a comedy show together, laughter creates shared experiences.

These shared moments of laughter are not just fleeting; they contribute to building deeper, more meaningful relationships. Laughter builds a bridge between people, making connecting, empathizing, and building trust easier. So the next time you want to strengthen your bonds with others, remember that laughter is a powerful tool. It’s the glue that holds relationships together and keeps them strong.

Joke: Why don’t skeletons fight each other? They don’t have the guts!

4 Laugh for a Healthy Cold and Flu Season

How Laughter Boosts Your Immune System

Your immune system is your body’s defense against illness, and laughter can be a potent weapon. Scientific studies have revealed that laughter can impact the immune system, bolstering its ability to prevent infections and diseases.

When you laugh, your body produces more immune cells and antibodies, which are essential for fighting viruses and bacteria. This increased production of immune warriors equips your body with a more robust defense system. Which in turn keeps you healthy for longer.

Think of laughter as a natural booster shot for your immune system. It’s like sending reinforcements to protect your body from invaders, ensuring you stay healthier and resilient in challenges and potential health threats. So laugh freely and let your immune system work its magic.

Joke: Did you hear about the cheese factory that exploded? There was nothing left but de-brie!

3 Lightening the Load

Five Health Benefits of Laughter Yoga by Dr. Madan Kataria

High blood pressure, often dubbed the “silent killer,” is a significant health concern for many people. However, laughter can be a powerful ally in the battle against hypertension.

When you engage in hearty laughter, your blood vessels relax, allowing blood to flow more freely. This relaxation of blood vessels helps lower your blood pressure and reduces the strain on your cardiovascular system. In essence, laughter can act as a natural blood pressure medication without needing pills or medical procedures. The impact of laughter on blood pressure isn’t merely anecdotal but backed by scientific research. Studies have shown that regular laughter can contribute to sustained lower blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of heart-related issues.

Joke: What do you get when you cross a snowman and a dog? Frostbite!

2 Mindful Chuckles

Surprising health benefits of laughter

Your brain, the command center of your body, benefits from laughter just as much as your emotions do. When you laugh, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.

Dopamine plays a pivotal role in cognitive function. It enhances your ability to think creatively, solve problems, and maintain a positive outlook. Laughter is like a mental workout for your brain, stimulating various areas responsible for processing emotions, language, and decision-making.

So if you’re facing a mental block, trying to brainstorm ideas, or simply seeking to improve your cognitive abilities, take a laughter break. Your brain will thank you for the surge of dopamine and endorphins, making you feel sharper, wittier, and more mentally agile.

Joke: Why did the golfer bring two pairs of pants? In case he got a hole-in-one!

1 From Gloom to Grin

Boost your mood — laugh for better mental health

Laughter is an instant mood-lifter, a natural remedy for when life feels gray. When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins. As we have said before, endorphins are those feel-good chemicals that can help combat sadness and depression. Endorphins work their magic by binding to receptors in your brain, triggering a positive feeling similar to the effects of morphine. This natural high promotes well-being and happiness, temporarily banishing the clouds of gloom.

Think of laughter as your secret weapon against the blues. Whether you’re facing a challenging day, a bout of sadness, or life’s ordinary ups and downs, laughter can provide an emotional boost. It’s a simple yet powerful way to elevate your mood and embrace the brighter side of life.

Joke: What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear!

fact checked by Rachel Jones