Study reveals that laughter improves cognition, insomnia and depression
We have all heard that laughing is good for our health. But now there are studies proving that laughter improves cognition, insomnia and depression. So, here is what researchers found when they put 48 elderly through laughter therapy.
In this study, researchers wanted to investigate the effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognitive function, quality of life, and sleep of the elderly in a community. So, for a period of one month, 48 subjects underwent laughter therapy with a licensed nurse, and 61 subjects were used as a control group and then compared. Researchers observed that cognition, insomnia and depression improved in the laughter therapy group, while they worsened or showed no significant change in the control group.
These results demonstrating that laughter improves cognition, insomnia and depression are further confirmations of earlier research that have shown that humour is correlated with increased self-esteem and decreased depressive features.
In a recent clinical trial, the same results were observed in children, as researchers evaluated the impact of a humor therapy program on stress levels in pediatric inpatients. In the first phase, an intervention and a control group were studied over 2 consecutive 3-month periods. Salivary cortisol levels were measured, and also tests were done to measure stress levels. Test results revealed, that the children in the intervention group presented lower cortisol levels and lower stress levels.
The demonstration that laughter improves cognition, insomnia and depression are encouraging news, since laughing costs no money, it is not invasive and it does not require you to use prescription drugs. But, as important, is the now observed fact that humor is able to regulate cortisol levels, which when elevated, affect brain serotonin function leading to a manifestation of a depressive state.
What areas of the body does laughter affect?
It is important to note that continual stress, not only causes a dysfunction in cortisol levels, which affect serotonin and leads to depression. But, stress has also been proven to affect immunity.
If there is a continual assault to a person immune system, there are immediate effects seen in the brain, resulting in a decrease in neurotrophins, leading to reduced neuronal repair, a decrease in neurogenesis, and an increased activation of the glutamatergic pathway that contributes to neuronal apoptosis (death), oxidative stress and the induction of apoptosis (death) in astrocytes and oligodendrocyte. All these processes, have been examined and may lead to the development of various neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression.
However, laughter has been shown to elevate the natural killer cell activity, meaning it can boost people's immunity.Given that laughter can affect the brain and immunity, its no wonder that it can improve cognition, insomnia and depression.
According to the anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression affects 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. While continual stress may explain depressive symptoms later in life, parasitical infestation may lead to neurological issues like depression. There are some natural ways to treat depression, and it’s mostly intertwined with a change in lifestyle and eating food for nutrition.