A laugh before bedtime

I love to read before I go to sleep. It is something I very much look forward to each night. It usually makes me feel calm.

But a big part of this is down to what I read. I love to read ‘Oor Wullie’ (that’s ‘Our William’, if you’re not Scottish) and ‘The Broons’ (or The Browns, if you’re not Scottish). They’re Scottish comic strips. They appear every Sunday in The Sunday Post, one of the best-known Scottish Sunday newspapers.

I’ve been getting an Oor Wullie or The Broons Annual every year at Christmas, from my Mum and Dad, for as long as I can remember. Christmas Day just wouldn’t be the same for me without one. I actually look forward to getting one. I have loads of them stretching back, well, a few decades now, and I always have two or three lying beside my bed at any one time.

Very often I’m smiling, chucking, or laughing out loud right before I go to sleep.

I decided to write about this in a blog because I find that so many of us go to sleep stressed, either running over the day in our minds or worrying about tomorrow, or maybe we’re watching the news on TV, reading the news on our smart phones or tablets, or even answering work emails. The last thing we need to be doing before going to sleep is watching the news or answering work emails, especially when the news is rarely proclaiming to us all the good that’s happening in the world, and work emails make us feel that we’re, well, still at work.

Before I say any more on the subject, of course Oor Wullie and The Broons are not the only things I ever read at night. I sometimes read novels (I’ve currently reading Taming Amy, by Seth Gardner, and before that I re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows… I have quite a diverse taste. :-)) but, with the odd exception, I mostly avoid anything that is too mentally taxing or stimulating late at night unless it’s something that inspires me or is clearly helpful in my life.

And even if I do read something mentally stimulating (I recently devoured ‘Human Universe’ by Brian Cox), when I feel myself getting tired I lay that book down and pick up a trusty old Oor Wullie or The Broons for the last 10 or 15 minutes, just to quieten my mind and help ensure I get a peaceful nights’ sleep.

It’s good to go to sleep in a good mood and I find that reading something light and funny always helps, no matter what’s been happening recently. Reading about Wullie or Maw and Paw Broon is like a comfort blanket for me.

I’d suggest you find a light-hearted reading comfort blanket at bedtime, especially if you find yourself stressed or depressed a lot of the time, or if you find difficulty unwinding at the end of a day… just something that can help gently nudge your attention towards lightness and ease.

If your material makes you laugh then even better. Several studies show that laughter boosts happy chemicals in the brain, it strengthens the immune system, it’s good for the heart, and most definitely good for mental health. It even helps us improve our relationships.

And if you do happen to pick up a copy of Oor Wullie or The Broons, I hope you find it just as entertaining as I do. 🙂

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  1. Julia on March 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I enjoyed reading this and it reminded me that I once had a copy of The Broons. I lived in a small village in Brittany, France for 6 months and the name of the village was Broons! There was a male Scottish songwriter living there at the time and I think he was the one who suggested that the newsagent sell some copies in the local shop. I wonder if they still sell it there!

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      That really made me smile, Julia. I hope you enjoyed both Broons’. 🙂

  2. Tatyana Duffie on March 11, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you very much for this post, David.
    Very timely reminder for not taking the day’s problems and stuff into the night. Thank you.

  3. Christine Beaty on March 11, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    OMG! David, you did bring back memories, I was brought up on the Sunday Post, my MUM loved it, we lived in Carlisle, and I used to get Oor Wullie and The Broons annuals for Xmas!
    Thanks for making me smile!
    I also resonate with what you say, the worst thing I find is to be on the computer late, I never sleep as well when I do that!
    Look forward to seeing you in June.
    LOL, Christine x

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Glad I brought back some fond memories, Christine. He cannae beat The Sunday Post, and Oor Wullie and The Broons. ☺️ See you in Letchworth in June.

  4. Michelle - Germany on March 11, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you for this David, I have a tendency to read esoteric stuff in bed and sometimes also books about Arthritis or Fybromyalgia
    !!! (I am a sufferer) Maybe not the best choices after all!! Something soothing or lighthearted or spiritaully uplifting would definitely be better at night – the other things I can read with my early morning tea in bed! 😉 Great post as always .

  5. Karen on March 12, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Thanks, David. As an avid reader who always has a book in hand before turning off the bedside lamp, your post reminds me of the importance of boosting my happy chemicals before sleep. Perhaps a laugh or smile before bed is just the thing to bring us happy dreams that we can carry into our waking day. I am just finishing a beautiful novel by Jackie Parker titled Our Lady of Infidelity: A Novel of Miracles, but I think once I finish my nightly pages, I’ll be looking for a comic strip or two right before nodding off.

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Yes, I always found that, Karen, that not only did a sleep better if I went to bed after smiling, but I also had better dreams and woke up feeling more optimistic.

  6. Trisha on March 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I attend Laughter for Health classes for same reason and also make a point of listening to Radio 4 Extra’s “Comedy Club” from 10p.m. to midnight and their Classic Comedies from 8 a.m.-9a.m.
    It feels so good to laugh out loud, or even just smile, before sleep and to start the day.

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 13, 2015 at 11:39 am

      You certainly seem to be committed to laughter, Trisha. Well done.

  7. Judy Fisher on March 15, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Thankyou for this post David – I think it is information that we all need to take on board and practice. I know I will be googling Oor Wullie and The Broons and having one sent to Austraila. I love Scottish humour and will be purching the above asap.

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

      I hope you get lots of laughter, Judy. 🙂

  8. Karin on March 19, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I enjoyed this article and I think that we should smile and laugh a lot more, especially before going to sleep. I wanted to see a copy of The Broons, but living in Australia I knew I wouldn’t find it in the Sunday paper. Today I was going through a small pile of old books I’d brought home from my mothers house a few months ago, and at the bottom of the pile was The Broons Annual 1983. What a surprise. I’ve started reading it, but it’s slow going trying to work out what some of the words mean!

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

      Wow! That’s so amazing, Karin, finding The Broons annual like that. 🙂 Happy reading (and translating). Try Googling some of the Scottish words and you’ll see what they mean. 🙂

  9. Doreen Gowing on March 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Hi David,
    I love the thought of you sitting there against puffed up pillows laughing your socks off (well maybe they are already off) reading Wullie and The Broons. You inspired me to dash to my bookshelf in search of some humour. Eventually, I found Oh! Dear Silvia by Dawn French. It is coming to bed with me tonight. I’m looking forward to my ‘side-splitting’ read, interesting dreams and light-hearted mornings.
    Thanks for the nudge.

    • David R. Hamilton PhD on March 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

      I hope you’re enjoying some good laughter Doreen. 🙂

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