The Weird Reason You Should Start Singing On The Toilet

For many, belting out a tune in the bathroom has become a common, if unofficial, pastime. It might be the superior acoustics enriching the voice with a more robust, resonant tone, or perhaps the privacy of being alone that gives individuals a sense of freedom to express vocally without the fear of judgment.

Interestingly enough, this penchant for singing isn't confined to the acoustics of a shower. Some people have adopted the habit to help them poop. As quirky as it may sound, this practice has scientific proof.

Singing engages the vagus nerve. As highlighted by WebMD, this nerve is the key component (75%) of the parasympathetic system, a network of nerves that run throughout the body and trigger the body's natural relaxation response after periods of stress.

When you sing or hum, sensors in your vocal cords, lungs, and the muscles at the back of your throat stimulate your vagus nerve, which can help you relax, slow your heart rate, and even trigger the contractions necessary for easier bowel movements.

How singing helps you poop

Singing's relaxing effect isn't just anecdotal. A 2013 study in Frontiers in Psychology shows that singing has a soothing biological effect, impacting both breathing and circulation in a way that calms the body.

The physiological effects of singing extend to the digestive system as well. As the nerve responsible for the body's "rest and digest" state, the vagus nerve sends signals to the gastrointestinal tract to stimulate the smooth muscles of the intestines to increase bowel movement and secrete juices that aid in digestion, according to a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Many who sing often do so using diaphragmatic breathing. However, the benefits of this breathing technique extend beyond reduced vocal fatigue and improved vocal quality, range, and endurance. The University of Michigan Health points out that diaphragmatic breathing is also recommended for patients with gastrointestinal issues to alleviate stress related to these conditions.

Engaging the diaphragm creates a gentle massage for the intestines and stomach. This can lead to relief from discomforting symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and urgency, making the act of singing on the toilet more than just a quirky habit but a potential therapeutic exercise.

Other benefits of singing

Whether you can carry a tune or not, raising your voice to sing has plenty of other benefits other than helping you poop faster. First, singing can reduce cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and boost the body's immune responses, according to a 2016 study.

When you sing, you release feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which not only make you feel uplifted and lift your mood but can also reduce pain perception (via Harvard Health). But there's more: singing also stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that the BBC reports as reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing relaxation, and strengthening social bonds among people.

So, the next time you find yourself in the bathroom or sitting on the toilet, consider singing your favorite tune. Not only could it aid your digestive process, but it might also leave you feeling more relaxed and connected, with a host of other health benefits to boot.