Rain can be dark, gloomy, and cold; but it can also be soothing. The gentle patter on the window or light splashes on the street creates a calm and cozy environment. When it rains at night, sleep is sometimes better. There are scientific and psychological explanations for why this happens
Why do I sleep better when it rains? The sound of rain can help decrease brain activity, ease stress, and improve sleep. Similar to white noise, such as static, pink noise is a smoother frequency. Watching rainfall can also help clear your mind and focus on rest. Even the smell of rain produces an earthy aroma, which is calming.
It’s sometimes a challenge to get out of bed in the morning when it rains. On typical days, it’s usually not a problem. Let’s look further into why rain helps us sleep better.
Why Do I Sleep Better When it Rains?
It’s a struggle to wake up on a gloomy, rainy day because our body naturally relies on sunlight as a sign to wake up. Our internal body clock causes this natural alarm. The inner body clock, or circadian rhythm, is a natural system devised to manage sleep and rise times. The internal clock does not necessarily agree with the external 24-hour clock. Light is an essential factor. It is a zeitgeber – an environmental and social cue that directly affects our circadian rhythm. The lack of light signals us internally that it is still night time, even if the external clock reads otherwise. Rainy days make it hard for us to wake up since our brain is conditioned to sleep when it is dark.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
For areas that have more frequent rainfall in more extended periods of time, some people tend to develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression dictated by seasonal changes. It comes and goes as like the season. Causes include, disrupted circadian rhythm, low serotonin level, and an imbalance in melatonin. One of its symptoms is not having the energy and will to wake up during the day.
Why Does the Sound of Rain Make You Feel Sleepy?
When it rains during the day, it is possible to feel sleepy even if you slept well the night before. Rain at night is an advantage since it will help you wind down and make you drowsy. Its sound is comforting and soothing, which puts you in a relaxed mode luring you to sleep. The rhythmic pattern of the rain is called pink noise. Pink noise is a background noise that blocks out other noises. It masks other noises that signal your brain to stay alert. It focuses you on the sound of rain alone. If it’s not raining, you can use a website or app to replicate the sound.
Can the Weather Make You Tired?
Sometimes the rain can make you feel sluggish, tired, and drained. Lethargy may be due to the lack of sunlight. Darkness is responsible for releasing melatonin, which controls our circadian rhythm. It releases melatonin when it is dark and decreases in number when it is bright. The darker the environment, the more melatonin is released from our pineal gland, thus making us feel more tired than usual. Sunlight also increases serotonin, which contributes to happiness and well-being. Lack thereof makes us less energetic and less happy.
Another factor that makes us tired is humidity. The rain can make the air feel heavy and sticky. Our body becomes exhausted in fighting off the heavy humid air by allowing specific body mechanisms to cool our bodies down.
Why Do I Find Thunderstorms Relaxing?
The sound of thunder is white noise. It decreases the brain’s need for sensory input and activities, making us feel more relaxed. It shifts our focus to the sound of the storm, rather than stressful thoughts. For some people, it provides a secure feeling knowing that they are safe in their homes.
After a thunderstorm, we can smell the ozone, which is a clean and fresh smell. Some say it smells faintly of chlorine and sweet, laundered clothes. This happens when the lightning breaks up oxygen molecules and recombines it into a chain of three atoms instead of two. This process is believed to induce sleep. According to Pamela Dalton, a psychologist and a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, humans associate the smell of rain to relief. Explore thunderstorm sound machines for sleeping (view on Amazon).
How to Stay Awake on a Rainy Day
1. Invest in a Light Therapy Box
If you live in an area where gloomy, wet weather is almost an everyday thing, a light therapy box will surely help. Find one that has an intensity of at least 10,000 lux light, which is the approximate level of outdoor light on a clear day. Use this for 30 to 60 minutes while eating or preparing to go out. It increases alertness during the day. Check out Amazon for light therapy boxes or lamps (view on Amazon).
Surya Namaskar translates to “eternal salutations to the sun.” It consists of various asanas – seated posture used for meditation. You perform these asanas with mantras. Its repetitive nature emits soothing vibrations that remove fatigue. Scientifically speaking, it stimulates the cardiovascular system, invigorates the muscles and oxygenates the blood. Sun salutations are also a good energizer in the morning. It can be an alternative to caffeine.
3. Don’t Forget to Eat Breakfast!
Eat breakfast even if you aren’t hungry to rejuvenate and energize you the whole day. Some breakfast ideas to keep you energized the entire day are:
- Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt contains probiotics that boost the immune system and help increase energy.
- Nuts – These are high in protein and carbohydrates that promote energy
- Cinnamon – Incorporate cinnamon to your meals. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels to prevent energy drops or spikes.
- Avocado toast – Avocado toast is a trending meal with high monounsaturated fats which is a healthy kind of fat.
- Oats – Oats are rich in protein and fiber, which will keep you full and more energized for more extended periods.
- Eggs – Eggs give you instant energy because of their omega-3 fatty acids.
- If you aren’t a breakfast eater, you can opt for a fruit smoothie instead.
More Tips on How to Stay Awake on a Rainy Day
- Stay hydrated! – Dehydration makes you feel tired since your body functions adjust. Instead of giving you energy, it puts its resources into balancing water in your body. So it is essential to stay hydrated. And by hydrated, it doesn’t mean you should drink a ton of coffee. Coffee makes us alert, but as soon as the caffeine wears off, it makes us feel more tired than before. When drowsiness kicks in, fight it off by drinking water. The colder, the better for it will undoubtedly wake up your other senses too! If you’re not a fan of water or if you keep on forgetting to hydrate, you can check out this water bottle on Amazon: Water bottle with a time marker
- Healthy snacks – Eat snacks that are high in protein (hard-boiled eggs, jerky, cashews, almonds, etc.). Avoid fatty food since it doubles up your digestive system’s work making you feel tired and sleepy. Avoid sugary foods too. Sweets, especially ones with caffeine, make you alert at first but more tired later on.
- Keep your senses active – Take a walk around your building, or around the house. Listen to upbeat music or talk to your co-workers. Open your window for fresh air and get as much daylight as possible.
- Power nap – If you still feel tired and sleepy, you can give in to a 10 to 20-minute power nap. Don’t forget to set the alarm and wake up as soon as you hear it! You can walk around or drink a glass of water to prevent you from going back to sleep.