Does Rain Actually Help You Sleep?

Rain dripping over a rooftop

What is it about rainy days that make us want to curl up under the covers and take a nice, long nap? We all know the feeling: nothing sounds better than to snuggle under your favorite blanket and let the pitter-patter of the rain lull you to dreamland…  

It’s a nice sentiment, but, unfortunately, curling up for a nap any time the skies turn grey just isn’t realistic for most adults. Which means that rainy days just leave most of us feeling groggy, fatigued and even a bit blue.

Luckily, Naturepedic has some healthy sleep tips to keep you awake when the weather is less-than-ideal. Read on to learn just why rain makes us sleepy … and what you can do to stay refreshed, whatever the weather.

3 Reasons Rain Makes You Sleepy

Raindrops splashing into a puddleRaindrops splashing into a puddle

Sight, sound, emotion … there are a variety of reasons why rain makes the body and mind feel fatigued. Let’s break it down.

1. Ambient Noise 

One of the reasons why even a gentle rainfall makes us sleepy or lazy is because it produces pink noise (often mistaken as white noise). Lots of sounds we associate with relaxation are examples of pink noise … the rhythmic crash of ocean waves, the rustling of leaves in the breeze and, you guessed it, the pitter-patter of rain.

A type of ambient noise, pink noise sounds balanced, flat and even to the human ear. It minimizes how much outside noise we can hear, suppressing our senses and making us feel more tired. It’s like a natural lullaby!

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2. Dark Skies 

Another very simple reason that rain makes us sleepy is that rain means rain clouds, which means dark and gloomy weather. Less sunlight means less stimulation, making you feel sleepier.

Ever heard of the rainy-day blues? Exposure to sunlight increases the release of a hormone called serotonin in your brain, which is a chemical associated with boosting mood. This emotional boost may make you more energetic. When it’s overcast, you won’t produce as much serotonin, making you more likely to want a long nap.

Further, more darkness means more melatonin. That’s right — our circadian rhythm is closely tied to light. This means our brains actually secrete melatonin (a sleep-related hormone) in the dark or when the light is dark. Because rainy days bring dark clouds, your brain produces more melatonin and makes you sleepier.

Raindrops dripping down a window showing a dreary skyRaindrops dripping down a window showing a dreary sky

3. Humidity 

Beyond dark skies and lullabies, rain also brings humidity. You’ve probably experienced discomfort due to humidity before, but did you know that humidity actually can cause physical exhaustion, too?

In humid conditions, the air becomes heavy with moisture … which means it is populated by hydrogen and nitrogen as well as oxygen. This causes our lungs to have to work harder to get oxygen from the air. The increased physical labor of breathing in humid conditions can lead to fatigue, lethargy and difficulty performing even routine physical activity.

Tips for Staying Awake When It’s Rainy 

Spring, summer, fall or winter, you’re bound to wake up to a gray day or two. Don’t disrupt your circadian rhythm by over-napping or over-caffeinating … try these healthy sleep tips instead!

Take a Nap to Counteract Sleepiness

Feeling drowsy? Nap responsibly. Don’t take more than one nap, don’t sleep for too long and don’t take a nap too close to bedtime. If you stick to these rules, a 10-20 minute power nap can provide a great boost of energy. If you can’t nap because you’re busy or working, quietly meditating with your eyes closed for 10 minutes can help, too.

Have a Conversation 

Family playing a card game together around a tableFamily playing a card game together around a table

Whether it’s with a colleague, friend, family member or even your dog, engaging in a conversation is a great way to get your mind moving on a rainy day. Talking is a behavioral stimulator – it keeps the mind active, which keeps you awake. Having just a five-minute chat on the phone can help you get switched on if you’re feeling drained.

Let There Be Light!

Because dim, grey lighting boosts melatonin production, making sure your environment has plenty of light helps keep you awake. Several studies have shown that exposure to bright light can boost alertness and reduce tiredness. Try turning on your house lights during the day on or even using a daylight simulating lamp next time it rains!

Woman opening a curtain to let in some natural lightWoman opening a curtain to let in some natural light

Get Up and Move Around

We get it – when you’re feeling blue, it’s hard to find motivation for things like exercise. But finding 20-30 minutes for physical activity can mitigate daytime fatigue. You’ll feel refreshed and reenergized after a quick workout. (Bonus tip: regular exercise is great for improving the quality of your nightly sleep!)

There are plenty of healthy ways to boost your energy when it’s raining outside to make sure your regular sleep routine stays on track. Beyond that, a key component to safer, healthier sleep – whether rain or shine – is the quality of what you’re sleeping on.

At Naturepedic, we offer the best certified organic mattresses for the whole family – and we don’t compromise on comfort. Explore our range of products for Baby, Kids and Adults and take your first step towards better sleep today.