Why do we sleep better when it rains?
Whenever it rains, people always say they sleep better, even I think it’s true. On a gloomy or stormy day, the mood of the day is just tiring and low. Listening to the rain puts everyone to sleep. Why is this? This has always interested me, because I am one of those people that loves to fall asleep to a storm. Let’s look at the science behind this.
One study was done at the University of Rochester Sleep Laboratory in New York. They noticed this among many of their students as well. They test group consisted of 43 students. These participants were told to write in a ‘sleep diary’ for 105 days. This sleep diary would keep track of the weather that day, along with how long they slept and how their sleep was. This study worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather database. They found that when the barometer was high, the participants rested better. This led them to their answer. They concluded that it is because of the sound and the gloominess, we tend to sleep more and not want to get up.
Will Wister, a student at Stanford University with a biology degree, went more into the science of it. He explains why our bodies react this way. A lot of rainy days don’t involve much sunlight. It is a lot of clouds and dark skies. He describes how the lack of sunlight decreases our melatonin secretion production. Wister found that when the sun reaches our optic nerve, we feel less tired and begin to feel more awake. Since many rainy days lack sunlight, our optic nerve is not stimulating as much and we feel more tired. With the help of melatonin secretion, our body is told that it is time to sleep. If our bodies did not receive melatonin, we would not feel tired and would feel very awake. This is why we often wake up to sunlight. When the sun begins to rise, our bodies sense it and our melatonin production will increase again; causing us to want to wake up (well, not always wanting to).
Nancy Hall wrote in an article called, “Do Rainy Days Make You Feel Sleepy?” and brought up her conclusions to why this is. Besides mentioning the lack of serotonin, she mention that it also is because of the soothing sound of rain and how our ears interpret this. She believes that the pattern and repetitive sounds all night can cause our bodies to become tired and lazy which leads us to fall asleep. Next time there is a huge storm outside, you are all about to have the best sleep of your life.