Rainy Days = Sleepy Days

Why do we sleep better when it rains?

Heavy Downpour --- Image by © Anthony Redpath/Corbis

Heavy Downpour — Image by © Anthony Redpath/Corbis

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. 







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4 thoughts on “Rainy Days = Sleepy Days

  1. Annalise Marie Pilitowski

    There has never been a doubt in my mind that there is an association between rainy days and sleepiness. I have always been the one to stay in bed all day long if its raining and just catch up on all my sleep. Ive also made to mistake or purposefully skipping my 9am if i wake up and its raining. Ive noticed that a lot of other students do the same as well because on the days that i do attend class on a rainy day, the class itself has a noticeable amount of students not in attendance in comparison to normal weathered days. It is awful that people tend to skip classes when the weather is rainy and gloomy, however this article explains 10 reasons why rainy days are considered the best days and these reasons seem to help not feel so guilty when I choose to skip class.

  2. Alexis Paige

    Interesting article as I am also a person who sleeps better when it rains. In one of my other blog posts I talked about melatonin. It’s so interesting because depending on the time of day, our body will produce more or less. By the clouds tricking our bodies, it assumes that it should make more. Totally makes since. In winter months, most people seem less energetic than they did in the summer. This could possibly be because of the same reasons! I would be interested in looking this up.

  3. Lydia A Chelli

    I am currently sitting in my 8 AM class and the attendance is low compared to the normal rate. This morning when I woke up and saw the rainy weather outside, I did not want to come to class and wanted to go back to sleep. What are the pros and cons that you see from the conclusion of your post? To me, if it were rainy every day, then class attendance would most likely be permanently low. Great post!

  4. Zachariah Watkins

    I am on the same boat with you with regards to sleeping during rainy days. Now that there has been a biological mechanism added to why this is true it actually makes a lot of sense, sometimes even during cloudy days I enjoy taking those long naps and watching ridiculous amounts of Netflix. Great post I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is a good read regarding this. Also quick question, do you think you sleep better when it rains at night or sleep the same regardless of rain or not?


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