Why Do I Feel Sleepy When It Rains?

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We’ve all been there at one point. It’s the crack of dawn, and you have to wake up for school/work. But it’s raining outside! Suddenly, it’s 10 times harder to pull yourself out of the comfy cocoon of your warm bed and blanket. Or maybe, when it starts to rain in the middle of the day, you just want to drop everything and find a good spot to curl up and nap. Have you ever wondered why? Let’s break down why you feel sleepy when it rains!


The Lack of Sunlight… Obviously

Daytime is for activity, and night time is for rest. Our body processes the time differences by production of different hormones: melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin is the hormone that basically tells us it’s sleepy time, whereas serotonin is the “feel good” hormone that motivates us to get going. When there’s a lack of sunlight, melatonin is produced in higher amounts, thus sending signals that it’s time to sleep. Therefore, when there’s no sun, your body automatically switches into “sleep mode”.

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A Natural Lullaby

Steady rainfall is practically a lullaby that rocks you to dreamland bit by bit. Actually, the sounds of rain is categorised as “pink noise”. Similar to white noise, pink noise is also a constant ambient sound that helps mask other noises, which promotes sleep. The difference is that pink noise comes out louder and more powerful at the lower frequencies, and they are often found in nature. A few examples include the aforementioned rainfall, waterfall sounds, waves on a beach, or rustling leaves. Plus, rain is totally a non-threatening sound, which calms us further.

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Something Smells Good

There’s always a familiar smell that lingers around during rain, and that word is “petrichor”, the scent of rain on dry earth. When it’s dry, plants actually release oils which then mix during rainfall with a chemical called geosemin, found in soil. This mixture results in a “musky” smell, comforting us in its earthy familiarity. Take a deep breath, and you’ve got 50% of your sleep journey covered!

Selective Focus Photo of Obalte Green-leafed Plants during Rain
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But Do I Actually Sleep Better When It Rains?

Contrary to popular belief, no. Instead, you get better sleep quality when there’s good weather i.e. a clear night, and this has been proven by research. In other words, rainy days do make you sleepy, but it actually doesn’t guarantee quality sleep. However, after rainfall, there is an increase of negative ions, which promote various aspects of health. Negative ions naturally increase serotonin levels, but they also relieve stress and help enhance your mood, improving sleep quality in turn.

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The best time to sleep? After the rain!