Why does rain make you tired

Why Does Rain Make You Tired?

Do you ever feel sluggish on rainy, dreary days and not want to get out of bed or head to work?  You’re not alone.  The pitter patter of rain drops outside definitely makes me sleepy.  I just want to pull the blankets back over me and go back to bed.  It’s quite common actually, and there is a scientific reason why it happens. So, why does rain make you tired?

Rain making us sleepy or us being tired on cloudy days has a lot to do with the sounds, sights, and smells that come along with the rain.  Yes, your senses are to blame for the drowsiness!

Rain Water Sounds

It’s no coincidence that companies spend millions of dollars manufacturing products that produce soothing rain sounds for sleeping aids.  Rain water sounds like white noise or random, ambient noise in the background that is non-threatening enough it’s not really even noticed.  It drowns out any outside noises that often keep you alert and awake.

Here’s an example of a CD made for lulling your brain to sleep called “Sleepy Rain”.  It’s rain sounds for sleep and relaxation.  The description says, “sleep is vital to our health and well-being”.  So, it’s no wonder that the actual rain water sounds make us tired too.  The randomness of the rain drops is soothing and comforting us.

rain water sounds

Dreary Sights

Another reason why rain makes us tired has to do with your sight.  There are two parts to this one.  The first part has to do with sunlight.  Sunlight slows melatonin emission, which is a sleep hormone that makes us sleepy.  On days where we aren’t really exposed to sunlight, this doesn’t happen.

I don’t to get too far into the weeds in this blog post, but sunlight also increases serotonin production.  Serotonin is the happy, cheerful hormone.  Without it, we just feel kind of “blah”, which is what happens on rainy, dreary days where we don’t see the sun, right?

The second part answer to sights and why does rain make you tired and sleepy?  Well, it has to do with routines.  Over long periods of time, your body gets used to sleeping when it’s dark and waking up when it’s light outside.  The sun itself kind of regulates our body’s rhythms or runs our internal alarm clock.  We get tired on cloudy days because there is no sun telling us to “WAKE UP!”.  Instead, we just hit the preverbal SNOOZE button.

Smell of Rain

There is a distinct smell during or after some rain storms.  It’s kind of musty, but it’s a pleasant odor to most.   This “scent of rain” is called petrichor and most noticeable after the first rain in a while.  It has to do with water collecting in pores of the soil.  Anyway, ozone is produced when lightning bolts split nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the atmosphere.  It smells similar to chlorine and can sometimes even be noticeable prior to the storm coming.

Why is all this important, and what does this have to do with being sleepy on rainy days?  Well, it goes back to what I was saying above about routines.  If your body is used to this smell on rainy days, then it will associate that smell with the gloominess and being tired.  Our bodies take ques from nature to know how to act, and this is no different.

Other Reasons Rain Makes You Tired

Yet another reason rain makes you tired is the humidity in the air.  It makes everything feel heavy and even sticky outside.  It’s not something our brains associate with happiness.  We just aren’t motivated to move.  Rain also comes with low pressure in the atmosphere.  There is less oxygen in the air when pressures drop.  The lower oxygen levels make us sluggish.

why does rain make you sleepy

How to Overcome Sleepiness on Rainy Days

Here are some tips and tricks to combat the tired feeling that comes with rain.  You must overcome the senses that are tricking our brains and telling us to stay in bed.

  • Expose yourself to light – By doing this, our serotonin levels will increase and we’ll be happier again.
  • Exercise and get active – By working out, running, doing yoga, or some other activity, we can help kick start our bodies and help wake up.
  • Get out of bed – This one has to do with routines. Our bodies associate your bed with sleeping.  Get up and moving and help your body understand that it’s not bed time.
  • Eat Well – eating the right foods can make sure your blood sugar levels are at a good level and your body has plenty of energy. You can help yourself stay active by eating foods that are high in protein like nuts.
  • Prepare yourself emotionally – It can be really hard to do, but do your best to motivate yourself somehow. Maybe reward yourself in some small way for getting up and at ‘em.

Weather related fatigue is a real thing and it’s not uncommon to be tired on cloudy days.  Now you know why and how to overcome it.  Next time you feel tired or sleepy on a rainy day, turn all the lights on, get up, and do some yoga.  Wake up and motivate yourself with some activity sleepy head!


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