Rain and the Brain

Transcript of Neuro Nugget Video:

– We have all heard the saying: April showers bring may flowers. But have you ever wondered why those April rain showers make you so sleepy? If so, you are not alone. Many people say the sound of raindrops hitting the window can put them right to sleep. In fact, people often turn on recordings of the sound of rain to help them fall asleep at night. But why does rain have this effect on people? Believe it or not, there are some pretty fascinating scientific reasons behind why rainy days seem like the perfect time to catch up on our sleep. Here are a few of those reasons.

Number one, the singular sound. According to researchers, that distinctive sort of pitter patter of rain can contribute to the sleepy feeling. This is because rain creates something called pink noise, which is similar to white noise, but differs in terms of energy distribution. Like white noise, pink noise is a mix of all the different frequencies that humans are actually able to hear. Rain, rustling leaves, the wind, and even the sound of your own heartbeat all produce pink noise. Studies have found that when rain sounds enter people’s brains, the brain unconsciously relaxes and produces alpha waves, which are very close to the state of the brain when the human sleeps.

Number two, the lack of light. Another reason you may feel sleepy is due to the lack of sunlight. When the human body is exposed to the sun, it releases less melatonin, which is a sleep related hormone, and more serotonin, which is the feel good hormone. This makes people feel more alert and cheerful. The lack of light on a rainy day can have the opposite effect. People may feel a little drowsy or a little blue.

Number three, decreased oxygen content in the air. Oxygen can stimulate the brain and make us feel refreshed. When it rains, there is actually more water vapor in the air, which results in lower air pressure and a relative decrease in the oxygen content. In such a situation, the brain begins to slack off and people will feel sleepy. However, because there’s less oxygen in the air, you may still feel weak and sleepy when you wake up in the morning, and you may need to spend a little bit more time to get out of bed.

Number four, human activities are restricted. When it rains, there is a limitation on people’s activities. Many outdoor exercises simply cannot be done. For people who have nothing to do, sleeping is probably a good choice. Everyone likes a comfortable state and sleep is kind of an enjoyment.

Number five, the high humidity. The humidity of a rainy day also plays a part. When it rains, the air outside is sort of heavy, and as a result, the body has to work harder to maintain homeostasis. This can be tiring, leading to many seeking a few extra minutes of shuteye.

Now you know why the rain makes you sleepy, but perhaps you’re still wondering how to combat this effect. The answer is simple: Keep busy. Staying active, either physically or mentally, will help beat back boredom and keep your mind occupied and raise that serotonin level. Also, get some sunlight, as much natural light as you can. It will lower your levels of melatonin. So I say, on a rainy day, if all else fails and you have the time, take the nap. Wanna learn more about your brain and how it functions? Call and schedule your brain map today.


Posted on

April 19, 2023