Why does a rainy day make you tired?
The patter of rain hitting your window. Thunder rolling somewhere off in the distance. A darker-than-normal bedroom tempting you to sleep the day away.
This calming combination most likely makes you especially sleepy in the morning and can linger throughout the day if storms persist. But what about rainy days make us so tired?
“Our ability to fall asleep or wake up is enhanced by our environment. If we’re used to falling asleep in complete darkness, it can be difficult to do so if there is any light in the room. Conversely, if we’re used to waking up when it’s light out, it can be difficult to do so if it’s dark, whether that’s due to changes in season or weather,” says Dr. Darius Loghmanee, a sleep specialist at Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill.
Not everyone feels sleepier than usual during stormy weather, but Dr. Loghmanee explains that some people are significantly affected by the amount of sunlight they see upon waking up. “I would expect that these are the people who would have the most difficulty waking up on a rainy day.”
He says that changes in energy levels associated with light or lack thereof isn’t considered a sleep disorder but a weather associated syndrome and likely, part of seasonal affective disorder. This mood disorder is related to changes in the weather and may make you feel like your energy is being leeched from your body.
In addition, high levels of humidity brought about by drizzly weather make the temperature outside feel warmer than it actually is. As your body attempts to regulate and stay cool, you may feel even more tired.
There are steps you can take to feel more alert on a rainy day. Dr. Loghmanee recommends refraining from using rain machines or rain-sound phone applications in an effort to fall asleep or calm yourself, as it is likely that the sound of actual rain will also make you sleepy. He also recommends making your home as bright as possible on those dreary mornings. “Make sure you adhere to those aspects of your morning routine that are consistent,” he says.
According to the National Weather Service, a normal amount of precipitation for the month of October in Chicago is only 3.15 inches, so you may need to find another reason to hit the snooze in the coming weeks!
About the Author
Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.