The science behind rainy days and fatigue

Image courtesy:

Have you ever noticed that when it’s cloudy and rainy outside, you tend to feel more tired than usual? On those gloomy days, do you find yourself yearning to nap all day or simply curl up on the couch and watch TV?

Many of us can relate to this situation, and many experts understand why it occurs.

It’s known that sunlight is like an internal clock. It regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

A dose of morning light helps you feel alert, so when it’s raining for days on end, you might start to feel drowsy.

Dr. Michelle Drerup, director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, suggests that the lack of sunshine is the primary cause of sleepiness on rainy days.

“Less sunshine means your body produces less serotonin. Melatonin is increased, and we feel sleepy. Lack of vitamin D exacerbates this effect,” she said.

 Essentially, sunlight plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, and a deficiency in sunlight due to cloudy weather can disrupt this balance, leading to increased drowsiness.

Similarly, Ken Yeager, clinical director of the Stress, Trauma, And Resilience (STAR) Program at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, emphasizes the role of serotonin in affecting mood and sleep.

“Your body produces the hormone melatonin to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Low sunlight levels may trigger a reduction in serotonin, affecting mood. Gray days can also disrupt melatonin levels, making it challenging for some individuals to wake up on dark mornings,” he said.

When queried about their experiences with rainy days, students at Florida A&M University shared varied responses. Many admitted to feeling lazy or unmotivated during inclement weather. However, one student offered a different perspective, remarking, “Bad weather lets me know it’s clean-up day, because what else is there for me to do?”

This highlights the diverse ways individuals react to rainy weather, from laziness to a sense of opportunity for productivity.

To combat the sleepiness associated with cloudy days, Baylor Scott & White Health, a healthcare system based in Dallas, Texas, suggests several techniques:

  • Let there be light
  • Make a list to keep yourself productive
  • Get moving
  • Be a chef for the night
  • Dial in with loved ones
  • Catch some zzz’s
  • Take mental breaks
  • Find gratitude in the storm.

By implementing these tips, you can effectively manage the sleepiness that often comes with cloudy weather and make the most of your rainy days.