Why does rain make us feel cozy?

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day… and you know what’s next. Like in this famous nursery rhyme, little children cannot play outdoors, and for adults, many things cannot be done when it’s raining or when it’s rainy season. We cannot naturally dry our clothes outside unless we have automated drier; we cannot stroll with our dog, or trim the plants in our yard. When it’s raining, we don’t feel like doing anything, but just to stay in bed, cuddle our pillows, or watch movies and sip some hot coffee or choco. Oh, indeed, a perfect time to just relax and sleep. But why do we feel cozy every time the rain pours?

There are no definitive studies that explain the relationship between rain and the feeling of sleepiness and tiredness. But there is some evidence that rainy weather can hit almost all our senses, and it signals us to take a nap or sleep.

The first reason is the lighting in our surroundings. When it’s raining, of course, Mr. Sun is not out to share some light. The clouds are darker makes the atmosphere gloomy as well as the room light that we have in our home is affected. One more effect of Sun’s absence is the production of melatonin in our body. The Sun’s light triggers the body to stop melatonin production, a significant sleep-inducing hormone. That’s is why its production is higher at night, when all the lights are off, and you are already in a deep sleep.

Also, the Sun is our body’s internal alarm clock, and when it’s up in the morning, our brain naturally signals the body that it’s time to rise. On the other hand, when it’s raining, we miss out on this alarm. This idea is supported by a chronobiologist, Naomi Rogers, from Queensland University. According to Rogers, when you don’t see the sunlight first thing in the morning, your body never gets the cue that it needs to shift into daytime mode.

Dr. Darius Loghmanee, a sleep specialist at Advocate Christ Medical Center, also said that our environment affects our ability to fall asleep or wake up. When we are used to sleeping in a dark room, it can be not easy to do so when there is a light. When we’re used to waking up when it’s light out, it can be challenging to do so if it’s dark, whether a change in weather or season causes it. Although not everyone feels sleepier when it’s raining, some people are significantly affected by the amount of sunlight they see when they wake up, and such is affected by the rainy day. (click here for more details)

The smell is another factor that makes us feel cozy when it’s raining. The earthly smell when the raindrops fall on the ground, gives a soothing feeling. Why is that so? One main reason is Petrichor. It is a combination of fragrant chemical compounds from oils made by plants. The actinobacteria or the tiny microorganisms found in both rural and urban areas, as well as in marine environments, are the main contributor to Petrichor. They help to decompose dead organic matter into simple chemical compounds, which can then become nutrients for developing plants and other organisms. And the byproduct of this activity is an organic compound called geosmin, which contributes to the petrichor scent. (click here for more details)

According to Bill Ypsilantis, a soil specialist at the Bureau of Land Management, the bacteria creates that “musky” smell when it’s raining and when you are turning over the soil in your garden. (click here for more details)

Also, during rainy days, there is an increase in the negative ions due to the lightning and the friction between rain and air. The increased amount of negative ions can improve systems in the human body. People will feel more comfortable. What’s more, the negative ions have the effect of calming and hypnosis. It is one factor that helps people fall asleep quickly. (click here for more details)

As the raindrops fall on the roof, splash in the windows and pavements, it produces a rhythmic sound like a natural lullaby that relaxes you and tempts you to sleep. Studies found that rain sounds are transported in the brain and unconsciously relax it, producing alpha waves that are very close to the state of the brain when you sleep. The rain sound is generally between 0-20 kHz. It’s not annoying unless it’s paired with thunderstorms and lightning that causes stress to some people.

Or maybe because there are restrictions on our usual daily activities, rain makes us feel cozy and sleepy. Since we cannot go out and do our task, we just thought of being in a mode of enjoyment and rest with the sound and the smell of the rain.