The gentle pitter patter of raindrops on the roof lulls me to sleep as if I was in my mother’s arms. But When the sky turns angry, and the thunderstorms roll out, that’s when I simply can’t sleep.
Maybe it’s because thunderstorms remind me of my ex-husbands excessively loud farting through the night. Maybe it’s the flashes of lightning that I can see through my eyelids as I try to fall asleep. Or maybe I’m just a plain old scaredy cat. Whatever the reason, thunderstorms and sleep just don’t mix for me.
If you are anything like me, then you will also find it difficult to sleep through a thunderstorm. Fear of thunderstorms is actually one of the top ten phobias in America.1
Maybe the noise keeps you awake.
Or perhaps the booming thunder, flashing lightning, or brutal winds do a number on your nerves.
There have even been studies that show how dropping air pressure during a storm can affect your breathing and make falling asleep more difficult.2
Whatever the reason, you don’t have to lose any more sleep over thunderstorms. With a few helpful tips and a bit of planning, you can achieve a restful night’s sleep no matter what the weather is.
Crash, Bang, Boom: Coping with Thunderstorm Noise
Aggressive thunderstorms can cause a ton of racket! Blowing winds, cracking thunder, pelting rains – how can you sleep with all that noise?
With these helpful tips, you can drown out that sleep-stealing thunderstorm noise and catch the zzz’s that you need.
1. Muffle Sounds
One of the most effective ways to muffle a noisy thunderstorm is by wearing earplugs.
Earplugs are an inexpensive and simple solution for drowning out that deafening thunder. There are a variety of choice available when it comes to ear plugs – foam, cotton, or wax. Try a few different ones to figure out what feels the most comfortable.
Earplugs also differ in their effectiveness. Try choosing a pair that offers the greatest decibel protection. Simply stick the earplugs in and enjoy a noise-free night, regardless of the storm. We have tested and reviewed all the best earplugs for sleeping here.
2. Room Choice
If your bedroom happens to have tons of windows and exposed exterior walls, try sleeping in a different location. Noise from the thunderstorm is much more likely to disrupt your sleep when you’re in a room that lets the outside in.
Insulate yourself in the room in your house with the fewest windows and exterior walls. Perhaps crash on your couch or maybe even in your cellar! If you can’t find a windowless room, be sure to draw the shades and curtains to offer as much insulation from outside noise as possible.
Sure it might not be the comfiest sleep, but at least you will get some sleep.
3. Music or White Noise
Drowning out a noisy thunderstorm with music or white noise is a great way to get some sleep.
Turn on your stereo or iPod play some soothing tunes. Classic or instrumental music is often a good choice. You could even block out the thunderstorm with the sounds of some relaxing rain music!
You can also try a noise generator or sound machine. It’s been proven that constant, low-toned sounds can help people sleep. Sound machines that offer white noise or nature sounds are often very effective.
Whatever sounds you decide on, keep the volume fairly low. The goal is to muffle the thunderstorm sounds, not completely drown them out with music that may end up disturbing your sleep.
4. Wear a Hoodie
This is a simple tip that can be done in combination with wearing earplugs for that added protection against thunderstorm noise.
Find a thick, but comfortable, jacket with a hood and simply sleep with the hood pulled up. The fabric will help to muffle out thunderstorm sounds and you may even find the head covering to be quite soothing.
A hoodie can feel like your own snuggly safe space.
Don’t have a hoodie? Pulling a beanie down over your ears and eyes can also help! Otherwise a sleep mask can be a comfortable and effective way to block out the horrifying lightning flashes that come through your windows.
Calm Your Stormy Nerves
Many people are terrified of thunderstorms – it’s one of the most common phobias. While this fear can be paralyzing during daytime storms, at night it can also rob you of important rest.
With these simple solutions, you will find that you can calm your nerves and sleep soundly through any storm that comes your way.
1. Sleeping Buddy
If you suffer from thunderstorm anxiety, sleeping with another person can help ease your nerves. Don’t have that special someone in your life to cuddle up to? Try sleeping with your dog!
Knowing that someone is right by your side during a storm can work wonders on your psyche. It can also boost your oxytocin, a hormone that helps to lower-stress and increase those feel-good emotions.
By snuggling up to a warm body or animal, you can soothe the agitation caused by the storm and fall asleep peacefully.
When the storm outside is making you uncomfortable, making your indoor surroundings as cozy as possible can help. You are far more likely to sleep peacefully when your sleeping conditions are to your personal liking.
- Adjust the temperature to your comfort level.
- Make the space around you as cozy as possible with blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals.
- Try turning on a night light to lessen the contrast of your dark room with flashes of lightening.
- Spray a soothing scent, like lavender.
Basically, do whatever you can to boost your comfort level and calm your nerves during a storm so that you can fall asleep easily.
3. Distract Your Mind
People who have a fear of thunderstorms often find it difficult to focus on anything other than that storm blowing through. Distracting your mind before bed can help you fall asleep effortlessly. Some ideas for shifting your focus off the storm prior to bedtime are:
- Meditate and think calming thoughts
- Read a book under the covers
- Play a game of cards
- Journal or try your hand at some creative writing
- Mentally plan your day tomorrow or imagine what you might dream of tonight
You can even create a ‘storm kit’ of sorts that has lots of distracting activities all in one place. Fill a box with board games, books, coloring books, cards, and a flashlight in case the lights go out.
4. Deep Breathing
When you have anxiety due to thunderstorms, your breathing may change unconsciously. Often, people forget to breathe normally because they are so focused on the storm.
Rather than focusing on the storm, focus on your breathing. Practice deep breathing techniques and really pay attention to the breath filling your lungs and how it feels when you push it out.
By shifting your focus and purposefully breathing deeply and slowly, you’ll quickly forget about anything else, including the storm raging outside your window.
5. Prepare & Educate
Mentally preparing for a thunderstorm is a great way to ease your anxiety and get some sleep.
Check weather conditions regularly and stay up to date on any impending weather events. Watching your local news, weather channel, or checking a weather app will keep you well informed so that you can prepare.
When you know a storm is coming, you can prep your sleeping area to make it comfortable and cozy. You can make sure that you have working flashlights, ample food and water, and plenty of distracting activities.
Feeling that you’re prepared for any storm that may come your way can significantly ease that thunderstorm anxiety robbing you of precious sleep.
It’s also important to understand what a thunderstorm actually is – scientifically speaking. Understanding a few basic facts about how and why storms exist can help you realize that there is nothing to be scared of!
The basic science behind a thunderstorm is:
- hot air and cold air meeting in a certain way, causing the hot air to rise upwards.
- the rising hot air pushes moisture into the upper atmosphere and it is cooled off
- once cool, the air condenses and forms clouds<./li>
- lightning is created by particles in the clouds rubbing together, building tension until lightning strikes
By gaining a more scientific understanding of thunderstorms, you can rest assured that you are completely safe in your house. Ideally, this knowledge will calm your fears and help you doze off.
6. Face Your Fear
It’s a well-known strategy to face your fears head-on in order to overcome them. This method can prove effective in helping to ease your thunderstorm anxiety and allow you to get some sleep.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you race outside into the middle of a thunderstorm. But metaphorically putting yourself in the ‘eye of the storm’ might help you overcome your fears.
Try opening all the windows for a few minutes and watching the storm. Or go sit on your patio for a while.
You could ease into facing your fear by playing thunderstorm sounds while you fall asleep. This will give you a chance to practice getting comfortable with thunderstorm sounds so that you can eventually face your fears with a real one.
If you can face and overcome your fear of thunderstorms, you can stop losing sleep over those once-scary thunderstorms.
How do you sleep safe and sound when a thunderstorm strikes? Let me know in the comments below!