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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Brindley

Sleep and Thunderstorms

Have you ever crawled into your cozy bed at night, fallen asleep, only to be awakened by the sound of heavy rainfall, thunder, and a flash of lightning?

It does not matter what wakes you up in the middle of the night; the fact is that you were woken up out of your sleep. For many, going back to sleep can feel like a challenge. For many, falling asleep when the rain, thunder, and lighting are loud can be disruptive.

Thunder and lightning can interrupt sleep in several ways.

  1. Loud noise: The loud crashes of thunder can startle and wake you up from your sleep.

  2. Flashing lightning: Bright flashes of lightning can disrupt your sleep and make it difficult to fall back asleep.

  3. Anxiety and fear: Some people may feel anxious or fearful during thunderstorms, making it hard to relax and fall asleep.

  4. Changes in atmospheric pressure: Thunderstorms can lead to changes in atmospheric pressure, which may cause headaches or discomfort that interfere with sleep.

  5. Disrupted sleep patterns: The noise and flashes of lightning during a thunderstorm can cause frequent awakenings, leading to fragmented and restless sleep.

  6. Nightmares: Thunderstorms and the accompanying sounds and flashes of light can sometimes trigger nightmares in some individuals.

  7. Increased stress hormones: The stress and anxiety caused by thunderstorms can lead to increased stress hormones like cortisol, which can disrupt sleep.

You may not be afraid of a thunderstorm as you did when you were little. Still, many adults fear more significant and more catastrophic issues like the possibility of a tree falling on their house or lighting striking and creating a fire.

To minimize the impact of thunderstorms on your sleep, you can try using earplugs, white noise machines, or calming music to block out the sound of the storm. Put your noise-canceling headphones on, and listen to an audiobook or meditation. Blackout curtains can also help reduce the brightness of lightning flashes. Also, practicing relaxation before bedtime can help you feel calmer and less anxious during a thunderstorm.

Try the following these helpful tips:

  1. Create a calm sleep environment: Make your bedroom a relaxing and soothing space to sleep.

  2. Use blackout curtains to block out flashes of lightning and dim the lights.

  3. Use white noise or calming music: Playing white noise or calming music can help drown out the sound of thunder and create a more peaceful sleep environment.

  4. Keep distractions away: Avoid using electronic devices or watching TV before bedtime, as light and stimulation can interfere with sleep.

  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Try deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your mind and body before bedtime.

  6. Use earplugs: If the sound of the thunder is particularly bothersome, consider using earplugs to muffle the noise.

  7. Seek comfort: Have a favorite blanket nearby to provide comfort and a sense of security (yes, this works with adults, not just children).

  8. Focus on positive thoughts: Instead of worrying about the storm, focus on positive thoughts and peaceful imagery.

  9. Do a body scan. Start at your toes and focus on every inch of your body, slowly moving to each part until you reach your head; this should take some time.

  10. Stay safe: If you have safety concerns during the storm, ensure that you are in a secure location and follow safety guidelines.

Remember that fear and anxiety during a thunderstorm are typical for some people as they may stir up childhood fears. It is an excellent time to recognize these fears, choose to parent yourself and tell yourself that "everything is O.K., so it's essential to find what works best for you to feel calm and secure.


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