The loud frightening sounds of thunder and lightning can get anyone off their feet and startled. From adults to kids and even pets, sleeping through a thunderstorm may seem impossible particularly when the sounds get harder by the minute.
If you live in a storm-prone area, here are tips you can employ to have a great night despite the less-than-gentle weather conditions. These tips can be categorized into four main areas including:
- Setting up your sleeping environment/ bracing up for the thunderstorm
- Distracting yourself with more pleasant sounds
- Taking home safety measures
- Mind relaxation techniques
Bracing up Yourself
If you want to have a pleasant time sleeping amid a severe thunderstorm, it is important to brace yourself up for it. Here are a few tips that can enhance your experience.
1. Eyes On The Weather
Keeping your eyes on the weather is important especially when you live in a thunderstorm-prone area. Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night to a serious thunderstorm that makes you feel like curling under your bed?
Knowing that there’s an impending storm can prepare you mentally for the inevitable. The good news is that staying in a specific area for an extended period could offer a good idea of the weather patterns.
This means you can pretty much know which times of the year thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes are likely to hit. Better still, check the weather app on your phone daily for an idea of weather patterns for the next couple of days.
The weather channel on your local TV is another great way to keep abreast of the current weather patterns in the region. They typically alert you of impending harsh conditions to make the necessary preparations.
A simple search on Google could also help identify potential hints of thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and other harsh weather elements in your region.
2. Protecting Your Home And Personal Effects
The sound of raging thunderstorms can make the home feel like it is Doomsday. With open doors slamming against each other and the foundations of your home trembling, it is important to feel as secure as possible despite the stream of thunder and lightning.
Some of the most important things to sort out before retiring to bed include:
- Use a home lightning protection system: Installing a home lightning protection system can protect your home during severe thunderstorms. These systems may include lightning rods, main conductors, grounds, bonds, and surge protectors.
- Electronic Appliances: Lightning can damage electronic appliances at home by causing power surges. Unplugging these gadgets and appliances from the socket is the best way to protect them during a storm.
- Cars and vehicles: Flooding may cause irreparable damage to cars of all types and since most thunderstorms result in flooding, it is important to keep your vehicles parked securely in the garage. Thunderstorms can also result in falling trees which may cause physical destruction to your car.
- Patio Furniture: Do you have any furniture in your patio and other outdoor areas? Packing them indoors can offer protection against flooding-related physical damage.
- Doors and Windows: Make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked during the expected time of the thunderstorm.
- Homeowners and renter’s insurance coverage: Checking your homeowner’s and renter’s insurance coverage for thunderstorm protection is also very important. Make sure any damages to your home and property from lightning is well-taken care of if the unthinkable happens.
3. Creating A Pleasant Bedroom Environment
The fact that the outdoors may be trembling should even give you more of an incentive to create the most pleasant bedroom environment. Your bedroom should not only be a source of comfort but it should also feature the right conditions to enhance the ability to fall and stay asleep throughout the night.
- Clean the bedroom: Cleaning the bedroom may be a good way to have a pleasant night after getting a storm alert. Good House Keeping says cluttered bedrooms can worsen your anxiety levels and keep you up at night, especially among insomniacs. Clutter may have a distracting influence on the brain which can make nodding off hard to do. The bedroom should be for nothing else apart from sleep and sex, according to Dr. Ilene Rosen, M, D., A Penn Medicine Board Certified physician who specializes in sleep medicine, internal medicine, and pulmonary medicine.
- Change your sheets: If you’ve been sleeping on the same pair of sheets and pillowcases for days, it is time to change them. Do you notice how comfortable the skin feels each time you lie down on a clean pair of bed sheets? The feeling and smell of these fresh bedding could provide superior sedative properties to ensure you can sleep like a baby.
- Get tons of pillows and blankets: Pillows and blankets may also help you sleep through raging storms. Not only can the pillows provide support for the neck and other critical areas, but forming a thick pillow and blanket barrier around you in bed may also increase your sense of safety. This may provide a genuine feeling of protection as the thunder and lightning continue to rumble throughout the night.
- Turn off the lights: Switching off the lights in the whole house is non-negotiable when you’re trying to nod off on a stormy night. Firstly, the power surges from the lightning can easily kill the lightbulbs while the presence of lights could also irritate the eyes and trick the brain into believing that it is still daytime. This can make falling asleep much more difficult.
- Turn off the smartphones: Playing with your smartphone on a scary night of thunderstorms may seem like a good distraction. But this can disturb your sleep due to the blue light emitted by these gadgets. Harvard researchers conducted a study of the effects of exposure to 6.5 hours of blue light compared to green light of similar brightness. The results proved that the blue light inhibits melatonin production for 3 hours compared to the 1.5-hour delay from green light exposure.
- Spray essential oils: Essential oils like vanilla, lavender, and sandalwood can provide magical benefits for sleep. These oils give off aromas renowned for calming the mind and inducing the release of sleep hormones rapidly at night. Before you know it, you’re already on the train to Dreamland and nothing can stand in your way. Essential oils may be used as a sleep aid in a variety of ways including via a diffuser that releases the pleasant scents throughout your bedroom or creating an oil mist with water and spraying through a spray container. Adding a few drops of your favorite oil to your pillow can also work well.
- Light Citrus Candles: The scents from citrus candles may calm the nerves when you’re in fear as a result of the trembling rain. This can make it easier to relax, thereby sending the right signals to the brain to launch the sleep process. Sleep.org says that fruity smells can boost the production of serotonin, an important hormone that makes you feel happy. It also lowers the levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine meaning an easier path to dozing off.
Blocking Out The Roaring Noise
The loud roaring noises coupled with the frightening lightning sounds are one of the main reasons why sleeping in the middle of a storm can be so difficult. Finding a way to quieten these sounds could enable a comfortable night.
Here are a few ways to have a peaceful night despite angry thunderstorms.
4. Noise-Canceling Earphones
Noise-canceling headphones or earphones can be your best buddy during raging storm nights. These headphones are available in different forms, shapes, colors, and prices. Whichever model you choose, make sure it provides deafening of background noises while offering quality sounds for maximum satisfaction.
Additionally, we recommend getting a wireless pair to prevent any issues with wires in the middle of a scary night. But how can you use these headphones for entertainment and distraction from the storms?
I personally use the Cowin E8 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones from Amazon to doze off in noisy environments. It features amazing technology that drowns out background noises so I can focus on listening to relaxing pleasant sounds for satisfying sleep.
ASMR: This is an acronym for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response which is defined as a tingling euphoric and relaxation response to hearing certain sounds, according to Sleep.org. From the sounds of heavy rainfall to watching videos of mundane tasks such as folding clothes, ASMR can offer deep relaxation at bedtime. While ASMR does not work for everyone, a glance on YouTube shows many such videos with tens of millions of views.
Music: Syncing your earphones with iPods can increase the chances of a great night regardless of whatever may be going out there. Music has been found to provide calming effects for the brain which can make it harder to show signs of insomnia even on a furious stormy night. WebMD says that listening to tracks of approximately 60 beats per minute can fast track sleep by helping the body to hit the internal sleep button. “Yes, there is data that suggests that music can help people fall asleep” according to Michael Breus, Ph.D.,upwave sleep expert and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Simple Rules for Losing Weight While You Sleep.
Sleep Podcasts: Did you know that there are podcasts specifically created to be so boring that you fall asleep quickly while listening? Yeah, that’s right, these sleeping podcasts can save you the stress of watching the ceiling at night. Sleep With Me, One-Third of Life, and Slow Radio are a few of the most popular podcasts with tons of listeners all over the world. With the full force of the storm outdoors, these podcasts may come in even more handy as they offer distractions that can launch quick sleep.
Sleep Audiobooks: Listening to audiobooks can also be a good way to sleep through thunderstorms at night. A couple of bedtime audiobooks are available on Audible.com at a fee but a search on the Web could unlock even free ones.
5. Wear Ear Plugs
Want to shield your ears from the forceful rain, thunder, and lightning going on outdoors? Why not get a piece of earplugs. While noise-canceling earphones may allow you to focus on listening to other sound sources while drowning background noises, earplugs block surrounding noises from reaching the ears in the first place.
They may be a good alternative for those who’d rather try to sleep without listening to any kind of music, audiobooks, or sounds. Additionally, earplugs can be quite affordable, making it the obvious choice for those who may be tight with cash.
6. Wear A Hoodie
Wearing big hoodies can also help you block out the sounds of tremor and lightning at night. Once you wear one that is big enough, it should be able to cover both ears and shield it further from the noise.
If you have headphones or earplugs, wearing them in the ears and putting a hoodie over it can bring deafening silence from the furious weather conditions outside. Falling asleep under the hoodie should be much easier afterward.
Besides, some hoodies may be zipped to the face. Not only can these types reduce the noise from the outdoors but may also protect the eyes from the scary lightning
7. Turn On The Fan For White Noise
Many of us are used to hearing the sound of our fan’s blades blistering off at night. During severe storms, this noise can reduce or drown a significant portion of the noise coming from the rain, thunder, and lightning.
Not only that, but the sound of the fan’s blades oscillating at your preferred speeds may also create valuable white noise to aid sleep.
No matter which type of fan you own, switching it on produces sounds at different frequencies which can slowly get you to nod off and wake up feeling extra refreshed in the morning.
Additionally, fans improve air circulation in the bedroom. This may be critical to comfortable breathing especially since you’re likely to have all doors and windows in the bedroom and other parts of the home shut.
The running fan can also regulate the temperature in the bedroom, ensuring that your body temperature cools down to the point where falling asleep should be easy. Again since your windows and doors are likely to be sealed off as a result of the storm, this can be critical to eliminating breathing difficulties.
Not sure whether getting a fan for the bedroom is a good idea? Click the link to read the article we wrote on Why Do Fans Help You Sleep? 5 Top Reasons Explained!
8. Switch to The Basement
Does your home have a basement? A temporary switch can be a great idea to stay out of harm’s way. The good news is that basements do not usually have windows meaning you’re less likely to hear the full force of the storm.
So instead of staying in your regular bedroom, move a mattress or sofa to the basement and create a haven until the morning. Even if you don’t have a basement, moving to another room situated in the middle of the home may shield you from the sounds of the storm and censor you from experiencing the roars of thunder and lightning firsthand from the windows.
This can make it easier to doze off particularly if you have a thunderstorm phobia.
A relaxed mind is a sleepy mind. Even if you have the biggest thunderstorm phobia in the world, finding a way to calm the mind can help you sleep quicker than you could ever imagine. Here are tried and tested techniques that work well:
9. Bring Your Pets Indoors
Your pooch may become startled during thunderstorms leading to loud sounds of whining and barking. This can make life uneasy especially if you’re stuck indoors while your beloved pup is outdoors and being frightened by the constant lightning, thunder, and rain.
Bringing your pets indoors could remove a lot of stress from the mind, especially when you hear loud barks but have no idea what is happening since the dogs are outdoors while you’re indoors. We recommend bringing them to your bedroom or wherever you’re seeking shelter until the storm passes away at least.
Being able to watch over and pat your pets when the storm gets louder can be mind-relaxing for not only the pet but you as well. And the fact that your dogs or cats may be right there in your presence means they’re less likely to be scared of the storm, especially when you’ve taken the right steps to shield the eyes and the ears.
Not sure whether your dogs are better off sleeping indoors? Check out the article we wrote on Should Dogs Sleep Outside? All Your Questions Finally Answered.
10. Read A Book
Reading may be a great distraction during times of bad weather especially when the material is interesting enough. This is recommended for those of us who have a heightened fear of rainfall, thunder, and lightning.
According to Raman Maholtra, M.D., associate professor of neurology at the Washington University Sleep Center in St. Louis, Missouri, reading can be relaxing for the mind and be a great bedtime routine.
Whether you’re a fan of fiction or prefer reading memoirs and true stories, finding an escape from the rough surroundings during bad weather may be crucial. This doesn’t necessarily mean reading only books because even magazines and newspapers can work well.
Don’t have a paperback at home? You can just reach for your Kindle to start going through any interesting material.
Apart from reading, stormy nights can also be a great period to write something down. Have a business plan under development or picked up a new motivational speech that is having a positive influence on your life? Go ahead and write it down.
Now, using a traditional pen and notepad can be difficult since your lights are likely to be turned off during the storm anyway. However, why don’t you reach for the Notes App on your iPhone or iPad and start writing something down? By the time you realize, the storm is over or you’re on the cusp of falling asleep.
11. Teddy Bear Barrier
Do you have a couple of teddy bears lying around in the bedroom? Why not just pack them to create a barrier around your bed while trying to sleep? These stuffed animals may provide a sense of comfort through the frightening storm.
Besides, cuddling your stuffed animal can also make you fall asleep much quicker despite the ongoing trembling in your surroundings. Tuft & Needle says that cuddling releases oxytocin, the hormone that makes humans feel warm, relaxed, and fuzzy. Thus, falling asleep becomes the next logical step.
12. Share A Bed With A Loved One
Sharing a bed with someone may not always be the best especially when that person sleeps hot or has a terrible morning breath. However, finding a way past that can be beneficial especially during those scary nights of loud thunderstorms.
The presence of another person in your bed could help build intimacy while making you feel safe in the face of the obvious adversity outdoors. Also, there’s something about cuddling up to a human that teddy bears and other stuffed animals can never match up to.
According to the Good Body, sleeping next to someone offers benefits including:
- Better sleep quality
- Quicker ability to fall asleep
- More satisfying sleep
- Improved immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Enhanced feel-good factor
- Lower anxiety levels
- Stronger bonds
- Superior anti-aging effects
- Inflammation reduction
Besides, with other members of the household running for cover by converging in one room, you may not have much choice but to share the bed anyway.
13. Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are a tried and tested way of calming the mind for effortless sleep. Whether you’re a chronic insomniac or just going through a recent phase of sleeplessness, these exercises can transform the quality of nighttime rest.
The 4-7-8 method is the most popular deep breathing technique available today and the steps are as follows:
- Empty air from the lungs
- Inhale slowly through the nose for 4 seconds
- Count to 7 seconds while holding your breath
- Breathe out forcefully through the mouth for 8 seconds while pursing the lips and making “whoosh” sounds at the same time
- Repeat the cycle 4 more times
According to Medical News Today, Dr. Andrew Neil, the brain behind this universally acclaimed breathing technique, recommends practicing it at least twice a day to reap the full benefits. Additionally, only do this technique while you’re seated or lying down to prevent signs of disorientation or dizziness.
14. Watch Your Favorite Shows Online
What is your favorite TV show? Streaming it an hour or so before bedtime can help relax the muscles, reduce stress, and enhance sleep. While switching on your TV is a big no-no during thunderstorms, you can stream any shows you want on NetFlix with your smartphone, iPad, or laptop.
Just make sure none of the gadgets are plugged into the power source in your home else you risk causing damage if the currents surge rapidly.
According to HuffPost, Our Planet, Queer Eye, and Salt Fat Acid Heat are a few popular shows you can stream on Netflix to help you sleep.
15. Light Exercise at Home
With thunder and lightning trembling you and your pets in the middle of the night, why not undertake light aerobic exercises as a form of distraction?
We’re not talking about getting on the treadmill and running your heart out. But how about a couple of routines that require little to no equipment? That may provide the light exhaustion you need to sleep as well.
Popular exercises you can do at home on a stormy night just before jumping into bed includes:
- Torso Twists
- Stationary bike rides
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Sleeping through a thunderstorm can be tricky. However, following the tips outlined above could help you navigate those nights perfectly and come out on top.
The key is staying indoors, sealing off doors and windows, and finding ways to blackout the noise. Following a couple of mind-relaxation techniques can also calm down your fears and put you to sleep.