Why does the old man snore when it rains and pours?

We all know that nursery rhyme: the old man then went to bed and bumped his head, and then couldn’t get up the next morning (if I hit myself that badly, I wouldn’t get up either)

Free Clipart

Free Clipart

Here’s the full version of it:

It's raining; it's pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And he wouldn't get up in the morning

This summer in New England, we’ve gotten a lot of rain (at least it seems so by the number of times an outdoor event I planned, got cancelled). This got me thinking: every time when it rains or it pours, why are we so sluggish and blah ending up, well, sleeping and “snoring”?

 

Dreary weather, dreary mood.

From what I’ve experienced with the people around me and myself, cold gray days tend to bring a depressed mood to people. This may be linked to a post I’ve written a while back called Seasonal Affective Disorder (coincidental acronym of SAD). SAD is a type of depression, that normally occurs during the late fall and wintertime when there is a lack of natural light that occurs within the day. These effects can however also occur when it rains a lot and for consecutive days.

 

When it’s gray outside, some people’s bodies may not be able to produce enough serotonin. Serotonin is our body’s mood enhancer and rate of production of serotonin is known to be enhanced by sunlight.
Rain = no sunlight = less serotonin.

Additionally, melatonin may be produced more during gloomy days. Melatonin is a chemical in our bodies that makes us relaxed and sleep. The production of melatonin normally occurs when it is dark.
Rain = no sun = more melatonin = more sleep = sluggishness.
Catch my drift? Increased production of melatonin when its dark is probably why we are so sleepy during rainy days. 

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head (and making a noise)

But rain isn’t so bad! I know I’ve been talking about dreary weather creating dreary moods, however the sound of rain falling can be quite soothing. Sometimes when I turn on the radio and I'm in the mood for some extra relaxation, I go to this website and play this in the background.

http://www.rainymood.com/

But why is that? Why can the sound of raindrops be calming and relaxing?

Rain falling produces a “white noise,” a type of noise that combines sounds of all different frequencies together to create random noise that remains in the background of what we may be doing rather than distracting us. Other examples of white noise are muffled voices, or a fan blowing.

Though there is lack of sunlight, the sounds and rhythms of raindrops can encourage us to relax, sort of like a natural lullaby.

 

“Storm’s a-coming… I can feel it in my bones”

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, maybe from your grandma; she can sense a change in the weather by feeling something in her body. It may sound weird at first but it does make sense.

Atmospheric pressure at the Earth's surface is one of the key factors to weather conditions. Im sure you’ve noticed when you watch the weather forecast on TV, you see those iconic H’S and L’S; those represent areas of high and low air pressure.

A) High pressure system bringing good weather B) Low pressure system bringing bad weather

A) High pressure system bringing good weather B) Low pressure system bringing bad weather

Low atmospheric is usually associated with bad weather (so if you want an outdoor event to occur, you want an H hovering over your area on the weather map). When low atmospheric pressure happens, the winds are converging together, increasing the pressure pressing against the Earth’s surface. When this happens, that pressure is also pressing against your body. Some people may be extra sensitive to changes in pressure where joints and areas that are injured can get worse and swell which then can snowball from there, from increased swelling, pain, and inflammation.

So if we feel pain in our bodies during times of bad weather, this feeling can also account for our moodiness and sensitivity.

 

Weather plays a huge role in our lives, whether it’s planning events outside, to our daily moods and health.

But there’s nothing wrong with a few drops of rain; on the bright side it does make our plants grow :D