why are thunderstorms so relaxing

Why are thunderstorms so relaxing?

Searching for a dependable sleep aid can be a never-ending battle for those dealing with sleep deprivation.

With stress levels going up and down like a rollercoaster and health concerns knocking on their doors, they need to find a foolproof method to send them off to dreamland.

And then they hear about the relaxing effects of thunderstorms. But, why are thunderstorms so soothing?

Thunderstorms are relaxing because of the soothing sounds as well as the release of negative ions, which can promote a sense of well-being. 

The Popularity of Thunder Therapy

the popularity of thunder therapy

Just take a gander at Spotify and you will find some impressive thunderstorm playlists.

And it is even easier to find one that mixes rain and is curated by “Sleepy John” and a compilation by Mother Nature Sound FX.

And even better are the ones that let you pick between a Caribbean thunderstorm and a Floridian thunderstorm.

When you catch wind of the “thunder therapy” craze, which involves dozing off to the boisterous rumble of thunder, you might assume that weariness and irritation have driven the drowsy folks to their wits’ end.

But, the truth is that thunder therapy has some scientific evidence to back its effectiveness.

It works for the same reasons many of us find the sound of rainfall so relaxing. 

What Does Science Say?

what does science say

In 2016, researchers at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School revealed that exposure to natural sounds like rain, running water, and thunder calms your mind.

They also found that these sounds physically alter how our brain functions, decreasing our innate “fight or flight” response.

The study also drew parallels between the inwardly focused attention patterns of people who listened to “artificial sounds” (like the “office chatter” and “AC machine” heard on white noise machines).

And compared them to those who listened to natural sounds.

They found that people who listened to natural sounds had a lower prevalence of anxious, depressive, and PTSD symptoms

Why Are Thunderstorms So Relaxing?

soothing charm of thunderstorms

Thunderstorms have a way of stealing our hearts and calming our souls like nothing else can.

While some may feel like a fish out of water, many folks find thunderstorms to be a breath of fresh air.

Let’s delve into the root cause of the soothing impact of thunderstorms:

White Noise and Ambient Sounds

Many people find the white noise and ambient sounds accompanying thunderstorms calming.

Rain, thunder, and wind all working together produce a soothing soundscape that can help mask other distractions and put you at ease.

The masking effect of white noise makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

white noise and ambient sounds

According to studies, white noise can help soothe the nervous system by decreasing the brain’s processing of environmental sounds.

It can help you unwind and calm down so you can get some shut-eye or just take some time for yourself.

Fact: The sound of raindrops on a roof and distant thunder can be as calming as the lapping of waves or the trickle of a stream. 

Release of Negative Ions

It is supposed that thunderstorms help with the release of negative ions, which make you feel calmer.

The air becomes saturated with negative ions during a thunderstorm.

Ions with a negative charge are oxygen atoms or molecules that have lost an electron.

release of negative ions

Places like forests, waterfalls, and the beach have high concentrations of these ions.

Researchers have found that exposure to negative ions improves both mood and health.

Exposure to negative ions raises serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter associated with emotions of well-being and calm.

Fact: Exposure to negative ions can also help you manage the bad effects of stress hormone cortisol in a better way. 

Visual Delights

visual delights

Thunderstorms may produce a breathtaking display of light and sound, which also makes it so relaxing.

Lightning’s stunning flashes can illuminate the night sky and inspire feelings of amazement and wonder.

It also has the ability to generate intricate patterns and colors that may be both interesting and calming to observe.

That is why many people find these storms visually soothing. It is usually because of the stark contrast between the gloomy sky and the bright flashes of electricity.

Witnessing the sheer strength and beauty of nature during a thunderstorm can help us feel humbled and at peace. 

Psychological Factors

psychological factors

Thunderstorms are calming because they evoke positive psychological associations and memories for many people.

The recollection of past experiences can establish an emotional bond with thunderstorms, which may enhance their calming impact.

In addition, thunderstorms can serve as a symbolic representation of a brief break from the everyday demands of life.

The sound of raindrops and thunder can create a feeling of comfort and relaxation, much like the sensation of being nestled in a cozy and secure space.

Fact: For many people, thunderstorms can be inherently soothing due to their association with feelings of safety and shelter. 

Sense of Renewal

sense of renewal

The weather is always more pleasant after a thunderstorm, which brings a sense of renewal and makes you feel relaxed.

After a storm, the air is cleaner and cooler because the rain has washed away the dust and pollution.

When rain falls on dry ground, it releases a pleasant aroma known as petrichor, commonly associated with a storm’s arrival.

This one-of-a-kind aroma has the power to revitalize and refresh. 

Release of Pent-Up Energies

release of pent-up energies

Thunderstorms, with all their vigor and might, can stand in for the letting go and purging of negative feelings.

A thunderstorm’s lighting and thunder might represent the emancipation of suppressed feelings or the cleansing of accumulated negativity.

As a metaphorical cleaning that allows you to let go of worry, anxiety, or emotional baggage, many individuals find comfort in the concept that a thunderstorm might serve as a source of relief.

Fact: Experiencing the sheer power of a storm firsthand can be a very cathartic and therapeutic event. 

Connection with Nature

Thunderstorms provide a profound opportunity to feel connected with the natural forces, which is empowering and relaxing.

It is easy to lose touch with nature in today’s fast-paced, high-tech, urbanized society.

Thunderstorms can help us feel more connected to nature and remind us of our role in the broader ecology.

The sensory experience of a thunderstorm might reawaken our innate affinity with the natural world.

This bond has the potential to be extremely stabilizing and calming, reestablishing a balance in your life. 

How to Use Thunder Therapy for Better Sleep

using thunder therapy for better sleep

Now you may have gathered the idea why some people find thunderstorms so soothing. But, interestingly, you can also use the same to improve your sleep quality.

Of course, you have to experiment a little to determine what works for you.

But, remember, even when you find thunderstorms relaxing, it can be a bit tricky to learn how to use their power for better sleep

Things to Remember to Use Thunderstorms for Better Sleep

Here are a few things you can do when using thunder therapy to get better results:

  • Find the best soundscapes and apps to help make sound therapy more effective.
  • Find and stick to a calming bedtime routine that also includes thunder therapy.
  • Invest in noise-blocking earbuds to block out external sounds when using thunder therapy.
  • Experiment with volume to determine the best settings to get the best results out of your therapy.
  • Work on creating a sleep-friendly environment by using the right lighting and temperature.
  • Minimize your exposure to electronic devices before going to bed.
  • Find a routine and be consistent to be able to feel relaxed and sleep better.
thunderstorm sleep tips

What’s more, you should consider using thunder therapy with other relaxation techniques.

For instance, some people get good results when they combine thunder therapy with other activities like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, etc.

Give these practices a shot and find the best combination to get the desired results. 


So, you know – why are thunderstorms so relaxing? 

Thunderstorms have a calming influence on us for many reasons, like the sounds they make, the negative ions they release, the sights they present, and of course the memories they evoke.

Thunderstorms have a remarkable power to generate a sense of peace and provide temporary relief from the rigors of daily life.

They have a calming effect and can help us appreciate the natural world and take a break from our hectic lives.