Why The Sound of Rain is Basically an Adult Lullaby

I love the sound of rain on the roof. Particularly in the evening when my children are blissfully asleep and I have a glass of red nearby. And chocolate. Why is it that this sound can take relaxation to the next level?

While the seasonal weather adjustments of autumn and winter can be associated with depression in some (commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or ironically, SAD for short). The reason behind the shift in emotions is thought to be related to decreased sunlight exposure which in turn affects our natural biological clock – the regulator of hormones, sleep and moods. 

As long as I can still get lots of fresh air, I’m a lover of the odd vicious, stormy eve. And there is definitely something soothing about the tune of rain teeming down on the roof. 

Clever people like mental health writer, Emily Mendez, have studied the effects of the sound of rain and why so many of us love it. “Rain has a regular, predictable pattern,” said Emily. “Our brain processes it as a calming, non-threatening noise.”

Our brain (and perhaps even cat’s brains) perceive the sound of rain as a non-threat, hence helping us to relax and sleep better at night.

I’m quickly reminded that I used YouTube clips aplenty recently for hushing my six-month-old to sleep. It’s clearly a repetitive and soothing sound for all ages.

Along with being a non-threat, rain and its repetitive sounds can also block out or reduce other noises. Probably why it’s also common to get a better night’s sleep in a downpour.

“[The sound of rain] can also mask an external acoustic insult, like a housemate flushing the toilet,” explains associate professor of biobehavioral health Orfeu Buxton. 

I wonder if it helps to mask the sounds of snoring partners?

By Pamela McIntosh