Summer is the season for thunderstorms, no matter where in the eastern United States you live. While a rainstorm can be quite welcomed on a hot day and even pretty to watch from inside the house, there’s no denying they are hard to sleep through. The loud thunder can jolt you right out of bed! Bright lightning striking at night is enough to wake you up, too. For those with Sleep Apnea, the danger is even more severe. According to Harvard Health, those who suffer from severe Sleep Apnea are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke during a thunderstorm because of changes in the atmospheric pressure.
While summer thunderstorms are associated with some sleep trouble, it doesn’t need to be this way. Here’s what you can do to make sure your body gets the deep sleep you need, regardless of what is going on outside.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
The most important thing to do if you regularly experience fragmented sleep whenever a thunderstorm occurs is to know in advance when one is on its way. Check up on the local weather regularly. This can easily be done by reading the local forecast in the newspaper, following the weather team on social media, or watching your local television newscast. When you know a massive storm is on its way, you can be better prepared and have everything ready.
However prepared you need to be, it’s important not to focus so much on the impending storm that you experience anxiety. Think calming thoughts and keep them off of the storm. Talk with a friend on the phone or read a book until bedtime. Anxiety is naturally the exact opposite of the calm feeling you need to fall asleep, so don’t dwell on the impending storm.
Block out Noise and Light
The two main sleep disruptors from a thunderstorm are the noise and the flashes of light. To get to sleep you will need to drown out the crashing thunder. One method is to use earplugs. You can buy these at any pharmacy in a variety of kinds, including foam, cotton, or wax. If you don’t find ear plugs comfortable enough to fall asleep, try listening to soothing music or even a white noise machine.
Next you’ll need to block out the light too. This can be done easily with blackout curtains. You may also want to try turning on a dim light or a night light. This may help because a soft light can diminish the contrast between total darkness and flashes of light from lightning. When it isn’t going from pitch black to bright, you’re less likely to startle awake. A sleep mask is a tried-and-true method to block out light when you sleep, too.
Create a Cozy Cocoon for Yourself
Find some comfortable, heavy blankets and big pillows when you know that a storm is coming and create a cozy sleep oasis. These can block out the storm mentally so you feel like you’re in a safe cocoon. If you regularly experience anxiety and sleepless nights, you may want to invest in a weighted blanket before the storm arrives. Weighted blankets have shown positive results for several conditions, including anxiety. They can help calm a restless body, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve sleep troubles- whether there is a storm outside or not.
You won’t stay cozy for long on an uncomfortable, hard, or lumpy mattress. A big part of creating the perfect sleep cocoon is your mattress. A new, high-quality mattress may be just the thing you need to settle in for the night. Particularly if you are one of the Sleep Apnea sufferers mentioned above, and an adjustable bed base can be a big help too. Raising your body up is a great way to combat Sleep Apnea, so you’re less likely to experience snoring, gasping for breath, and other symptoms associated with it.
A night of restless sleep is not something to take lightly. Sleep is necessary to keep your brain and central nervous system functioning properly, and not getting enough sleep for just one night messes this all up. Since it’s summer time, you know these storms come frequently and it won’t be just one night! Frequent sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain, mood disorders, getting sick more often, injuries and accidents, poor work performance, and much more. That is why you should do what it takes to be satisfied with your night of sleep, even if there is lightning, thunder, and heavy rain outside your window.