How to Sleep Through a Thunderstorm

how to sleep in a thunderstorm

Most of us do not usually fear thunderstorms “during the daylight”. But bring on the dark night with lightning, thunder, rain and howling winds and it can make the bravest of us a little less than confident. Especially if we are all alone.

To sleep through a thunderstorm you need to be organized, calm and prepared. You will probably not get your normal night of sleep if the storm continues most of the night. Determining if there will be a thunderstorm, when is it likely to arrive and preparing yourself and your home for the night will help you sleep.

Being organized is the key to any situation. Especially if you or someone you are with has a fear or phobia of thunderstorms, hurricanes or tornados. Use the tips below to help you achieve the most sleep you can during a thunderstorm.

sleeping in a thunderstorm

Will There Be a Thunderstorm?

Keeping up to date when you first discover that there could be a storm on the way is the first step in being organized.

You will get information from a local television or radio news forecast. Telephone applications and websites are another way to access information about storms that could be brewing.

You can even set up weather alerts that will arrive at your telephone when new updates arrive.

If you do live in a storm-prone area owning your own barometer is another way to read a storm right at your home. Make it a priority to learn to use one correctly.

Sleep in a Storm

1. Preparing for a Storm

Know Where You Live

Knowing the weather patterns where you live can help you be prepared. (get to know your surrounding areas as well)

Find out what sort of weather you can expect in the area that you live in.

You should also remember that thunderstorms and hurricanes can be predicted so there is time to prepare for the weather event.

Tornados, on the other hand, are known to develop quickly from a thunderstorm.

These days most areas are well prepared for storms and other weather patterns and events.

You can obtain storm readiness plans for your area from:-

  • official local and government websites
  • meteorological websites
  • applications on smart telephones
  • printed handouts from local stores, schools, and even the library

Make sure you are up to date with your community emergency or disaster plan – just in case the worst happens.

2. Supplies

Ensuring you have the essential supplies to see you through the storm plus enough for a couple of days following the storm can be a huge relief for some who may be afraid of what is to come. We can never predict what storm damage may occur – power outages, road closures, tree damage, flooding…

Don’t assume that because you do not live an isolated area you will not be affected by a thunderstorm. Power loss at the very least is quite common.


Gone are the days of burning candles for a light source. In fact, it is downright dangerous to be burning candles for light, relaxation or any other reason during a storm.

The best choice, of course, is LED battery-operated torches or camping lanterns. They give off an enormous amount of light and after you purchase a couple of the lanterns you will use them all the time for various needs around the house and yard.

A handheld flash LED flashlight should also be on hand.

The best part is all you need to make them work are suitable batteries.

See an awesomely economical range here at Amazon you will be surprised at how many different kinds are available.


Battery operated radio is a must to keep up to date with the progress of the storm, what is going on in your area and entertainment – if the power goes out.


Don’t forget the spare batteries for all your devices, flashlights, lamps, radio…


Before purchasing perishables remember what you have in the fridge and freezer at home and buy groceries which will support using these up first. “Just in case the power goes out – you don’t want to lose the items you have already purchased”.

Purchasing a couple of days worth of perishables including long-life milk, canned food, cereals anything you can think of that does not need heating or cooling is great.

Protein bars or shakes that can be mixed with water – in case of an emergency…


If you are isolated ensure you have enough water for a couple of days – water will not be wasted you can always use it. About one gallon for each person per day is recommended by The Red Cross.


If you require supplies for heating your home, as with water make sure you have enough for a couple of days.

Mobile Telephone Charger

I know you have an electric one at home but if the power goes out you will not be able to charge your phone or other devices.

Portable Chargers are external battery packs (see here at Amazon) that can be used for mobile phones, iPad, Nintendo switch, tablets and other devices that require charging.

Solar Chargers the charger is charged by the sun so you can then charge your mobile phone or other devices I like this one from Amazon because it is has a built-in LED flashlight and is rainproof perfect for emergencies.

Supplies You Could Forget About

  • Insect repellent
  • Extra baby supplies – formula, diapers, baby food
  • Personal hygiene and sanitary gear
  • First aid kit – if you have one already make sure it is fully stocked
  • Medications – ensure you have enough on hand for a week
  • Pet supplies – food, kitty litter, medication
  • Fuel – make sure your car has a full tank of gas

Prepare Your Home for Sleeping Through a Thunderstorm

Why not prepare your own “Storm Routine” – having these plans will most certainly keep you organized which in turn will keep you calm.

3. Secure Outside as Well as Your Home

Some people only remember to secure the house but one of the first things I do every time I hear a storm could be approaching is to make sure outside the house everything is secure.

I do not want to be going outside for any reason when the storm is in progress so I don’t want things to start blowing around in wild winds.

A couple of things I always check are:-

  • doors and windows to outbuildings, barns, and sheds are closed tightly – boarded up if required
  • any furniture or other items that could blow around in the wind I secure or put away
  • light pot plants (hanging pots) can be tucked away – they will cause damage if lifted or blown around in a storm
  • cars put away or undercover – if possible
  • keeping gutters clean will help stop overflow and possible flooding inside your home

4. How Windy Will It Get

Often times the worst part of a thunderstorm is the wind that arrives well before the rain and hail. Sleeping through loud winds could be almost impossible. If you want a lot more information about how to sleep when it is windy outside go here and check out my article with tips to help you.

5. Pets and Animals

Make sure you prepare your pets and other animals pets tend to become very distressed when the wind, thunder, and lightning begins.

The best place for your pet is of course by your side – especially if you are alone but everyone has different requirements for their pets be sure to include this in your “Storm Routine”.

6. Preparing Inside Your Home

Go around your home and shut as many windows and doors as you can before the storm hits. Obviously, if the weather is warm you will need to leave some open for fresh air until the storm starts.

Check around the door and window frames see if there are any obvious cracks or holes where wind, rain or flashing lightning can enter.

You will feel more secure if you seal these areas up. You can use a sealant or if in a hurry just stuff some newspaper or tear up some old rags and stuff in there for this weather event.

Remind yourself at a later date to try a more permanent patch-up job on any large holes or cracks.

7. Before Bed

Burning your favorite scents to help you relax. You can use a candle, but I would strongly discourage you to do so in a storm situation. I have a great article here about burning candles and sleep. Relaxation oils in a spray bottle or a couple of drops on your pillow will work just as well as scented candles.

If you are not alone playing cards or boards games is a great way to forget about what’s going on outside, also makes you tired and ready for bed.

If you are alone reading also has the same relaxing effect don’t forget handheld games you can play alone. One of my favorite ways to distract myself is watching a favorite movie I have seen a thousand times before. I find it allows me to still be aware of what is happening around me while enjoying something I love.

TIP – start reading early you can read longer become more relaxed and possibly go to sleep before the storm commences.

8. Where Will You Sleep

Do you have any windows in your bedroom that are not covered so you can see the storm?

Sleeping in another part of the house during a storm could be an option and the middle of a house, as opposed to the outer edges with windows and doors, will make you feel safer.

Do you share your home with someone that is not a partner may be a flatmate or a family member? Why not pull your mattresses off your beds for one night and share a safe room in the house together. This is a great distraction and you would be surprised at how much safer you feel.

9. Preparing for Bed

If the noise outside is loud and you cannot settle down to sleep you can use your own noise to your advantage.

This can come in the form of earplugs, earphones with your favorite music playing, a white noise machine or a fan.

Close all your windows, shades, and block out curtains and snuggle down. If the weather is cold make sure you have all your favorite warm pajamas and extra throw rugs out to keep you snuggly warm. Every little bit helps!

10. Relaxation

Okay so you are all rugged up and ready to get some sleep but you are wide awake. Relax you can either keep reading if you feel up to it or you can start some deep breathing methods and try to sleep.

Why not try a sleep story – this is where some else reads you a favorite story or even a new one. Check ‘sleep stories’ out in my article here…

Keeping up to date with a Storms Progress

Providing you have power or batteries keeping a close watch on a storm these days is relatively easy.

  1. Television Coverage
  2. Radio Coverage
  3. Meteorological Websites
  4. Applications

Emergency Bag

An emergency bag is one that is packed and ready to go. It should be small enough for you can carry if you need to walk any distance. A backpack would be great because it frees up your hands for other things.

You should pack:-

  • Medication – double packed in ziplock bags – so they are kept dry
  • Phone charger – we all have different phones you need to be able to charge yours anywhere – look into solar-powered chargers
  • Identification – drivers license, passport, light bill
  • Packaged easy assessable foods – here’s where the protein bars and shakes come in great – light and easy to carry

To Finish – How to Sleep Through a Thunderstorm

Worrying about sleeping through a thunderstorm will make it harder for you to settle down for the night.

  • Try out some of the tips above
  • Get your storm routine in check so you feel as though you have a little more control when you know a storm is approaching
  • And lastly, if you don’t get enough sleep during a storm one night, relax and go to bed early the next evening for a big long snooze!

Emergencies or Injuries During a Thunderstorm

Immediately call 9-1-1 if telephone communication is available. If not send for help.

Footage of a Severe Destructive Thunderstorm

In the footage below, unfortunately, you can see how destructive thunderstorms can be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Should You Go During a Thunderstorm?

Firstly, if you are already indoors staying there this is the best option. Remembering that a normal storm cell will pass in about 30 – 45 minutes.

Unfortunately, as we know the build-up to the storm is sometimes longer than the storm itself.

A Couple of Things to Avoid in the Storm

  • Electrical appliances – computers, telephones, appliances for cooking
  • Water
  • Porches, windows, and doors

If you are outdoors getting to shelter quickly is a good idea. Just choose your shelter carefully.

Some Suggestions to Consider


  • Safe Building
  • Stay Low
  • If you are out in the open and there is no shelter to be found staying low is the safest place. Down the bottom of a hill, ditch, hollow
  • Vehicle – not the best choice but better than out in the open – keep windows up


  • Do not stay out in the open
  • Stay out of fields and do not climb into a tree
  • Stay away from water – as water and electricity do not mix
  • Stay away from metal shelters if possible – tents or campground and park pavilions. These also include sheds, bleachers and dugouts at the baseball field.

How Long Can Thunderstorms Last?

Thunderstorms are said to average about 30 minutes in this cell they can produce very strong winds, thunder, lightning, hail and sometimes they can turn into tornadoes.

How Can I Get over My Fear of Thunderstorms?

If you have a real fear of thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornados you are not alone it is reported that one in ten Americans may suffer from “Astraphobia”.

Astraphobia is a fear of thunder and lightning and Lilapsolphobia is the more severe fear of hurricanes and tornados.

Most of us usually grow up with these fears because we have observed others. Parents, family, and friends who may or may not have a fear of storms.

As we know children are impressionable and may not be able to discern between fun and phobia.

Some will have been affected directly by the weather event and have been left traumatized. This event could also have left you with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is a very serious condition and professional medical assistance is required to manage the disorder.

The information above should be enough to have you well prepared for a storm situation.

If you feel that the information above would still not help you sleep through a thunderstorm you may want to enlist a professional to help you with your fears.

By Michelle D.

Meet Michelle, founder of Tip Top Sleep, a website dedicated to helping you achieve the best sleep possible. With over 50 years of combined experience in the realm of sleep, Michelle and her team provide easy-to-follow tips and strategies to help you feel better, function better, and live better through optimal sleep. Let us help you prioritize your sleep and discover the power of a good night's rest.