Going to sleep can be a nightmare if you’re scared of the dark. Many adults, as well as children, have a fear of the dark, so there’s no reason to be ashamed of your fear, regardless of your age. Adjusting your perspective and working to make your bedroom feel comfortable and inviting — even when the lights are turned off — is the key to overcoming your nyctophobia. Here are a few tips to do that effectively.
Gradually Lessen the Light
To overcome your fear of the dark, you don’t have to switch off all of your lights at once. To begin, you should understand that sleeping in the dark promotes a deeper, more restful sleep than sleeping with the lights on. Use this as a starting point to motivate yourself to sleep in the dark. If you have a fear of sleeping with all the lights on, begin by dimming the lights before going to bed, or even turning off some of the lights if you wake up in the night.
This will help you gradually adjust to sleeping in the dark. You can set a target for yourself, such as agreeing that you’d be fine sleeping with just a nightlight on or just one light on in the other bed.
Leave the Light on If It Bothers You
Don’t be embarrassed to use a nightlight or dimmable, low-level LED bulbs, which all offer sleep-inducing light. If this alleviates your fears and makes you feel less afraid, you shouldn’t feel obligated to fully abandon it to avoid being afraid. Furthermore, putting a nightlight on in the hall or a light on in the other room will make it easier to get around if you wake up and need to use the restroom. Many people sleep with a light on in their room.
You don’t have to sleep in complete darkness to overcome your fear of the dark.
Try to Sleep Alone
If you’re scared of the dark, you might want to sleep near your parents, siblings, or maybe even your pet in the same room. However, if you want to overcome your anxiety, you must learn to regard your bed as a secure place where you can spend time alone. If you’re used to having sleepovers with your parents or siblings, try spending half the night with them and then gradually moving away from them to sleep alone.
If you have a beloved dog or cat, they can be a great source of warmth, and sleeping with them can help you relax. However, you shouldn’t count on them staying in bed indefinitely. It should be enough if they sleep at your feet or in your bed.
Calm Yourself Down Before Bed
To do this, you will have to give yourself enough time to relax before going to bed. You can do this by starting to turn off your electronic devices at least half an hour before bed and trying mindful practices like meditation. Other things you can do are drinking chamomile tea, listening to some soft music, reading a book, or simply cuddling with your pet. You must also try to avoid any violent news or TV shows that can make you more anxious or afraid.
Try Changing Your Perspective
One of the reasons you’re afraid of the dark is that you believe it’s bad, terrible, darkly mysterious, or any number of other negative things. You must, however, focus on creating constructive relationships with the darkness if you want to begin accepting it. It can be relaxing, cleansing, or even soothing, like a thick, velvet blanket. You’ll soon be able to tolerate the dark if you work on improving your view of it. Make a list of all the things that you equate with darkness.
You should cross them out or rip up this piece of paper, as ridiculous as it might sound. After that, make a list of fresh, more optimistic connections. If this sounds too corny, say it out loud instead.
Make Your Room a Safe Place
One way to tackle what you fear to make your bed a welcoming, comfortable space for you to sleep in. Keep it tidy so there’s less fear of something lurking under a pile of clothes or in a cluttered wardrobe. Aim for soft, bright colors in your room to create a more relaxing and optimistic atmosphere. If your room is too crowded with furniture, you can feel suffocated. You’ll be more likely to feel comfortable in your space if you work to make it a more productive environment.
Display photos that make you feel comfortable and secure. If you keep images that are dark, obscure, or even threatening on your walls, you might be increasing your fear without even realizing it.
Challenge What You Fear
Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of before you go to bed. If you suspect someone is hidden in your wardrobe, under your bed, or even behind a chair in the corner of your room, you should investigate. Demonstrate that there’s nothing to see and nothing to be concerned about. You’ll be proud of yourself for overcoming your doubts, and you’ll be able to sleep better as a result.
If, for example, shakes, thumps, and other noises awaken you in the middle of the night, you can use a white noise machine or an app that plays natural sounds to mask the unexplained noises in your home.
Think of Something Funny
When you’re afraid, think about the funny things that happen in your life or about something you saw or read, such as when someone walks through a glass door, gets up, looks around, and walks back into it before opening the door. If you’re afraid, try to recall any amusing incidents from your day or week.
Concentrate on Other Sounds
Sound will help you overcome your fear of being alone in the dark. For example, you can turn on a sound machine or turn on the air conditioner to drown out the creepy noises. Play some songs. Play classical, light, or some other soothing music on a stereo or computer all night if possible. You can even play a soothing animation to go with your music if you use Windows Media Player, and it will cast more light in your bed.
Get Professional Help If You Need It
The reality is that you will not always be able to completely overcome fear, but you can take steps to make it more bearable. If your fear of the dark is incapacitating you, causing you to lose sleep and making your life intolerable, it’s time to seek clinical treatment and talk about your anxieties and their wider consequences. It’s important to remember that you should never be afraid to ask for assistance. You should discuss your anxiety with your doctor and see if it is debilitating; he can suggest medicine or the best course of action. You’ll also be able to address any underlying anxieties that might be causing your anxiety.