If you're having trouble sleeping, you might not have some complex mental problem; you might just have a good old-fashioned fear of things that go bump in the night. At least that's what a new study has found. Researchers studied a group of college in Toronto and found that almost half of them who said they slept poorly also said they had a fear of the dark. Umm, why did no one think to ask that question earlier since almost all humans start out life with at least a slight fear of a pitch black room?
Their fear was confirmed when researchers measured the students' blink responses to sudden bursts of noise while they were in both the light and the dark, and they found that the students who slept well got used to the noise bursts but the poor sleepers grew "more anticipatory" when it was dark. That makes sense since darkness is totally freaky and is the favored lighting of monsters and vampires. Taryn Moss, lead author of the study, explains how this has gone unnoticed before,
As treatment providers, we assume that poor sleepers become tense when the lights go out because they associate the bed with being unable to sleep. Now we're wondering how many people actually have an active and untreated phobia.
Well, fortunately, it's a pretty easy phobia to work around if you've got it. All we dark-haters have to do is install a nightlight (or three) and do a pre-sleep check under the bed for monsters, and hopefully we'll be snoozing like babies in no time.
Image via Everett Collection/Shutterstock.