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How Do I Overcome a Fear of Night?

A therapist may be able to help with feelings of loneliness and isolation.
One step toward overcoming a fear of night is distinguishing between real dangers and less plausible ones.
People watching a scary movie, which can increase a fear of night.
Watching movies together in a group can help people overcome their night fears.
Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The fear of night usually stems from a fear of the dark, which is in turn often caused by a fear of the unknown, or a loss of control. In order to overcome a fear of night, one should first consider the root cause of such a fear, which may be the darkness, a sense of loneliness or isolation, or anxiety borne from any number of causes. Pinpointing the cause of the fear of night can be difficult, especially if more than one cause exists, but discovering the source of the anxiety can help quell it.

Many people have a fear of night because they fear for their personal safety. While many of these fears of danger are unfounded, there are, of course, real dangers that come with nightfall. One step toward overcoming a fear of night is distinguishing between the real dangers and the less plausible ones. For example, some people fear the darkness after watching a scary movie because their minds replay the frightening images from the film. This is an unfounded danger; it does not actually exist anywhere but in the mind. Such a fear can be debilitating and may only be solved by not watching such films; but, a simple solution, such as a night light, may also allay such fears. If the fear is a persistent one, the night light may help for many nights in a row until the person who fears the dark slowly weans him or herself off the night light.

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But some fears associated with the fear of night are very real. One may become afraid of the night if he or she has a fear of strangers or similar social anxiety. Again, this fear has more to do with a perceived threat from a person or thing, not so much the dark itself. So the person with the fear must identify this cause and learn to cope with that social anxiety instead. Sometimes rationalizing the fear can help — saying things like, "My doors are locked and no one else is here, so I am safe." Making a mental checklist of noises in the night, such as the house settling or a tree branch scraping a window, can help the sufferer to expect those sounds and therefore keep from being frightened.

Other ways to ease anxiety associated with a fear of night is to be prepared. If, for example, a sufferer fears an intruder in the night, it may help to have a plan in case that actually happened. Often, a fear of night can become so severe that professional help is needed. A professional therapist or doctor may be able to help the sufferer trace the fear to its source through therapy or counseling, and in some severe cases, medication may be prescribed to aid sleeping or to ease anxiety.

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Discuss this Article

anon320832
Post 1

I have social anxiety and anxiety at night. It scares me because it's dark and I'm isolated. When I look outside I can't see anything and I feel like I've traveled to another world. I get shaky and dizzy I feel like exploding. I feel like running and hiding but there's no place to go.

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