Insomnia may be caused by being afraid of the dark - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Insomnia may be caused by being afraid of the dark

Posted: Updated:

It's not just children who are afraid of the dark, the phobia can affect adults as well.  This fear may be one of the triggers for insomnia.

Being afraid of the dark may be one reason adults suffer from insomnia, according to a new study out of Toronto.  Researchers enrolled 93 college students in the study.  Almost half who had trouble sleeping said they were afraid of the dark.  The scientists confirmed this by measuring eye blinking responses to sudden bursts of white noise when lights were turned on and then in the dark.  Good sleepers got used to the noise, while poor sleepers got more anxious from the sounds when the lights went out.   

The researchers say many people with insomnia become tense at night because they associate the bed with being unable to sleep.  But this study suggests that for some,  fear of the dark, considered a phobia, triggers the insomnia instead.   

More studies need to be done to confirm this link, but if it proves to be true, then those with phobia induced insomnia will need different types of treatments than those whose insomnia is not caused by fear of the dark.