Your Insomnia May Result from Fear of the Dark
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Your Insomnia May Result from Fear of the Dark

One of the causes of insomnia may be a deep-seated fear of the dark. Achluophobia may be linked to primitive man's survival by giving him a sense of awareness during sleep.resulting in an inability to sleep soundly or waking often. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been very successful in curing this condition.

Achluophobia or Fear of the Dark--An acient defense

Colleen Carney is the director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University Sleep Lab in Toronto.  She discovered during interviews with people in her study that many of them were very fearful of the dark, but they did not relate their fear to the insomnia.  She emphasized that understanding the connection between this phobia and insomnia would require more studies, but it  does provide a new line of study.

A study of predator behavior shows that humans had reasons to fear darkness in the distant reaches of evolutionary time.  When primative man struggled against predators that hunted at night, he had to be cautious and secure his sleeping place against creatures like wolves, tigers, or lions that hunted at night.  In some people this ancient memory is still trying to provide protection.  

How to Help Yourself

One of the challenges of curing a phobia is that it is unreasonable.  It doesn't matter that there is nothing in the dark that is dangerous--the person who finds herself in the gripe of a phobia is still fearful.. Cognitive Behavior Therapists have real success in treating Fear of the Dark or Achluophobia, but since it may be the underlying cause of the insomnia, you may get a jump start on the therapy by examining that yourself.. 

Don't make the therapist responsible for uncovering the Fear of the Dark.  Make that a primary part of your therapy even if you initially go for treatment of insomnia..  Do night sounds alarm you?  Note them and make a list for the therapist.  Do you get tense when you enter a dark room?  Do you watch movies of TV shows that exacerbate your fears?  These habits or conditions are things you can control.  Don't torture yourself by adding unnecessarily.  

The Next Step

If you believe your insomnia is related to a deep-seated Fear of the Dark that hinders a full lifestyle, by all means,  consult a professional who will examine with you the causes of your distress and try a behavioral treatment without the use of drugs.

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