Is America Afraid of the Dark?

There are plenty of things to be afraid of when you’re a kid — dogs, thunder and lightning, loud noises — but the fear that most people experience most is the fear of the dark. Unlike most childhood fears, it’s one that plenty of people never grow out of. Research shows that it’s not the darkness itself that’s frightening; it’s the fear of what the darkness masks. The dark leaves us vulnerable and exposed, unable to spot any threats that may be lurking nearby. For much of human history, dark meant danger, and fearing it meant taking precautions to stay safe. As children, our brains equate darkness with the frightening side of a number of unlimited possibilities, but as we age, we typically learn to disregard that link. Surprisingly, a whopping 64% of adults in a new survey have admitted that they’re still scared of the dark. According to the research, when it comes to worrying, the most common time for adults to become alarmed is 2:30 a.m. The problem is, fear of the dark triggers are so incredibly common, and unlike the fear of snakes or amusement park rides, it’s a fear that’s nearly impossible to contain. Once the lights go out, it builds and spreads, manifesting as a fear of what’s in the room to whatever your imagination can conjure up. Nighty night.