Try these tips to help you nix a fear of the dark and get a better night’s sleep:
1. Reduce any light. If you currently use a nightlight to banish the darkness, start by covering it or moving it to an outlet further away from your bed so there is less light. Do this for a few nights and then progress to turning it off and opening the door or blinds to let a little street light in. “The idea is to get used to sleeping with less and less light, until you are comfortable in complete darkness,” says Dr. Neuman.
2. Talk to your doctor about temporarily using a sleep medication. Neuman says that if you’re having a hard time transitioning from a lighted room to a dark one, taking a sleeping aide for one or two nights could help you get used to snoozing in the dark.
3. Keep a phone nearby. If the phobia is more about a burglar breaking in or someone (or something) hiding under the bed, keep a phone nearby and know that there are people you can call during an emergency. This will help reduce any anxiety.
Getting used to something you’re afraid of is no walk in the park, but if you expose yourself to the fear a little at a time, you can overcome it, according to Neuman.
Now lights off and sweet dreams.
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