Did you ever notice how utterly alone you feel at night? How completely vulnerable you feel? It’s not just you; every human being on this earth shares these feelings. It seems like the later we stay up, the worse it becomes. Then the dawn arrives, and we realize that we’ve made it through yet another night unharmed.
Did you ever wonder why you feel this way? Why everyone feels this way? It’s because, when it comes down to it, we are all afraid of the dark.
Don’t laugh. I know, it seems silly; you’re probably thinking to yourself that you haven’t been afraid of the dark since you had your mom put away your night light when you were nine. You told her you didn’t need it anymore, that it was for babies, and you refused to listen to her pleas that you may regret getting rid of it. You persisted, though, and it got packed away, where it now sits dusty and forgotten in a cabinet. And even though you were still terrified once she shut your bedroom door, and your room was plunged into complete blackness, you refused to give in and plug that night light in once more.
But there’s something about the fear of the dark that’s a basic, primal fear we all share. It’s almost as though it’s embedded into our DNA, a trait left over from our long-dead predecessors. What’s more, we’re all afraid of being alone in the dark. This, I’m most certain, has been passed down to us from our ancestors.
Think about it. For our ancestors from long, long ago, such vulnerability was literal. Under cover of darkness, they were more exposed, more likely to being attacked while they slept. They had a real reason to be afraid of the night. Just having someone beside them made them feel safer as they lay down to sleep. That feeling, that sense of security we have when we sleep with another, that has been passed down to us.
While we no longer fear nighttime assaults, we still dislike sleeping alone. We all crave another warm, human body next to us in bed. We crave this, because it’s simply how it should be. No one should sleep alone. This is why, if we must sleep alone, we try to fight off sleep as long as we can. We stay up all hours of the night, glued to our computer screens, our phones and our televisions. The glow of these devices keeps the darkness away, keeps the loneliness at bay.
We know, instinctively, that should we shut our devices off, and go curl up alone in bed, there might still be something lurking, just waiting for us to let our guard down. Maybe it’s more than just a possibility-maybe it’s a probability.
Why do you think there’s so many insomniacs nowadays? Why do we have so many people unwilling to go to bed alone? People have problems sleeping because they know what lies in wait, just outside the edge of consciousness.
Maybe the monsters poised to attack aren’t physical beings anymore. Maybe they live within ourselves, within our very minds. Oh, do we ever still have reasons to fear the dark.