People Who Are Afraid Of The Dark Aren't Immature, They're Imaginative

Everyone has their own unique compilation of fears and phobias.

Maybe you're afraid of pancakes like Kendall Jenner.

Or maybe, it's visions of creepy, murderous clowns that keep you up late at night.

If your worst nightmares include something a little more common, like, you know, having a damn heart attack every time you're forced to venture into the darkness, you're not alone.

Fear of darkness, known as nyctophobia (or achluophobia in extreme forms), is actually a pretty common condition that many people can't seem to shake, even as adults.

In fact, a 2012 UK survey found that nearly 40 percent of respondents were afraid to wander around their houses with the lights off, and 10 percent of the survey participants admitted they were so fearful of the dark, they wouldn't even leave the safety of their beds to use the bathroom at night.

I've been afraid of the dark ever since I was a little kid, and even at the age of 24, I still leave the hallway lights on when I go to sleep because the thought of total darkness seriously scares the shit out of me.

I also make my boyfriend check the closet for monsters and serial killers on occasion because — let's be real — you can never take too many precautions to ensure that your house doesn't have any creatures lurking around under the cover of darkness.

If you also find the dark the be terrifying AF, don't worry. It turns out, you're not a gigantic scaredy-cat after all.

According to science, being afraid of the dark just means your imagination is really awesome.

Apparently, the reason we all find the dark to be so damn scary has nothing to do with the lack of light itself, but rather, the possibility of what could be hiding in the darkness.

So basically, creative people with wild imaginations find the dark to be especially frightening because they're really good at coming up with all sorts of scary shit that could potentially be lurking in the shadowy unknown.

Thomas Ollendick, a psychologist and director of the Child Study Center at Virginia Tech University, revealed the cause of this common childhood fear to Live Science, saying,

What always amazes us are the thoughts or beliefs that kids have. Kids believe everything imaginable, that in the dark, robbers might come or they could get kidnapped, or someone might come and take their toys away. Essentially, their fears stem from 'the unexpected.'

So yeah, long story short, your mind simply associate darkness with an infinite amount of pant-shittingly scary possibilities.

There's also an evolutionary advantage to being afraid of the dark.

Darkness gives a lot of people a serious case of the heebie-jeebies because humans are genetically hardwired to associate darkness with danger.

Long ago, our ancestors discovered that predators prefer to attack under the cover of darkness.

So over time, humans have developed a natural instinct to subconsciously fear the vulnerability that comes along with darkness.

Once the lights go out, our fear triggers an anxious feeling, which essentially acts as a mechanism to deter us from doing stupid, reckless things when we're blinded in our surroundings.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and yes, humans have come a long way since the days when our biggest bedtime concern was being eaten by some ferocious animal in the middle of the night.

But for some reason, the idea of fearing the darkness has stuck with us as a species.

Plus, it probably doesn't help that every scary movie ever made has taught us that nothing bad ever goes down during the day. Instead, the scary shit always happens when the sun sinks below the horizon, and darkness summons the evil creatures of the night.

But hey, look on the bright side. Now you know everything about why you find the dark to be insanely spooky.

So next time you feel a chill run down your spine when the lights go out, you can stop filling your head with terrifying thoughts of imaginative monsters that want to eat you.

Instead, use your imagination to conjure up a bunch of adorable, fluffy animals.

Citations: Why Some People Never Grow Out of a Fear of the Dark (NY Mag)