Afraid of the dark? Study says some adults are - FOX Carolina 21

Afraid of the dark? Study says some adults are

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One of the rooms used at the St. Francis Sleep Disorder Center. (File/FOX Carolina) One of the rooms used at the St. Francis Sleep Disorder Center. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Researchers said they may have pinpointed a new reason for insomnia. Apparently a lot of adults are afraid of the dark.

A group at Ryerson University in Toronto studied a group of about 100 college students in a sleep lab and found almost half those considered to be poor sleepers got scared when the lights went out.

The information was presented Monday at a national conference of sleep researchers in Boston. Local doctors said it's too soon to tell if the findings will help some insomniacs.

Doctors at the Saint Francis Sleep Disorder Center said they've rarely heard complaints about a fear of the dark from their adult patients, but said that doesn't rule out the possibility it could be linked to insomnia.

"Obviously, I'd want to explore their history, why and how long it's been going on, what prescriptions they are taking, look into other problems they may have," said Dr. Steven Tomski.

If the phobia itself isn't keeping sufferers up at night, the symptoms could still be hurting their chances of getting a full night's sleep. Even leaving those lights on could be a bad idea.

"If you are not in a dark environment, it can affect your sleep staging, make it more difficult to get into deeper levels of sleep," Tomski said.

He said those who aren't entering REM cycle sleep could be putting themselves at risk for bigger problems

"There's a whole list of medical problems, diabetes, attentiveness, cardiovascular disease and higher risk for stroke."

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