Those childhood fears of monsters in the wardrobe are still very real to many adults, according to a new survey.
Research has revealed that millions of adults are still living with their childhood terrors, with over half (56 percent) admitting they are still scared of the dark – and 41 percent going so far as to say that they don’t like spending a night alone in their own house.
19 percent admit they run up the stairs when the downstairs lights are off, with and incredible 18 percent refusing to put their foot outside of the duvet, in case a “monster” grabs it.
A sixth (15 percent) confess that they take their phone to the toilet, so they are not in the dark, while 15 percent simply refuse to go at all.
Asking a partner to go downstairs if there is a noise (13 percent), hiding under the duvet in a thunderstorm (12 percent), thinking that a clothes pile is a monster (10 percent) and creaking pipes are a ghost are other fears many of us have never quite shaken.
It’s no surprise that a third (35 percent) admit that they are still scared of things they were terrified of as a child.
Reliving scary movie moments (28 percent) and seeing things in the shadows (27 percent) are the among the reasons for fearing the dark, along with feeling like someone is watching from the shadows (24 percent).
The research, commissioned by Netflix in conjunction with the launch of new animated film, Orion and the Dark, found that as a result, a quarter (27 percent) of Brits sleep with the landing light on, while a further 26 percent are only able to doze off if the TV is on or if calming music is playing (17 percent).
Behavioural Psychologist Jo Hemmings commented on the findings, “Our inner child stays with us throughout life and unfortunately this can mean that many of the irrational fears and anxieties we had as children, manifest themselves in later life, with the survey showing as many as one in two adults still fear the dark.
“The fear of the dark is common in childhood because it’s a primitive behavioural instinct that instils fear and anxiety when there are no reassuring sights or soothing sounds to make sense of the world. Children between 3 and 9 are the most afraid of darkness and it usually decreases with age as children understand that while it may be dark, they are not actually alone, and their caring adults have not disappeared.
“Adults may associate darkness with the inability to be in control – if we can’t see, we may fear bad things happening to us in the night, which we are unprepared for and our fear becomes a defence mechanism, where our brains during the waking period are on high alert and our imaginations can go into overdrive.”
On average Brits have five bad dreams a month, waking up with a start three times a month.
Four in ten (41 percent) say they often wake up in a cold sweat after a nightmare, with 16 percent regularly waking their partner up by screaming.
One in ten (10 percent) have even lashed out at their other half while asleep while experiencing a bad dream.
Netflix commissioned the survey of 2,000 adults to mark the release of its brand new animated film, Orion and the Dark which was written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and stars Jacob Tremblay, Paul Walter Hauser and Angela Bassett.
The film’s director Sean Charmatz comments: “I immediately saw myself in Orion when I read the script and from this research it’s clear so many people will too. He may be an anxiety-ridden eleven year old, but his worries and fears are so relatable no matter how old you are.
“The biggest theme of the film is something I think about every day: You can’t let the things you’re afraid of hold you back. I hope this film inspires kids and their families to talk about those fears, and most importantly, helps people of any age learn to let go – even a little bit.”
The younger generation (18- to 29-year-olds) have the most nightmares suffering six a month and waking up with a fright four times a month.
Being chased (28 percent), falling from a great height (26 percent), teeth falling out (15 percent) and missing an important event (15 percent) are the most common nightmares, along with messing up at work (13 percent), the state of the world (10 percent) and fighting monsters (10 percent).
Despite this, a WHOPPING 92 percent agree that facing and overcoming childhood fears is an important part of growing up.
But the news is not all bad as the research also found that adults who are scared of the dark are also most likely to be sensitive (55 percent), creative (32 percent), sensual (17 percent) and musical (14 percent).
While those who aren’t, tend to be more relaxed (44 percent), empathetic (39 percent) and patient (37 percent).