Scared of the dark

Have two young, well travelled, women are staying with me at the moment (last 20’s) to finish their Master’s dissertations.

Friendly guests, but I couldn’t understand why they left lights on all the time despite me reminding them to turn them off three or four times.

Tonight I was talking to one of them who mentioned they slept with both bedside lights on as her friend was scared of the dark and that’s why she left lights on all over the place in case she needs to get up during the night.

Last night the same guest was up half the night because you was terrified of the wind and rain (it really wasn’t that bad just a heavy rain shower).

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It takes all kinds! I would offer a flashlight on the bedside table (the city I’m in has the highest hydro rates of any city in North America, so I’m always asking guests to be mindful of turning off the lights. When I show them the house - I rent out rooms in a shared space -as it is expensive. It’s also in my house rules which they have to confirm that they’ve read before I accept every booking. Also, I have very high ceilings and it’s difficult to get up to change light bulbs (and guests seem to understand at least one of the two). As well, I have (inexpensive) extra sleep masks and disposable ear plugs which I offer to the occasional guest. Perhaps a flashlight and ear plugs might make her feel more at ease. There have also been a few times where I’ve offered to lend the guests my essential oil plug in to them (put a few drops of lavender essential oil, plug in and enjoy) for calm. Not everyone travels or adapts well, so I try to make suggestions. Often they may not need anything, but appreciate a kind hosts concern. I hope that helps a bit!

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Thanks @HappyHost

There is a light switch directly outside of her room for the hallway. And when she gets to the living room the light from the hallway lights that room too plus there is another set of switches directly she goes into that room too and the light for the bathroom is before she enters it. Yet they are all left on.

I’m not sure she would like the idea of the flashlight as that could make it more scary for her.

Same for me in the living room my ceiling is 25 foot up !!!

Good idea about the sleep masks and disposable ear plugs.

I have lavender plug in’s in the bedrooms as a permanent feature plus lavender pouches under the pillows.

@Helsi, it sounds like my place (with all of the light switches outside the bedroom, then hallway, then kitchen/lviing room/bathroosm. I’d offer the flashlight anyway (and not mention that it might be scary) - maybe less for her to navigate? Or one of those (battery operated) camping lanterns (if you have)? I love that you have the lavender pushes and plug ins as regular features! I’d ask if she’d like a flashlight and maybe a few more drops of essential oil then? The point being just to have the guest feel that you care and that it’s a concern for you. Often times, that might do the trick! Good luck!

How about offering night lights (low wattage plug in lights) with light sensors so the only activate when the room is dark? I place one in each bedroom, bathroom, in the hall to the bathroom & one in the kitchen so if some one wakes in the middle of the night, they don’t need to turn on the bright lights. Guest unplug them in their room if not wanted. Very inexpensive to purchase and leave on.

PS. Long story but I am uncomfortable in a totally dark room. I like a night light. It sounds silly but it is common and many who have PTSD need some light in the room.


I’m sympathetic, I mean most of us have a totally irrational fear of some sort. But honestly, I don’t know know why these people think home sharing is a good idea. I’m one of those people who needs blackout darkness to sleep, I would not want this guest in my home.


I like the idea of the light sensors. I will look into them.

I have motion-sensing LEDs (rechargeable like a mobile phone) on the hallway walls - with calm moonlight sort of light. It’s brilliant, nobody has to fumble around turning on the light switches.


Hi @Astaire

I think you are based in the UK if so can you let me have details and I can have a look online for them. That sounds perfect.


we have a little plug-in night light (green light) - it was quite cheap to buy and my wife has it on all night plugged in beside her bedside table. It doesn’t disturb me at all. Anyway, we also have one in the guest bedroom and point it out to guests when they arrive. We have a three storey house with the bedrooms and the bathroom on the third floor - I always keep the second floor landing light on all night as well.


I have a night light in the sitting room since there is no light switch. When the room is used as a bedroom, many guests unplug it. I also have a nightlight that is built into the outlets in the bathroom so people can find their way. The last nightlight is actually in the hallway, again built into an outlet that is on the wall up near the ceiling. It is an odd location for an outlet, but I put it there for the wifi so it would cast as bit a tent on the house as possible. The light illuminates the entire hallway really well.

All but one light in the guest space is an LED so power usage for lights is already very minimal up there.

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Oh, I bought them on eBay @Helsi, I think from China or Hong kong. 6-7 quid a piece, just search for ‘motion sensor led’ or something, you’ll find tons of choice.

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I’m off into the garden to harvest the lavender!


Respond by saying you’re scared of the electric bill.


I’m always surprised at how many people unplug/turn off my clock radio. The LEDs are small and not bright but it’s plugged into an expander with a switch. So I don’t know if they are using the switch to turn off the bedside lamp or find the tiny bit of light disagreeable. I put a gfi night light receptacle in one of my bathrooms and thought that would be clever for the airbnb bathroom as well.


I’m sure it’s a personal thing because I always make sure I’m sleeping on the side of the bed that doesn’t have the lit clock. In a hotel room, one of the first things I say is, “That’s your side.”


I have a relative grown woman who won’t stay in her own house once it gets dark, hubby is ordered home.

I did stay in a hotel once that were doing work in the middle of the night and advised guests that all electricity was getting cut from midnight to 6.00 am, I woke up in the night to use the loo and it was slightly unnerving just blackness, inside and outside.

At the very least this guest should have disclosed this before they booked.