Being alone in your house at night can be dull or frightening at times. You may have always been single, or maybe you’re transitioning from a divorce or a death of a spouse. No matter your circumstances, you can confront the loneliness and fear that set in at night. If you make time to set healthy routines, entertain and distract yourself, ensure your safety, and connect with others during the day, you’ll be able to cope with being alone at night much better.
Taking Care of Yourself
1Entertain yourself. To cope with feeling alone or lonely at night, find a way to entertain or distract yourself. If you truly enjoy your selected hobby, your time alone will be transformed from something you dread to something to look forward to. Consider the following activities to keep you busy
- Watching television
- Listening to music
2Cope with sleeping alone. You may have a difficult time sleeping alone at night because of feeling lonely, missing the partner you used to sleep with, or hearing strange noises. To cope with sleeping alone, turn off your television, tablet, or computer about an hour before bedtime to prepare yourself for sleep. You can also make falling asleep easier by
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and food too late in the day
- Avoiding stressful activities, like exercise, right before bed
- Keeping the room lights on low
- Playing soft music
- Using a sound machine or ear plugs to drown out other noises
- Keeping the room cool
- Using comfortable, soft bedding, like a body pillow
- Wearing a sleep mask or using curtains to block out light
- Getting up to read, take a bath, or drink hot tea if you find yourself tossing and turning
3Set a routine. Having a structured evening for yourself at home will help keep your thoughts from straying into loneliness when you’re alone at night. Having a routine can also help keep you motivated and feel fulfilled while being alone.
- For example, if you come home from work at 5 p.m., you can schedule time for relaxation, exercise, dinner, socialization, and perhaps a hobby before bedtime. It can be helpful to keep a regular bedtime, although a perk of being alone is that you can go to sleep whenever you want!
4Fix yourself regular meals. When you live alone or are alone at night, it may feel like a waste of time to make yourself a meal and sit down at the table to eat. However, making your meals special and keeping your mealtimes consistent is a good way to ward off loneliness at night.
- For example, if you’re alone at night on a holiday, fix yourself the meal you typically would have had with your family or others. As you eat, you can relive special memories you have of that holiday and feel less alone.
5Remind yourself of the positives of being alone. Although there may be many hardships or negatives to living alone and being alone at night, like having to take care of all the chores on your own, try not to dwell on those. Reminding yourself of the positives can help improve your state of mind. For example, being alone allows you to:
- Play whatever music or television shows you want to
- Clean up how and when you want to
- Decorate your house how you want to
- Have silence and time to recharge the way you want to
6Recognize and embrace feelings of loneliness. Although being alone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lonely, it’s important to recognize and accept any feelings of loneliness or sadness you may be experiencing. Examine where they are coming from. Perhaps you’re feeling lonely and alone because you’re single, newly divorced, or widowed. It’s important to express and understand these feelings so that you can then begin to feel more comfortable when you’re at home by yourself. 
- Journal in a diary
- Talk with a trusted friend
- Seek counseling if you’re struggling with significant grief or loneliness from a loss or divorce
Keeping Yourself Safe
1Ensure your safety. If you fear being alone at night because of someone breaking in, because of a medical emergency, or because of a disaster like a fire, taking measures to ensure your safety will help ease some fear. You can take practical steps to prepare yourself in case an emergency occurs.
- Lock all doors and windows before going to sleep
- Familiarize yourself with fire escape routes
- Consider getting a security alarm
- Make sure you have a working, charged phone nearby
- Take a self-defense course
- Know who to call in an emergency
2Confront your fears. It’s easy to give in to your fears and imagine the worst-case scenario when you’re at home alone. You may be tempted to keep the lights on, keep the TV on, always invite a friend over at night, or compulsively check your locks before you go to bed. These ritualized behaviors will increase your anxiety about being alone at night in the long-run.
- Avoid asking someone to come stay with you too often
- Find rational explanations for noises you hear in the middle of the night
- Wear earplugs or use a sound machine to block out strange sounds
- Go to counseling if you start to obsess over your fears or if they interfere with sleep
Befriend your neighbors. Getting to know your neighbors is a good way to make sure other people know who you are and can keep an eye out for you. Befriending your neighbors is good for social connection, too! You might meet other people who live alone and set up a system where each of you agrees to check up on each other if you haven’t heard from each other in a few days.
4Know when to seek help. While you can learn to cope with any loneliness and frustration of being alone, there are some instances where being alone may start to be unsafe for you. This is especially true if you are an older adult or have any chronic health issues. Reach out to a trusted friend, loved one, or physician for help if you have:
- Difficulty managing your medications
- Difficulty paying your bills
- Difficulty bathing
- Difficulty eating well
- Difficulty with balance and falls
- Difficulty keeping your house clean
- Difficulty getting out to connect with other people
Connecting with Others
1Socialize regularly. Schedule regular social activities with friends throughout the week. This will give you structure, keep you connected to others, and help improve your mood. If you stay busy enough interacting with others during the weekday hours, chances are you’ll be less likely to notice feeling alone at night.
2Connect online or on the phone. Learn to get better with computers and other ways of connecting with people besides in-person. If you have friends who live far away, consider keeping in touch with them through email, Facebook, Twitter, or Skype. Schedule regular phone calls or text messages with friends for when you come home at night.
- If you don’t know how to use a computer or internet-based services, libraries and community centers usually have classes to teach you the basic skills. This is also a good way to meet people in your community!
3Get involved. Consider getting more involved in your community by volunteering, taking a class, or joining a club. This could help keep you from feeling too lonely, give you more structure, shift your mood, give you increased self-confidence, and help you meet more diverse people in your community. By the time you get home at night, you’ll feel tired and less alone because you’ve spent the day meaningfully connecting with others.
- Be patient. This may feel uncomfortable at first and you might have to try several different clubs or organizations before you find one where you feel more at home.
4Adopt a pet. You might find connection and help coping at night if you have a pet with you at home. Pets bring companionship and joy. They’re not only comforting and fun to interact with, but you can sleep with them if you’re feeling lonely or unsafe at night.
- If you’re not allowed to have a pet where you live, if you’re allergic to cats or dogs, or you simply can’t afford a pet, you can even do something as simple as having a fishbowl or a bird feeder nearby your house.
I’m 12 years old, I sleep alone and I’m scared to sleep with the light off. I am scared that demons, ghosts, or a monster will attack me. What can I do?
Ask your parents for a night light. Nothing is wrong with a little night light.
I am so scared to sleep alone at night. What do I do?
Try sleeping with a night light and sleep with an adult until you are ready.
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