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What do you call a person who loves darkness?

There are a few terms that can be used to describe someone who loves darkness. These include:


A nyctophile is someone who loves the night, dark environments, and nighttime activities. The word comes from Greek ‘nyktos’ meaning night and ‘philos’ meaning love. Nyctophiles feel most energetic and alive after sunset. They enjoy exploring and being active in the dark. Some characteristics of nyctophiles include:

  • Preferring to be awake at night rather than day
  • Enjoying walking or being outside in the dark
  • Finding peace and tranquility in darkness and shadows
  • Feeling inspired by the night sky and nocturnal environments


Similar to a nyctophile, a scotophile is someone who loves darkness, night, and shadows. The word comes from Greek ‘skotos’ meaning darkness. Scotophiles may share some of the same tendencies as nyctophiles. Additionally, some scotophiles specifically love shadows and dark corners. Common scotophile behaviors include:

  • Seeking out dark, shadowy spaces to relax
  • Feeling most at ease when surrounded by darkness
  • Enjoying exploring caves, dark forests, or other shadowy areas
  • Finding beauty and intrigue in shadows and silhouettes


A lygophile has a love of twilight, dusk, dawn, and crepuscular hours of the day. The word comes from Greek ‘lygos’ meaning twilight. While nyctophiles favor the night and scotophiles love darkness and shadows, lygophiles specifically enjoy the dim, transitional periods between day and night. Characteristics of lygophiles include:

  • Waking up early to appreciate dawn’s soft light
  • Lingering outdoors during magical dusk hours
  • Feeling energized and peaceful during twilight
  • Enjoying the mix of light and darkness at crepuscular times

What Causes Someone to Become a Lover of Darkness?

There are a few possible factors that can lead someone to become a nyctophile, scotophile, or lygophile:

Genetics and Biology

Our chronotype, which controls our circadian rhythm, is partly determined by genetics. Night owls are naturally inclined to feel awake and alert at night. This innate biological preference for the night hours can foster a love of darkness.

Childhood Experiences

Positive childhood experiences with darkness and nighttime can instill a lasting affinity. For example, childhood camping trips, stargazing, or reading with a flashlight could imprint a sense of wonder and adventure related to darkness.

Sensory Processing

Some people find bright light overstimulating but feel perfectly at ease in dimmer, darker settings. Darkness can have a calming, focusing effect for those sensitive to sensory stimuli. This can lead to actively seeking out darker environments.

Symbolism and Meaning

Darkness can symbolize rest, tranquility, mystery, or the unconscious self. Finding personal meaning in these archetypal associations can contribute to a philosophical preference for darkness.

Innate Personality

Having an introspective, imaginative, spiritual, or intellectual personality may lend itself to appreciating darkness and solitude. These personality traits make someone more likely to enjoy activities like contemplation under the night sky.

Are There Any Health Benefits to Being a Lover of Darkness?

For those with a natural inclination towards darkness, embracing these tendencies can have benefits:

Better Sleep

Being awake at night just feels right for many nyctophiles. Going to bed and waking later can improve sleep quality for night owls. A nyctophile’s sleep is more aligned with internal rhythms.

Stress Relief

For some, darkness has intrinsic calming and relaxing effects. The privacy and solitude of nighttime environments can be soothing for the mind and spirit.

Increased Productivity

Working, studying, or being creative during preferred night hours can allow people to do their best work. For nyctophiles, productivity and motivation surge after dark.

More Varied Experiences

A love of nighttime and darkness opens up new opportunities and experiences. Night hikes, astrophotography, concerts, and more can add diversity to life.

Physical Health

Exposure to darkness at night is important for melatonin release and circadian rhythms. Embracing darkness improves sleep, hunger signaling, and other processes governed by daily cycles.


Loving darkness and nighttime is more than just being a “night owl.” For nyctophiles, scotophiles, and lygophiles, darkness holds deep appeal and meaning. Preferring nocturnal environments may be innate or stem from impactful experiences and reflections. Far from something to avoid, embracing a love of darkness can lead to better sleep, productivity, self-discovery, and more. By understanding these unique perspectives, we can appreciate the benefits of both light and dark.