Lindsay Lohan is telling friends ... her 4.5 hour stint in the pokey was "scary" ... even though she was never placed with the general population.
We're told Lindsay was alone in her cell during her time in custody at Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, CA.
Sources tell us Lindsay described the jail as "cold" -- saying it's one of the worst places she's ever been in her life.
Lindsay is telling friends the experience was another wake up call ... insisting she's learned from her mistakes and wants to put her problems behind her.
We're told Lindsay didn't eat anything during her stay at Lynwood -- then again, it's not like she had time for a meal.