Revealed: Children’s favourite bedtime stories

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    As 43% of parents admit they read to their child every night, the nation’s top bedtime book picks are revealed 

    Classic children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar topped the poll as the book most likely to help kids fall asleep, according to research by online bed retailer Time 4 Sleep. The book, which was first published in 1969, has maintained popularity for more than 40 years, and is accompanied by other classics on the list, including Harry Potter in second place, The BFG in third and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown in fourth place.

    The survey polled 1,000 parents with children under the age of 11, and revealed the top 10 to be:

    1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
    2. Harry Potter (1997)
    3. The BFG (1982)
    4. Goodnight Moon (1947)
    5. The Gruffalo (1999)
    6. Winnie The Pooh (1926)
    7. Llama Llama Red Pyjama (2005)
    8. Where The Wild Things Are (1963)
    9. Guess How Much I Love You (1994)
    10. The Cat In The Hat (1957)

    Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo came fifth, while The Cat In The Hat also made the top 10
    Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo came fifth, while The Cat In The Hat also made the top 10

    According to one in three parents (33%), the most important benefit of reading to children at bedtime is to spend quality time together, while one fifth (21%) feel it helps to settle their child down before bed.

    “Children respond well to routine and familiarity,” says Dipti Tait, hypnotherapist and author. “Bedtime doesn’t have to be regimented and orderly, but if a child senses consistency, the routine can be a reassuring concept and keep them feeling comfortable, calm and happy.”

    Oldies but goodies: Guess How Much I Love You and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which took first place
    Oldies but goodies: Guess How Much I Love You and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which took first place

    “Storytelling is important for the brain too,” Tait continues. “The brain, regardless of age enjoys a good story as it activates our imagination. When we begin reading tales of adventure, fantasy and mystery to our children, this creates a positive pathway for the brain to follow. Once we drop into sleep, the brain naturally falls into REM – the dream state – so quite often the storytelling helps the child begin the REM process and often encourages sleepiness.

    “A simple 10 to 15 minutes of this down time can have powerful and calming effects on our mental wellbeing,” she adds.