The telling of bedtime stories and fairytales is supposedly dying out, with two thirds of parents admitting that their children have never even heard of most of the classics, in a recent poll.
The poll also found that half of kids have never been read The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, with three in 10 parents also admitting that their children think that classics such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are just Disney films, and not in fact famous books.
Nowadays, classic books are often shunned at bedtime in favour of TVs, smartphones and tablets, with a fifth of parents also admitting they find it impossible to convince their kids to have a story read to them.
However, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina, believes that winding down before bed is the key to a fresh and relaxed night’s sleep, and recommends reading as one of the best ways of boosting relaxation. Dr Nerina says that 24 minutes and six seconds is the exact, advised amount of time to spend with a book each night, rather than staring at a phone or computer screen.
She said: “The nation should be reigniting reading habits and using this as a relaxing way to fall asleep. Reading a book for exactly 24 minutes and six seconds before you go to bed can really help you to slide effortlessly into a deep restorative sleep.
“We teach children the ‘Bath Book Bed’ routine to help them feel sleepy, relaxed and safe when they fall to sleep, which then helps them to be more engaged and alert the next day. The same process can be translated for adults, as reading can do all of the above.
“Taking 24 minutes and 6 seconds out of your day to really focus on reading will make a huge difference to your overall lifestyle and could help to iron out any sleep related problems.”
Dr Nerina’s recommended top 10 bedtime stories for kids is as follows:
1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson (1999)
2. Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926)
3. The BFG by Roald Dahl (1982)
4. The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson (2004)
5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
6. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)
8. The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr (1968)
9. Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
10. Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl (1970)