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How to get a good night’s sleep

BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, understand how exhausting the bedtime battles can be. That’s why they’ve devised the Bath, Book, Bed routine: a simple solution to sleepless nights. The campaign aims to help ease the strain sleeplessness can have on families by following a simple book focused bedtime routine.  Sweet dreams start with a simple routine.

Research by BookTrust reveals new parents are completely sleep deprived in the child’s first few years, losing out on a whopping 657 hours per year, which equates to almost four weeks of less sleep a year.
The research also found:

  • Sleep deprivation is the most stressful challenge about becoming a parent, second only to worries about children’s health
  • A fifth of new parents (21%) have taken a day off work in order to catch up on lost sleep
  • Children not following a Bath, Book, Bed routine are less relaxed at bedtime, get up more often during the night and get fed more frequently

The survey[1] polled over 1,000 families on bedtime routines and sleeping habits and revealed that half of parents who don’t follow a Bath, Book, Bed routine would favour a night of uninterrupted sleep over a romantic weekend or a night out with friends. Health, productivity and sense of humour also suffer in those who aren’t following the nightly routine with 34% eating poorly, 24% nodding off during the day and 34% taking a knock to their sense of humour.

The annual Bath, Book, Bed campaign aims to solve these problems in three easy steps, encouraging parents to stick to a simple bedtime routine and asking families to share stories as a regular part of bedtime to help their little ones sleep soundly.

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust said: “BookTrust understands how troublesome it can be for parents to get young children to sleep and we know that sometimes it can feel like a never-ending struggle. We sent out 450,000 copies of our Bath, Book, Bed booklet filled with advice and tips to help families tackle bedtime head on and ensure everyone gets a good night’s sleep.”

Families can download a digital version of the booklet at

Jo Frost, worldwide parenting expert and BookTrust Ambassador said: “The campaign is a really straightforward approach to tackling a problem that most parents with young children face – the bedtime battle. Bedtime routines do not need to be complicated for especially-tired parents on their last legs. Implementing healthy sleeping habits, and a consistent bedtime routine will not only calm down the child and parents but provide an environment so that both child and parent can read together helping them both relax and wind down. Meaning everyone will be well-rested, happier and healthier.”

The Moore family from Glengormley in Northern Ireland – mum Anna, dad Phil, Ava (15 months) and Leo (4) – trialled the Bath, Book, Bed routine and say it is now an important part of their day.

The Moore Family. Credit Brian Morrison

Reading a story or two at bedtime is one of our favourite parts of day. Not only is it a chance to enjoy lots of brilliant books, it’s also a great way to get your little ones to wind down after a busy day and have some special time together.

It’s never too early to start

Babies love books. You can absolutely read to your newborn baby, even though they’re too little to understand what you’re saying. The experience of snuggling up and listening to your voice can help a baby relax. And it’s great for bonding between the both of you.

And there’s no age you should stop reading together either! Keep bedtime stories going even once they start to read on their own, and your support can help develop a love of reading that will carry on into adulthood.

Keep it regular

When it comes to bedtime reading, having a routine can really help.

You can be as flexible or structured as you like, but a regular nightly routine will signal to your child that it’s time to wind down and relax. A routine gives children consistency and reassurance and a reading a story together is very comforting.

 Get them ready for bed first

Try to get your child into their pyjamas with teeth brushed before you start reading so they’re ready to drift off once you get to the end of the story.

Choosing a bedtime story

The best book to read with your child is the one they want to read, whether that’s a classic novel, an interactive picture book or even a football annual. When they’re enjoying the story, you’ll enjoy reading with them. If you’re reading to a baby, why not pick a bright and touchy-feely book that they can play with as you read. Books with rhyme and repetition are also brilliant for babies

Make it cosy

Once you’ve decided on a book, snuggle up together and get as comfy as you can! If your child is old enough, sit close together and get them to hold the book themselves or turn the pages. Babies will find being close to you and hearing your voice relaxing, and older children will love having special one-on-one time where they can have a cuddle and unwind.

 Have fun!

Just because it’s a bedtime story doesn’t mean you have to be really quiet. When you read with your child, try to make it fun and engaging – you could use actions and silly voices for the characters, or choose a funny story for you to laugh along to. Try not to feel self-conscious when you read, after all it’s just you and your child and they’ll think you’re the greatest storyteller in the world!

It’s special time for both of you

Shared reading has enormous benefits for your child, but it’s really important time for you too. Reading with your child is a chance for you take your mind off the pressures of the day and just focus on making lasting memories together. A bedtime story might only take ten minutes, but you’ll feel the benefits for much longer!

Families can download a digital version of the booklet at