What helps your child fall asleep? Is it a hug? A bedtime story? What about…a psychological visualization game?
Time for Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book, written by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. and illustrated by Gail Yerrill, is both a bedtime story and psychological visualization game, designed to help children fall asleep. The story follows Little Bear and his seven stuffed animal friends as they calmly prepare for bed, drift off into a dream world, and allow their brains to “clean” themselves through sleep. Prior to publishing this book, Amen used this story-game as a way to get his three-year-old daughter to fall asleep, and he continued to do so for nearly five years.
Because the book is specifically designed as a way to fall asleep, this is not the type of story to read at any time during the day. It is easy to feel drowsy when reading the book, and the author reminds readers that because of the book’s mesmerizing nature, Time for Bed, Sleepyhead should not be read aloud while driving.
The words of the story are soothing, and are written with specific detail; one stuffed animal “dreams of basking in the sun in a big open field,” and another “dreams of chasing a ribbon that you swirl for her in the air.” Yerill’s drawings have a soft, calm vibe. One of the most serene pages shows Little Bear and his stuffed animals tucked into bed, sleeping soundly, as Momma and Papa Bear peak inside the room; the drawing is accented with gentle pastel tones.
The book may inspire parents to form their own “falling asleep” stories for their children, casting their kids’ stuffed animals as the characters.
You can find Time for Bed, Sleepyhead here.