Parents who know the struggle of getting their kids to go to sleep may have turned in bleary-eyed desperation to The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, the bestselling book that uses psychological tricks to get little listeners to quickly doze off. About a year ago, I played a reading of the book to my daughter at bedtime, and it worked like a charm three out of five times. (And it made me yawn a whole lot.)
The author, a Swedish psychologist named Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, has now released a sequel, The Tractor Who Wants to Fall Asleep. On a sleep-inducing ride around a farm, the main character Tractor Alex counts stars with Uncle Yawn, sways with sleepy flowers, and puts all of the day’s thoughts on a bark boat that drifts off on the lake. I’m feeling a little sleepy just typing that. Like with Ehrlin’s first two books (he also wrote one called The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep), parents are instructed to read the story aloud as kids listen to the words, yawning frequently and really slowing down the pace of anything written in italics.
Dr Umakanth Khatwa, the director of Sleep Laboratories at Boston Children’s Hospital, explained to CBS News that Ehrlin uses techniques that “induce a kind of hypnosis”, including certain word patterns.
My tip: Don’t introduce the book to your kid as the “go to sleep” story. I did that last time, and man, kids are smart.