If you've got a sleep-resistant child or two, you’ve likely read lots of sleep books. While you’re studying up on sleep, maybe it’s time for your little night owl to hit the books, too. Why not use a nightly bedtime story to help build and reinforce healthy sleep habits, overcome common sleep saboteurs and boost parent-child bonding? Whether you add these titles to your child’s bookshelf or wrap them up for a parent-to-be, you’ll be giving the gift of blissful rest.
By Kenn Nesbitt (editor), Christoph Niemann (illustrator)
Sleep-supporting bedtime stories don’t have to be lengthy. "One Minute Till Bedtime," a collection of poems edited by former Children's Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt, offers bite-size bedtime reading that helps send children to sleep while building an enduring love of poetry. Parents and children will love the illustrations by New York Times illustrator and award-winning artist Christoph Niemann.
By Mariam Gates (author), Sarah Jane Hinder (illustrator)
Yoga is proven to quiet the mind, calm the body and promote sounder sleep. For a sweet sendoff to sleep, add these kid-friendly yoga poses to your family’s nighttime routine. You don’t need supreme flexibility or any special equipment to practice simple yoga postures, from "Sun Breath" to "Cloud Gathering" to "Ladybug & Butterfly," that will relax restless kids and help them wind down.
By Laura E. Pasternak (author and illustrator)
Originally created to help her own children cope with sleeping in two different households, this sweet picture book helps children separated from a loved one at bedtime. Whether children are missing a deployed parent or dealing with divorce, separation or another loss, "Sweet Dreams, Lima Beans" helps reduce separation anxiety and makes little ones feel safe and loved at bedtime.
By Paloma Rossa (author), Cottage Door Press (author, editor), Stephanie Fizer Colleman (illustrator)
A simple mindfulness practice can help calm anxiety that often accompanies bedtime for sleep-resistant children. This peaceful picture book walks parents and children through 12 mindful moments to share before bed, creating a loving, calming bedtime routine that promotes sounder sleep.
By Charles C. Martin
Kids who struggle with sleep may develop negative thoughts and feelings around bedtime that can reinforce insomnia, bedtime resistance and nighttime awakenings. This book helps to interrupt that cycle by reframing negative sleep associations, reducing anxiety and building healthy habits to help children fall asleep peacefully.
By Karma Wilson (author), Jane Chapman (illustrator)
Winter is the perfect season for this tale of a bear who can’t hibernate. Will bear learn to fall asleep with the help of his forest friends? This sweet board book can help reinforce the importance of rest and gets families ready for a cozy night’s sleep.
By Sara Conway (author), Kelly Breemer (illustrator)
This lovely, whimsical story of a fox family and other forest creatures preparing for sleep makes an excellent baby shower gift. Stunning illustrations and holographic foil will hold little ones’ interest as they learn to associate bedtime with harmony, peace and love.
By Liz Fletcher (author), Greg Bishop (illustrator)
The big-kid-bed transition strikes fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. This picture book helps calm nerves (parents’ and kids’) and paves the way for a smooth switch by framing the transition as a fun, inspiring adventure for Louie the elephant.
Parents and tots love the bright, playful images Leslie Patricelli creates as her lead baby character copes with familiar early-childhood milestones. In "Big Kid Bed," Patricelli’s colorfully illustrated pages help toddlers conquer a rite of passage — so parents can get a peaceful night’s rest, too.
By Dr. Seuss
This Seuss classic sends kids to the Land of Nod with familiar rhymes on sleepy themes. Seuss’s playful approach helps banish bedtime battles by setting a relaxed, familiar tone for sleep. As an added bonus, rhyming stories promote phonetic awareness and build your child’s budding language skills.
By Whitney Roban, Ph.D.
If a full night of sleep sounds like an impossible dream, add this book to your child’s bedtime lineup. This story of twin brothers Devin and Evan teaches kids about how sleep helps them live their best life, and addresses common childhood sleep problems, from trouble falling asleep at night to waking up before dawn.
Read more from the author Malia Jacobson in her book "Ready, Set, Sleep" — now available on Amazon.