If you ever have trouble getting your kids to sleep at bed time, a new chart-topping book by Swedish psychologist and author Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin could be just the thing to help send the little ones off to the land of nod.
Currently sitting at #1 and #5 on the UK and US Amazon charts respectively, The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep: A New Way Of Getting Children To Sleep is unique in a couple of respects. Not only is it the first self-published book to ever get to the top of Amazon's charts, it's probably the only mainstream book on the market instructing parents on how to hypnotise their kids (with endorsements from psychologists no less).
Far from any villainous adult conspiracy, The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep actually resembles most other bedtime kids' books, complete with illustrations and an unremarkable, predictably wholesome plot: Roger the rabbit receives help from Uncle Yawn and other friends to fall asleep in the evening.
But what separates Rabbit from similar-looking children's books is the use of specific language patterns that are specifically designed to induce sleep in youngsters, and the author's tips for parents on how best to read it aloud. According to Forssen Ehrlin, the use of psychological techniques such as emphasis on certain words, slow and calm pronunciation, and acted gestures such as yawning all come together to help make children sleepy.
"I had written books before about leadership and personal development using these techniques but I got the idea for a children's book while I was driving on a long journey with my mother and she fell asleep, and I got the idea of how I could use my methods to help children relax," Forssen Ehrlin told Sarah Knapton at The Telegraph.
"When we stopped I wrote it all down on a napkin but it took another three and a half years to come up with the perfect story, so that all the techniques were used in the correct order," he added. "It helps the child to focus and makes them a part of the story so that they fall asleep along with the rabbit. They meet characters like Uncle Yawn and the Heavy-Eyed Owl."
The book's testimonials feature recommendations from psychologists and psychotherapists, but the author is also keen to address any concerns parents may have about the book's seemingly manipulative techniques.
"As a parent you always have to help the child do things with the help of imagination and some positive reinforcements to create a new behavior," Forssen Ehrlin writes on his web site. "This book is just like that, a help to get the child to focus on sleep and relaxation with the help of imagination. You will also create a comfort for your child to fall asleep easier even when you don't read the bedtime story."
If you're curious about the book but still not sure about the techniques, good news: it's available for free. If you want the paperback edition of Rabbit you'll need to pay for it of course, but the author has also made the title available for free as an e-book (translated in seven languages) which you can download directly from his web site.