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– By Grant Bailey

Childhood classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis has been hailed as the children’s book the nation’s grown-ups most want to read again.

The classic fantasy novel, which was first published in 1950, beat tough competition from another widely-held children’s favourite – Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

The Railway Children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Animal Farm all appeared in the top 10.

Hope Bastine, psychologist for sleep technology brand, Simba [], who commissioned the study, said: “Children’s classics like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe play a fantastic role in transporting us back to a magical part of our youth and could play more of a role in helping us to sleep than many of us realise.

“Our research shows that 10.7 million of us in the UK believe tuning into nostalgic memories helps us to unwind.

“Revisiting favourite books from our childhood not only reminds us of an early brain-encoded bedtime habit, they also help to ignite our imagination.

“With one in seven of us believing that tapping into our imagination before bed helps us to sleep, perhaps insomnia’s aid may not be found at the bottom of a bottle, but rather between the pages of a storybook.”

Simba commissioned the study in support of their Snore & Roar event in Central London with actor, Bill Nighy – the first in a series of bedtime story sleepovers designed to fuel our imaginations and help us sleep better.

The evening hosted at Gladstone Library celebrated the launch of the new Simba Motion Base, saw Nighy read an extract of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis to 32 lucky adults.

Whilst resident sleep psychologist for, Simba, Hope Bastine, discussed why it’s time for adults to reclaim the bedtime story to relieve stress and restore calm.

Two thirds of adults agree that reading before bed helps them to sleep.

The study also revealed there are certain types of fiction which are more effective at relaxing Brits than others, and nearly one in five would reach for a fantasy if they needed to nod off.

Three in five have wanted to revisit or re-read a book that they enjoyed from their childhood, and one in ten believe that children’s books settle their mind best before bed.

According to the study, turning back to children’s literature promotes overwhelmingly positive emotions amongst the nation.

Fifty eight per cent get feelings of happiness when reading a story from their childhood, while one in two get feelings of warmth and comfort.

Hope Bastine added: “When our mind is swirling, with the facts and thoughts of the day, stories can help us shift down a gear before a bed.

“The act of entering into a literary world focuses the mind and distracts us from the daily stresses, releasing the muscular heart tension and lowering the breathing rate necessary for restful sleep.

“The evocative journey literature takes us on serves many purposes for adults and children alike.

“Embedding listening and reading stories into our pre-sleep ritual can not only help us to let go of stress, but it provides a bridge for our conscious mind to step over to dreamland.”

Embracing fiction from our youth before bed might also help boost our creativity the next day.

The study revealed that two fifths of adults use books from their childhood to spark their imagination, whilst one in ten said they help when they need to be more creative.

Actor, Bill Nighy, said: “Children often arrange to be at their most entertaining around bedtime. It’s a time-honoured sleep delaying strategy.

“A story is the traditional trade off and one of the nicest things that ever happens for parent and child. It’s a profound exchange that informs the rest of our lives and a story doesn’t stop being delicious when we become adults.”


1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2. The Secret Garden
3. The Railway Children
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
5. Animal Farm
6. Treasure Island
7. The Wind in the Willows
8. The Hobbit
9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
11. The Jungle Book
12. Robinson Crusoe
13. Black Beauty
14. The BFG
15. Matilda
16. Winnie-the-Pooh
17. Peter Pan
18. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
19. The Swiss Family Robinson
20. The Borrowers
21. James and the Giant Peach
22. Catcher in the Rye
23. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
24. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
25. Charlotte’s Web
26. Anne of Green Gables
27. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
28. Swallows and Amazons
29. The Witches
30. The Magic Faraway Tree

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