Ah, babies and sleep. The two go together like oil and water, coke and mentos or drinking tequila on a school night. But nonetheless, most parents go to extreme lengths at one time or another in a bid to get their little darlings to actually go to sleep.
Which is why I wasn't surprised to read about the launch of a new book this week called The Sleep Nanny System. Author Lucy Shrimpton is a mum of two herself and a sleep consultant (hence the Sleep Nanny bit) and she works with children aged from birth to around six years old, so I reckon it's safe to say that she knows a thing or two about this sleep stuff.
But while I am all for listening to the wisdom of experts and I know that the average sleep-deprived parent will be willing to try absolutely anything if it might yield a bit of shut-eye, I've got to confess that I raised an eyebrow when I read one of the suggestions from Lucy's book for helping your little sleep well at night.
'What is this controversial notion?' I hear you cry. Good dreams spray. Here's what the Mail says:
'Spraying your child’s room with ‘good dreams’ will make them feel comforted and even excited about going to sleep,' said Lucy. 'It is a great way to deter the idea of monsters or "scaries" but without any mention of those negative thoughts.' So how to make your very own ‘good dreams spray'? It's all about the imagination. An empty spray bottle with a little bit of water inside will do the trick. 'Or you can get more creative and make a label for the bottle or add a little food colouring to the water for a more magical effect,' Lucy suggested. And if your little one wakes at night. If it's age appropriate, leave a spary by thier bedside, Lucy advises.
Now part of me - the imagined alter ego that exists in a parallel universe and doesn't have kids and thus still spends the vast majority of her disposable income on impractical shoes and nice knickers - thinks this is a truly lovely idea.
The other part of me - the part that knows my little monkeys would have that stuff sprayed in the eyes of a sibling within seconds, isn't buying this as a sleep tip. And while I've no doubt that it might work for some kids, mine just aren't that gullible.
Heck, my eldest has always been several steps ahead of me - he figured out the whole Christmas thing (keeping it vague here, people, just in case...) at the tender age of three after noticing that Santa and I had uncannily similar taste in wrapping paper. There's just no way that spritzing his room with Good Dreams Spray would have the desired effect.
And even if it did, I'm not sure I'd WANT my kids to be lulled into a false sense of security by an old Dettol bottle full of pink water mixed with glitter. Why? Because I'm a believer in talking 'negative thoughts' through. I say this as mum to a child who has suffered a terrible bout of night terrors in the past and although he was too old for a good dreams spray at that age anyway, I still found that tackling his anxieties and any underlying issues head on was the most effective way of keeping bad nights at bay. We loved our Worry Eater, too, which played a helpful part in tackling night terrors, and in part I think that's because it's all about encouraging kids to express themselves.
And what happens when little people realise the ruse behind the bad dreams spray? Isn't it better to equip kids with the skills to talk about the things that bother them rather than attempting to spray them away?
On the other hand, our Lisa reckons her Monster & Bad Dream Repellent Spray works like a charm, so she definitely sees the appeal of the good dreams spray idea. She says she'd rather that her son "just accepted the truth that monsters are just not real" but adds that kids don't think that way until a certain age, so she thinks the good dreams spray is definitely worth a go if worries about nightmares or monsters under the bed are what's disrupting your little one's sleep.
I guess, ultimately, anything is worth a try.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Would you use a good dreams spray, or do you think it's better to deal with night wakings in a more direct way? Come and tell us over on our Facebook page.