One of the greatest things you can learn growing up is good communication skills. Whether it’s for a job interview, public speaking or even just for going on a good date.

The better our communication and language skills then the easier we will find these often rather stressful situations. But how do you ensure your child is learning a varied language as they grow up? Well one study suggests that if you want your child to learn lots of fancy words, then you just have to send them off to their beds for a nap.

SpellingWe all know that a good night’s sleep is essential for our bodies, especially when we’re young and our bodies are developing. It gives us time to relax and recharge and, for children, allows them the time to grow up so quickly – before you know it they’ll be taller than you! But what a good quality sleep also does, is it allows the brain the time to process all the information we encountered that day. Your sleep will then help your brain turn this information into solid memories that you remember. This means your sleep actually helps you learn. This concept was tested out by a study by researchers at the University of Arizona Child Cognition Lab.

The study assessed 39 children who were all three years old and showed the children new verbs before allowing half the children to nap. It was found that those that slept after learning the verbs actually had a better understanding and memory of the words 24 hours after learning them. While those that didn’t nap were more likely to only remember the simpler noun words.

This makes sense, as we all know how badly our brains perform after a bad night’s sleep. We’re slow, grumpy and just unable to perform at our best. But it’s not the amount of sleep we get, it’s the quality. Ten hours of sleep a night might sound amazing on paper, but if you’re restless and get interrupted REM cycles you might feel like you have had no sleep at all – the same goes for our children. Instead we should be aiming for quality not quantity and monitoring our sleep patterns. This is especially important for our children as we want them to learn and grow the best that they can. Particularly if we want them to grow up to be geniuses!

Of course, getting 3 or 4 year olds to nap can be an absolute nightmare when all they want to do is play and run around, but you need not fret. Naps when they get to that age aren’t essential, instead ensuring they get a good 10 to 12 hours a night in a comfortable bed and sleeping environment is far more important. It’s only when they aren’t getting that length of sleep at night that you should try to encourage a nap during the day. The key thing to remember is that every child is unique. Try to learn your child’s sleeping averages by monitoring them over a month. That way you’ll be able to tell if they’re not getting enough sleep easier and you can then take the necessary steps to get their sleep back on track.

What's the best mattress for a child?

It is vitally important to buy the right mattress for a young child. After all their little bodies are growing so it’s extremely important they get the correct support for their backs. When we say correct support, we mean a mattress that will seamlessly respond to all the different sleeping positions.

Afterall the bed will be used as a serious playground. Think trampoline, think Olympic gymnastics, war games and other rough and tumble. The mattress not only needs to be up to this, but firm enough to provide support.

It’s really helpful to get your children involved in the purchase, so don’t hesitate to bring them along to our show at Keymer Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 0AD. You can guarantee that if your youngster has had a say in the purchase, they will sleep better on it!

Rule of thumb is spend as much as you can afford. A pocket sprung mattress might cost a little more, but will be more responsive. That said, Sealy make some excellent open coil mattresses.

Silentnight BedAlthough parents might love their memory foam, we wouldn’t recommend them for very young children. You should be aware that some have an odour which might cause discomfort. The other issue is that foam tends to mould and shape to your body over time. As children’s bodies are continually changing they might not offer the correct amount of support. A hybrid, which is a combination of spring with a layer of memory foam is ideal. The layer of memory foam will give the softness required whilst the springs will give the support.

Pure latex on the other hand is antibacterial and hypo-allergenic. It is extremely comfortable and highly resilient and although a little more expensive, ideal. A hybrid is also an extremely good option. The Sealy Messina Pocket 1400 is an excellent option as is the Silentnight Holly 1200 Latex Supreme (pictured). Both have a generous layer of latex on supportive pocket springs.

Whatever you do, please don’t be tempted to buy a second-hand mattress. You won’t know it’s history.

And of course, don’t forget to buy a mattress protector to prolong the it’s life. A discreet waterproof mattress protector is ideal and won’t cause embarrassment to an older child. The Comfort 50 waterproof mattress protector has a luxurious peach skin finish. It’s luxuriously soft and is machine washable and will ensure a longer life for your child’s mattress

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at