14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Sleep-Deprived Parents Strip Lively Toddler's Room Of Toys To Get Some Rest

Sleep-deprived parents strip lively toddler's room of toys and colour to get some rest

A sleep-deprived mum and dad have stripped their lively toddler's bedroom of toys and colour – so that they can finally get some rest!

Kathryn and Ryan Taylor took the drastic action because three-year-old Freddy started started waking up and playing loudly during the early hours.

His nightly play sessions lasted two hours or more and became so exhausting that his mum and dad sought expert advice.

Their plan of action was to strip the little boy's bedroom of toys and all colourful objects so his imagination wouldn't be stimulated when he woke up – and it worked!

The tips his 33-year-old mum received during recent 'sleep therapy' sessions improved the youngster's sleeping - especially on the two nights a week after attending pre-school .

Mother-of-two Kathryn and her husband Ryan, 36, from Sheffield, had endured two years of sleep deprivation which started when Freddy was one.

She said: "He will pretend he's playing with his friends. He uses the same name as his friends at school, and tells me sometimes that he's been 'in a film' with his friends.

"It sounds like a dream, but we've taken him to a sleep clinic where they observed his patterns and said he is definitely awake when he's playing.

"I call it sleep parties because he is really having a great time. He isn't attention-seeking, in fact if you go in, he doesn't want to be disturbed in his games."

Freddy goes to bed at 7pm each night and never has a problem nodding off. He can stay awake for up to four hours a night - although it is usually two or three - and is woken at 7am regardless of what happened at night.

As a result his parents get about five hours sleep. Luckily his one-year-old brother Morgan is in a separate room and manages to sleep through the noise.

"Freddy has a very vivid imagination. He can be incredibly loud, so much so that I actually went round next door to apologise when our new neighbours moved in," said Kathryn.

The sleep practitioner advised them to remove anything with colour that may catch his eye.

"We've taken down his posters, taken out his toys, that sort of thing. His bedroom is painted a calming green colour already so we haven't had to redecorate."

They also now given Freddy an extra evening meal of foods such as bananas, peanut butter and oats which help release the brain's sleep-inducing chemical melatonin.

Vicki Dawson, Founder of The Children's Sleep Charity, said: "We take a behavioural approach to children with sleep problems like Freddy's, any medical problems we refer them to experts.

"Structure is essential, parents have to implement the guidance we give them for the therapy to work.

"We offer dietary advice, recommend setting strict bed times and pre-bedtime activity to calm children down.

"We also recommend taking items out of bedrooms which will catch a child's attention when they wake up.

"In the vast majority of cases, parents see improvements. We've collected figures which say 89 per cent of children have improved.

"The other 11 per cent might be parents who haven't implemented what we've recommended, or a child with a medical issue."

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