14/08/2014 12:58 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Sleepless Toddler Gets His First-Ever Good Night's Rest - Thanks To A Banana

Ross Parry

A three-year-old boy whose sleepless nights were wrecking his health and his parents' sanity has finally got some rest – thanks to half a banana.

Since he was a baby, Aaron Battersby had barely ever slept through the night. His nights were so disrupted he would wake up screaming about monsters and spiders.

He'd jump out of bed full of life at 3am and charge around the house for the rest of the day, leaving his parents exhausted.

His mum Maryann and her partner Matthew Hopkins, both 34, dreaded the nights and tried everything from soothing music to melatonin medicine to help their son get a normal night's sleep. But nothing worked.

Finally, at her wits' end, Maryann approached Vicki Dawson, a sleep expert based at Aaron's nursery, the Arnold Centre in Rotherham, south Yorkshire.

Vicki, who had her own sleepless child, is founder of The Children's Sleep Charity and invited the couple to a workshop at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Maryann was advised to give Aaron half a solid banana before bed – and his life suddenly changed.

Since the workshop on January 17, the restless boy has been sleeping through the night, dozing off at 8pm and waking up at 7am.

Maryann said: "It was amazing. Now we are a normal family. Aaron goes to bed and then me and Matthew can sit down together and have time together. Aaron is amazing now – he's a happy little boy."

Vicki said: "I'm so pleased Aaron is now sleeping through the night. It's wonderful to hear success stories and how the charity has improved parents' lives."

It is not known exactly why the banana has helped Aaron, but Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD, author of Set Free to Live Free, said: "Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which help to relax overstressed muscles.

"They also contain tryptophan, which convert to serotonin and melatonin, the brain's key calming hormones."

Experts said that as well as bananas, other slow-releasing energy foods such as wholemeal bread and peanut butter can help with restless nights.

More on Parentdish:

Toddlers and sleep problems