Pokémon Sleep: Is This Every Parent's Dream Invention?

Could it do for sleep what it did for walking?

There are some things in life children are just better at than grown-ups – and one of those things is getting up early. They go from horizontal to full of beans in a heartbeat, suddenly requiring you – their hard-working, exhausted parent – to provide them with things like breakfast.

It’s particularly galling when they later get grumpy, having sprung up before they’d had enough sleep (particularly as this tends to lead to Tantrum City).

Salvation may be on its way, though, in the unlikely but charming form of Pokémon. The gaming company has promised it will soon do for sleeping what they did for walking with Pokémon Go – gamifying it and making it newly exciting for children who would rather do almost anything else.

Introducing: Pokémon Sleep.

When Pokémon Go came out in 2016, it was a phenomenon. Screen-obsessed kids who would previously have balked at the idea of going for a walk were all over it. The walks were inevitably spent staring into a screen, sure, but it was a step forward at least.

From the sounds of it, Pokémon Sleep seems set to work a lot like sleep tracker apps, but instead of using sleep stats to reach conclusions like “Guess that’s why I’m so tired!”, players will use them to train and upgrade their Pokémon. If kids won’t stay in bed past six in the morning for Mummy and Daddy, maybe they’ll do it for Snorlax.

Children in the UK don’t get as much sleep as they should. Last year, it was described as “a hidden health crisis”, as statistics showed sharp rises in children and teenagers being hospitalised for sleep disorders.

While full details on how Pokémon Sleep will work haven’t been released yet – and it seems unlikely to be as simple as “more sleep equals more points” – Pokémon has said its aim is for players to “look forward to waking up every day”, and it will be as much about forming good habits to promote healthy sleep as just running the hours up.

It’s not all good news – while Pokémon Go was a free app, Pokémon Sleep will require a special piece of equipment, Nintendo’s Pokémon Go Plus Plus (yes, two pluses), a Bluetooth-enabled sleep tracker that will transmit the child’s sleep data to a smartphone. The device won’t be released until 2020, and so details are pretty thin on the ground at the moment about things such as price, availability and what will happen to data uploaded about your child.

But who knows? If it takes a bit of competitiveness and encouragement from a weird-ass blob thing to persuade a child to get a healthy night’s sleep – and let their parents get a few more minutes in bed – that’s probably not entirely a bad thing.