Sweet dreams or nightmares – are we scaring our children to sleep? Have you ever thought about the lyrics sung in lullabies? Although it’s proven that singing help babies get to sleep, if you pay attention to the words sung within these traditional songs, they are often more unsettling than soothing.

Looking into songs from around the world, creepy lyrics are a universally common theme - despite originating from a time before global communication. As we all know, persuading babies to sleep isn’t always an easy job, and any parent will tell you of their desperation to soothe a restless baby. The traditional lullaby has stood the test of time as a way of relaxing at bed time, but are we scaring children to sleep?

lullabiesRemove the soothing, melodic tones from lullabies and we are left with some seriously creepy lyrics;

• Spanish Lullabies warn sleepless children to think twice about staying awake or a frightful creature will come and take them away.

• The highland fairy that snatches babies whilstparents go out to gather fruit gives a frightful element to Scottish lullabies

• In Haiti children are warned to get some sleep to prevent the frightful ‘crab’ from eating them.

As night time has always been associated with darkness and fear, this could explain the threatening themes in lullabies, or are they simply a way for parents who feel wound up by their sleepless children, to relieve their frustrations, by singing lyrics of a scary nature?

Whatever the explanation – the repetitive rhythm of a lullaby gives a certain hypnotic quality and provides an association between songs and sleep. We’ve collected the creepiest lullabies from across the world in one interactive map for you to explore.

Would you sing any of these creepy lullabies to your children? www.mattressonline.co.uk

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