Does a sleep consultant teach you anything you don’t already know?

I had an interesting conversation recently with a group of parents who were talking about the “point” of working with a sleep consultant. They were wondering what information and advice a sleep consultant gives that isn’t otherwise available online or in books. This got me thinking about whether we’re clear enough in the sleep consultancy world, about what tangible added value we offer in a world where so much information is only a Google search away.

  1. We slice through the information and advice that is out there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is so important to choose a sleep consultant whose credentials and experience you trust. If you’re working with a sleep consultant, you are likely to be tired. Do you have the time and headspace to devote to sifting through the banks of information out there, in order to decide which sources you trust and which you don’t? Once you’ve found someone you want to work with, part of their role will be to cut through all that information out there in cyber space in order to provide evidence based and tailored advice based on your individual circumstances. I’m proud to say I personally have the Holistic Sleep Coaching Program to thank for my voice in this industry.
  2. We tailor information to suit your circumstances. Not all families will be in the same position, in terms of the urgency of their situations, the resources they can access, and their personal goals. Not all babies are the same in temperament, needs, routines and development stage. Does the routine you’ve found in that parenting book fit the specific needs of your child? Chances are it doesn’t, but a sleep consultant will work with you to devise a plan you feel is suitable for your child’s personal needs.
  3. We get people on the same page. This is a big one, I think. Sleep is an emotive issue for families and inevitably, parents don’t always see eye to eye on the topic. If you are paying to work with a sleep consultant though, it is in everyone’s best interests to get on the same page. Part of my role is to unite families so everyone is working towards a common goal.
  4. I hear you. Dealing with a difficult sleep situation isn’t easy. There is value attached to the process of telling a third party, in your own words, exactly what is going on and the impact it’s having on you. You are doing a good job and sometimes you just need to hear it.
  5. I normalise your child’s sleep. I will tell you what the evidence says is biologically and developmentally normal for your child’s sleep. Research shows education and understanding of normal infant sleep can reduce symptoms of post-natal depression in mothers. We’ll talk about what is normal, what could be improved, and I will help you define achievable sleep goals.

So that’s my run down of the value I offer as a sleep consultant. When you look at it this way, I think it is a very important job! What do you reckon?

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