There’s no denying the power and importance of a good night’s sleep. When we rest well, we wake up recharged and ready to take on the day. Sound sleep helps us focus at work, maintains our health and mood, and even reduces stress.
Sleep is a natural phenomenon and an organic life requirement. It facilitates good mental health, ensures the primary organs (such as the heart, liver, and lungs) function well, and improves metabolism, among other benefits. But unfortunately, many people struggle to sleep, no matter how tired they are. However, they don’t know where to turn for solutions.
Sleep coaches or sleep consultants are professionals who help clients form healthier bedtime habits and routines to foster a good night’s rest, ensuring optimal wellness.
Learn the ins and outs of sleep coaching and if this profession is right for you.
What is a sleep coach?
Sleep coaches advise clients such as children, teenagers, and adults on how to optimize sleep habits and patterns as well as establish bedtime routines for more restful nights. Here’s how:
- Visit clients: Sleep coaches visit a client’s sleeping space to ensure it’s conducive to rest. The coach thoroughly assesses the area, and if they see areas for improvement, they suggest modifications. These improvements could include lighting, room temperature, or electronics in the room.
- Review clients’ routines: Sleep coaches analyze clients’ bedtime rituals by talking to the clients, examining their sleep patterns, and evaluating their medical history. Sleep coaching clients have an opportunity to discuss the coach’s observations and better understand their condition. Remember, coaches only make recommendations if they see areas needing improvement.
- Educate clients: Sleep coaches inform clients about the best sleep practices. They ask clients to maintain a diary and record the following:
- Going-to-bed and waking-up times
- The number of times (if any) the client woke up during the night
- The count of naps
- Other essential information, such as how much time the client lay in bed before dozing off
This diary helps coaches assess clients’ bedtime or sleeping habits, enabling them to suggest more focused improvement plans.
- Examine clients’ physical health: Besides examining bedtime routines, sleep coaches assess clients’ important daily activities such as exercise, diet, and work–life balance. Regarding exercise, coaches ask clients if they work out or play a sport. When it comes to diet, coaches focus on clients’ eating habits, caffeine and alcohol intake, and meat consumption. And with respect to work–life balance, coaches ask clients their signing-in and logging-off hours and if clients make time for outdoor activities or even as little as watching TV, especially if clients work remotely.
Sleep coaching for all ages
If you were surprised to learn that there are people to help you sleep, perhaps you’ll be even more surprised to find out that they specialize in vastly different age groups—from babies to adults. Although an infant can’t interact with a coach the way an adult can, parents facing trouble getting their child to sleep at night often seek professional help. Here are a few ways sleep coaches help clients of all ages.
Baby sleep coaches
A sleep coach for babies intervenes when parents have trouble establishing a routine for their infants and want to ensure children are resting well before and after their meals.
Child sleep coaches
A pediatric sleep consultant helps parents get their toddlers to sleep at night or in their own room. These problems ultimately cause stress and interrupted sleep for parents, too. Coaches also work with older children and teenagers with poor sleep habits, such as going to bed late and getting up too early.
Adult sleep coaches
Coaches working with adults assess bedtime habits and sleep challenges, such as too much screen time or caffeine before bed. Specialized sleep coaches assist clients in reducing snoring.
How to become a sleep consultant
In the coaching industry, coaches don’t often diagnose problems, look at medical records, or visit clients’ homes to perform an assessment. And like others, sleep coaches aren’t medical professionals (but should know when to refer their clients to one). However, we always recommend earning a certification in the field. Although no governing body demands it, it’s always a good-to-have. Here’s how to adequately prepare to become a sleep coach.
- Earn a degree: Pursue a college-level degree in a related field such as childcare, pediatrics, nursing, or psychology. The background knowledge comes in handy in your coaching role, but it’s important to remember that this knowledge doesn’t qualify you to act as a physical or mental healthcare professional.
- Pursue a sleep coach certification: Certification goes a long way. It helps you develop skills to assist potential clients. Here are some programs to consider:
- Precision Nutrition: The institute offers a sleep, stress management, and recovery (SSR) certification that teaches students about emotional eating, counterproductive coping, sleep and menopause, and many more topics. The course is one of the most sought-after certifications that only opens enrollment twice in a year.
- The Spencer Institute: The institute offers a Certified Sleep Science Coach (CSSC) training program divided into three sections –– basics of sleep, impact of sleep on mental health, and effects of sleep on physical health. The course costs $279.
- Parenting Health Institute: The training institute offers an Integrative Adult Sleep Coach Certification Program that comes in two “tracks.” Track 1 focuses on self-study and track 2 is all about group sessions.
- University of North Carolina: The university offers Health and Wellness Modules: Sleep Module, an approximately 2-hour long online course that enables students to learn about sleep disorders, deprivation, and hygiene.
- Gain experience: Shadow a successful industry expert or coach before taking on clients. This will help you understand client demands and how a successful coaching program should run.
- Set up your business: Chart a business plan outlining services, charges, and target demographic –– whether you’ll focus on children or clients of all ages. Set professional and financial goals and write a clear mission statement. Also, research the domestic market to understand the prices of other coaches. These steps help you create a brand and voice, ensuring competitive marketing campaigns. You’ll also better understand the work’s scope and reach. Finally, register the business and start practicing.
- Keep learning: Read about your line of work to stay up to date. Check out titles on sleep science such as:
- “The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night” by Dr. Guy Meadows
- “The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep” by William C. Dement
- “The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It” by Dr. W. Chris Winter
- “The Self-Empowering Sleep Book: Solutions Gained From Experience” by Delbert Curtis
- “The Self-Empowering Sleep Book”
- “Sleep: Redefine Your Rest, for Success in Work, Sport, and Life” by Nick Littlehales
Excel as a sleep coach
The best coaches — regardless of their specialty — stay organized. We recommend not “sleeping” on the opportunity to get a good customer relationship management (CRM) tool to streamline your administrative tasks.
Practice’s CRM tool, designed with coaches in mind, allows you to securely store client data and receive payment, send messages and documents, and take bookings. Focus on helping your clients develop healthy sleep habits instead of on administrative work. Try us today.