Sleep problems are common, and many people are turning to specialists to help fix their sleep. While sleep coaches are on the rise, there's still some confusion about what they do and what to expect when working with one. We’ll break this down for you and offer some tips on how to pick a sleep coach that's right for you.
What can a sleep coach do for you?
Sleep coaches are professionals who guide and educate individuals experiencing sleep-related issues. They often focus on improving the sleep patterns of babies and small children, but more coaches are reaching out to help adults as well.
This is not to be confused with a sleep consultant, as those are different things. Generally speaking, sleep consultants address more specific sleep problems, while sleep coaches focus on overall sleep improvement.
Just like a personal trainer who helps you get in shape, a sleep coach can help you get better sleep. To achieve this, your coach helps you figure out the root causes of your sleep issues and come up with a tailored plan to reach your goals.
The coach can also support you throughout your entire journey to better sleep, which may involve:
Developing better sleep habits
While most people are familiar with healthy sleep habits, it’s not always easy to put them into practice. The sleep coach is here to help you with that.
A qualified professional can look at your current sleep routine and give you customized tips on how to improve your sleep hygiene. This could involve coming up with a new bedtime routine that suits your needs.
Creating a sleep-friendly environment
A sleep coach can analyze your sleep environment and suggest changes to improve your sleep experience.
You might get advice, like getting blackout curtains, opting for a lighter room color, or moving the TV and other electronics out of the bedroom.
Adjusting lifestyle habits
What you eat and drink can mess with your sleep quality. Considering that, a sleep coach can give you nutrition tips to help you sleep better. These tips may include avoiding heavy meals and alcohol before going to bed and cutting off coffee after 2 p.m.
Implementing relaxation techniques
Sleep and mental health go hand in hand; those who are chronically stressed are more likely to experience sleep disturbances. That’s when having a sleep coach can be helpful. They can show you relaxation and meditation techniques to help you enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
Many people seek the assistance of sleep coaches when dealing with sleep difficulties, such as insomnia, irregular sleep patterns, sleep anxiety, sleep apnea, and fatigue. Yet, a sleep coach can also be beneficial for anyone who wants to improve their sleep habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
What to expect during a sleep coach visit?
The universe of sleep coaching is highly diverse. Sleep coaches don’t have standardized training and come from different backgrounds, so they may approach sleep issues differently. However, most professionals adhere to the following script:
- Initial assessment. First, the coach will schedule a meeting to get to know you better. It could be over the phone, in person, or in a virtual session. In this meeting, they’ll ask you about your medical history, any sleep troubles, and your sleep habits.
- Personalized plan. The sleep coach will schedule a 1–2-hour session to come up with a plan for enhancing your sleep based on the info collected during the initial assessment.
- Follow-up. The coach will plan one or two follow-up sessions to see if the plan is actually helping you sleep better.
8 signs you might need a sleep coach
Getting enough good quality sleep is critical to our physical and mental well-being. Reaching out to a sleep coach might be helpful in the following situations:
- You’re experiencing daytime fatigue. If you feel too tired during the day, even when you get enough sleep, talking to a sleep coach could be helpful.
- Your sleep quality is poor. If you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, or your sleep is getting constantly interrupted, it could be a sign of poor sleep hygiene. Working with a sleep coach could help you develop better sleep habits and get some quality sleep.
- You worry too much about sleep. Some people are afraid of not being able to fall asleep; it keeps them awake at night. A sleep coach can show you some relaxation methods to manage your emotions before bed.
- You’re not happy with your bedtime routine. Maybe you’ve got some sleeping habits you'd like to get rid off — a sleep coach could advice you on how to make positive changes that suit your lifestyle.
- You’re dealing with jet lag. If you’ve traveled across several time zones, chances are you’ve dealt with jet lag — a temporary sleep disturbance that causes fatigue and difficulty concentrating. A sleep coach can help minimize these effects and promote a smoother transition to a new sleep schedule.
- You work in shifts. Shift workers can benefit from sleep coaching to develop a consistent sleep routine, even with irregular work hours, to improve their sleep quality.
- You’re dealing with sleep disorders. The coach can guide you in improving your sleep habits to address conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea.
- You want to reduce dependence on medications. Developing better sleep habits with the help of a sleep coach could help make you less dependent on sleep medications and aids.
Sleep coaches for babies/children
Everyone knows that getting a baby to sleep is not an easy task. Sleep issues are pretty common among the little ones. Babies might wake up every few hours to feed, have trouble sleeping, skip naps, or cry when a parent steps out of the room.
Kids who struggle with sleep can unintentionally become a source of stress for their parents. They may have trouble falling asleep, wake up too early, or sneak into their parents' bed at night.
Sleep coaches can help kids overcome these problems by improving their sleeping conditions and optimizing their bedtime routines.
Tips for choosing a sleep coach
Picking the right coach is crucial to reach your goals. But with so many professionals available, how do you find the best one for you? Here’s a checklist of things to review:
- Training and education. Some coaches may have advanced degrees in healthcare-related fields, while others may have a more general background.
- Work experience. While working in a sleep-related field is not a prerequisite for becoming a sleep coach, some coaches may have prior experience in the healthcare field.
- Expertise. Some coaches specialize in working with little ones, while others prefer helping teens and adults.
- Skills. Check if the coach holds certifications or relevant training for the specific issue you're dealing with.
- Results. Ask to see testimonials from past clients. What do they say about this coach’s services? What kind of results did they get?
- Costs. Costs of sleep coaching may vary. Ask about total costs to understand if a coach’s service fits your budget.
Whether you’re dealing with a specific sleep issue or want to improve your overall sleep quality, a sleep coach can help you cultivate healthier sleep habits. However, it’s important to keep in mind that sleep coaching may not fix every problem. If your sleep complaints persist, seek help from a specialized doctor.
How much does sleep coaching cost?
The cost of a sleep coach varies depending on the coach’s experience and the level of assistance they provide to you. In-person sleep coaches typically charge around $2,500–3,000.
How does sleep coaching work?
Sleep coaches collaborate with clients to improve their sleep quality and address specific issues through a comprehensive process that involves personalized assessments, education on sleep hygiene, and implementation of behavioral strategies. They also provide ongoing support and make adjustments as needed to promote sustainable improvements in sleep.
When should I get my baby a sleep coach?
It's best to wait until your baby is 5–6 months old before considering working with a sleep coach. They may not effectively develop new sleep habits before that.
A sleep coach is someone who provides guidance and educates individuals with sleep-related issues.
A sleep coach can help with developing better sleep habits, creating a sleep-friendly environment, adjusting lifestyle habits, and implementing relaxation techniques.
People seek assistance from sleep coaches to deal with sleep conditions like insomnia, sleep anxiety, sleep apnea, and irregular sleep patterns.
Signs you may need a sleep coach include tiredness, poor sleep quality and sleep hygiene, worrying about sleep, working in shifts, and experiencing jet lag.
When choosing a sleep coach, consider their background, expertise, past work experience, and service cost.
- Journal of Public Health. The benefits of sleep coaching in workplace health promotion.
- Precision Sleep Medicine. Pilot study of personalized sleep-coaching messages to promote healthy sleeping behaviors.
- Clinical Pediatrics. Child sleep coaches: current state and future directions.