Are sleep consultants legit?
Updated: Jul 11
The sleep consulting field isn’t too well known, and we asked ourselves the same question when we finally learned that this was actually a thing.
We find that most who enter this field come here one of two ways:
After they’ve used a sleep consultant themselves and experienced the life-changing transformation that this kind of work can bring
They struggled with their own child and wish they would have had that kind of help, and this passion for helping others paired with a deep interest in sleep science has now become their career
We are both of the former option. We had our first children, experienced sleep deprivation, became obsessive over learning all we could to help our babies, and eventually, made it our mission to help others too!
If you find yourself in either of these camps, maybe YOU should consider sleep consulting as your potential career path.
What Do Sleep Consultants Do?
Similar to a personal trainer or lactation consultant, many sleep consultants work with families one-on-one to coach them through teaching their infant or child the skill of healthy, independent sleep. It can be hands-off or more hands-on, in-home or virtual coaching and support. Their work is usually tailored to meet the needs and specific situations of their clients, taking into account many different factors about the child and family.
You can read all the books, blogs, and research all about pediatric sleep, but none of those books, blogs, or research are written for your baby and your family specifically. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when you work with a sleep consultant one-on-one.
From the public perspective, sleep consultants provide a lot of basic education when it comes to sleep – how to establish healthy sleep foundations and routines from the beginning, age-appropriate schedules, tips for overcoming various sleep obstacles, how to navigate regressions, nap transitions, travel, time changes, etc. – the list goes on and on.
The magic of actually working with a sleep consultant is the troubleshooting they do for your family during the process of working together. They can give you a plan specific to your family’s needs and wishes, teach you what to do, why to do it, and how to do it in a developmentally appropriate way, AND also guide, support, and encourage you throughout the sleep training process.
The accountability itself that a sleep consultant can provide can help you with being successful when sleep training your child. Many consultants provide sleep logs that families fill out along the way and can make recommendations as you move forward in the process, ensuring that you are successful if you follow the plan and their recommendations with consistency.
When working with families, sleep consultants provide behavioral interventions to help form healthy sleep patterns and habits.
Sleep Consultant Certification Programs
There are plenty of sleep consultant certification programs out there, and just like anything, you’ll want to do some research to find out which program will work best for you.
There are in-person programs, online programs, paced or not. Some provide ongoing education and others do not. What about mentorship? What level is the coursework?
If you’re planning to start your own sleep consulting business and have no experience with running a business, you’d likely want to make sure the certification program you choose includes business basics as one of its main pillars.
Also, consider your personality and parenting style…do the teachings of the program align with your values as a parent or your approach to parenting? Is this something you feel comfortable going forward and teaching as a part of your business?
After going through our own certification programs and running our own businesses for a few years, we found that there were some things lacking in many of the programs out there. And because we feel there’s such a need for QUALITY sleep consultants, we decided to come up with a solution. Naturally, we decided to develop our own certification program, and The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness’s Sleep Consultant Academy was born!
Things You’d Want Your Sleep Consultant Well-Versed In
There are a few things you’d want to make sure your sleep consultant knows before you decide to start working together…below are a few questions you can ask to gauge their background and education:
What does science say (is she stating fact or opinion)?
How do you know this is best practice (research and evidence-based!)?
Can you help me with ?
What are your credentials (background in pediatrics, nursing, healthcare, early education, child development, etc.)?
What program were you certified through?
Highly trained sleep consultants will also be able to identify “red flags” with a screening call or onboarding questionnaire and know when something is outside of their scope of work.
For example, if you mention that your child snores or sleeps with their mouth open, the consultant would likely recommend that you get that checked out with a physician prior to working together. If you tell them your child has reflux, you better hope they ask you some follow-up questions about that.
If there is a medical situation that needs addressing, the behavioral modifications that a sleep consultant would recommend wouldn’t work because there is an underlying issue or cause of the sleep interruptions.
There are all sorts of reasons a sleep consultant might refer your case out prior to working together – feeding issues, lie/tongue ties, low iron levels – to name a few.
However, once these things are taken care of, and with 100% consistency of implementation of the sleep plan, it’s very likely that the behavioral strategies and recommendations your sleep consultant makes will work, and after a few weeks of working together, your child will have some pretty solid sleep skills!
If your sleep consultant states that she’s one of ours from The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness’s Sleep Consultant Academy, we’re sure you’re in good hands.
And if you feel you want to be able to help families reach their sleep and wellness goals, and you want the most comprehensive program on the market, head on over and sign up for our academy today. We can’t wait to welcome you and see you in our membership community!