Is the Sleep Consulting Field Oversaturated?
Updated: Oct 28
Woah, woah, woah! Whyyyyyyyy is this even a question?!
Did you know that there are 385,000 babies born EACH DAY??
That’s over 140 million babies born each year.
That’s potentially 280 million tired parents who could use some help with their baby’s sleep.
And these numbers don’t even include children who are toddler-age or preschool-age!
So, we’d actually argue that there aren’t enough sleep consultants to go around!
When most people think of someone whose job is sleep consulting, they think “sleep trainer,” and while most certified sleep consultants do offer behavioral sleep training services, many of them also just provide basic education about the science of sleep, and what that looks like during the early childhood years.
Why Sleep Consulting Should Be the Norm
Sleep consulting should be the norm. Wouldn’t it be cool if, just like when a mother gives birth in a hospital or birth center, a lactation consultant will visit a few times to make sure baby is doing well and things are going all right with feeding in those early days, a sleep consultant could also make rounds and see each family? A sleep consultant could help educate the parents on safe sleep, swaddling, setting up the nursery in a way that’s optimal for quality sleep, all before they leave the hospital?!
We can dream, right?? For now at least. We’re pretty good at making dreams come true.
385,000 babies are born each day.
That’s a lot of babies. And consequently, a lot of tired parents.
While there are plenty of parents who will want to arm themselves with education either prenatally or during the early days of their child’s life, there are those who wait. And wait. And wait some more…
…because they think it’ll get better or their little one will “grow out of it” and finally get the hang of this sleep thing.
And while that’s true for some children, it’s not for all.
Some children are just harder than others when it comes to learning the skill of sleep.
Similar to learning to ride a bike or read, some will have a strong foundation that allows them to succeed with little to no intervention. Others will need more help, modification, intervention, and support to fully grasp the skill.
We have modules within our sleep consultant certification course that dive deep into many topics that consider all angles of a child’s development and contextual factors that may impact their sleep. And we teach you how to work with it.
Here’s a quick sample of some of the topics we cover in the sleep consultant certification course when it comes to providing differentiated support for families:
Pre-requisite knowledge (sleep science)
Sleep timing, routines, and environment
Age considerations for newborns, infants, and toddlers
Milestone development and growth spurts
Considering separation anxiety
AND MUCH MORE!
If 385,000 babies are born each day, that means that 140,525,000 babies are born each year.
These babies will eventually turn into toddlers, and toddlers into preschoolers.
Sleep consultants can work with a variety of ages. For example, in the Sleep Consultant Academy from The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness, covers sleep for newborns all the way through preschoolers. You will be able to confidently work with children ages 0-5, and maybe older depending on your background.
I guess what we’re trying to say is…there are plenty of tired parents to go around those first few years, especially.
There are even families who will work with a sleep consultant more than once! Children grow and develop, and over time, their sleep needs change. They move from a crib to a bed. As they learn about the world around them, they begin to test boundaries more and more, and this often happens at bedtime. There are also regressions that happen for various reasons throughout the first few years of life, and families may need professional help getting sleep back on track.
For example, a family may work with a certified sleep consultant when their baby is 4-months old. Everything will be great for a time, and then, almost as fast as that sweet baby learned to sleep independently, they also had a language burst and started daycare. Their sleep fell apart and now they need help again. It’s even common that if they had a great experience with a sleep consultant the first time around, they’ll come back again if or when things fall apart.
Parental Sleep Deprivation
You know we wouldn’t be doing our diligence if we didn’t share some research.
In a meta-anaylsis from April 2023, researchers found - not shockingly - that “sleep deprivation following the birth of a child is experienced by new parents worldwide.”
Parsons, et al share more about sleep deprivation being an “inevitable consequence of parenthood.” They go on to report:
Its (poor sleep) impact is likely substantial. Multiple studies connect postpartum sleep disturbances with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced sensitivity towards infants, stress and lower observed positive parenting. Enduring postnatal depression can have an impact on child outcomes and has been evidenced to affect behavioural problems in children, as well as cognitive development in the early years. Although there are other mediating factors that are likely to contribute to postnatal depression, the evidence suggests that understanding the role of sleep is of great importance. Poor sleep also likely precipitates poor performance cognitively and socially in new parents. Sleep deprivation negatively affects a broad range of cognitive processes in the general population, whilst sleep deprivation has also been linked to poorer social performance, lower social motivation and increased social isolation. Studies measuring the impact of sleep deprivation on cognition and social performance in new parents are limited and require further attention.
If you’re a mom, we’re sure you’ve heard it before, or maybe even said it to a friend who’s expecting…”You think you’re tired now, just wait until the baby arrives!” Just what every expectant mother wants to hear, right??
But there’s truth to it, and you and your partner likely know that if you’ve been there.
In an older study from 2004, Gay, et all report, “Both parents experienced more sleep disruption at night during the postpartum period as compared to the last month of pregnancy. Compared to fathers, with their stable 24-h sleep patterns over time, mothers had less sleep at night and more sleep during the day after the baby was born. Sleep patterns were also related to parents’work status and type of infant feeding. Both parents self-reported more sleep disturbance and fatigue during the 1st month postpartum than during pregnancy.”
When you think back to those days, those first few weeks after having your baby…what do you remember??
Probably not much! We hope you took lots of photos and captured lots of video because we’re sure it was a blur. Sleep is so sporadic for a newborn baby, therefore, it’s also sporadic for the parents.
Consolidated sleep is key to maintaining quality health and wellness for human beings. This simply doesn’t happen when parents bring home a new baby due to the baby’s erratic feeding and sleeping patterns those first few weeks. A parent may be lucky to get six or seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. According to a 2019 article from Healthline, “New Data Reveals Just How Much Sleep New Parents Are Losing Nightly,” Jamie Webber reports that, “On average, each new parent loses a staggering 109 minutes of sleep every night for the first year after having a baby.”
In the age-old question, we often wonder if postpartum mood disorders such as postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression are caused or enhanced by sleep deprivation, or if sleep deprivation is caused or enhanced by these and other postpartum mood disorders.
Armstrong, et el wondered the same thing and concluded from their 2003 study that:
An outpatient-based individualized approach to modifying children’s problematic sleep behavior using recognized behavior management techniques is effective.
Modification of problematic childhood sleep behavior is associated with significant improvement in maternal mood.
Given the high incidence of childhood sleep problem and diagnosed postnatal depression, it is likely significant numbers of mothers being diagnosed as having postnatal depression are suffering the effects of chronic sleep deprivation.
Management of postnatal mood disorder and childhood sleep behavior must occur with due recognition to their close association.
Anecdotally and from various research, we can also state that parental sleep deprivation affects the marriage or relationship in a negative way.
Lack of sleep in new parents can have a number of detrimental impacts, such as an increase in stress hormones, lowered cognitive function, problems controlling emotions, and worsening postpartum depression symptoms. Insomnia, daytime drowsiness, anxiety, sadness, restless sleep, and exhaustion are particularly common in new moms. The worst sleep quality normally occurs when the baby is three months old, but sleep deprivation can persist for up to six years after a child is born.
Still think we don’t need anymore sleep consultants??
Working as a Certified Sleep Consultant
Sleep consultants can work with a variety of age ranges, but also, globally.
People around the world are having babies, and as long as you can speak and write in their language, you can work with anyone who is a tired parent.
All you need is a wifi connection and you’re good to go!
What does a sleep consultant do?
A sleep consultant is a professional who offers advice and assistance to families, especially those who are having trouble getting their child to sleep. They address concerns and resolve issues that are present in various scenarios by drawing on their in-depth knowledge and experience in their specialized field. A sleep consultant's capacity to listen is one of their most crucial abilities because it enables them to comprehend parents' requirements and evaluate the situation. To assist families in getting their children to sleep better, sleep consultants may use a variety of techniques and/or methods.
Finding Your Niche as a Sleep Consultant
If you’re worried that there’s not room for you in the sleep consulting field, well, you’re wrong. And we mean this in the best way possible! Just like there is a lactation consultant for every baby, we believe there should be a sleep consultant for every baby.
And there are so many ways you can niche down to really find your ideal client, and conversely, help your ideal client find you.
Here are a few examples of how you can market yourself and niche down in what seems to be a saturated field:
Work primarily with twin families or families of multiples
Work with breastfeeding moms
Work with formula feeding moms
Work with Hispanic families
Work with adoptive families
Work primarily with toddlers or big kids
Work primarily with families prenatally or during the newborn months
FAQ: Why would we want to create more competition?
We don't feel that the market is saturated; rather, we believe that there is still a big need for sleep support for families and for better quality education for them.
Only in the United States, 4 infants are born every second. In the first year of parenthood, parents lose 44 full nights of sleep on average.
In other words, we need you!
We have a combined 9 years of experience as certified sleep consultants, and we knew there was a need for a better sleep consulting certification program on the market. That’s why we started The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness. Some things that set our program apart from others on the market include:
A paid internship opportunity that enables you to obtain practical experience while developing your brand to attract clients (and make some money!).
Rather than charging you for a newborn or toddler course, we cover EVERYTHING you need to know from birth to preschool.
We also have a huge number of knowledgeable contributors to make sure you get a well-rounded education that will enable you to give your clients genuine holistic help.
Mostly, we just remember how tired we were when we first became moms. And again and again as we had more children (after a combined seven children, I guess you could say we’ve got some experience with sleep deprivation!). But we also know that as parents, it’s easy to get in the way and prevent our babies from showing us what they’re capable of. Once we got out of our own way and found A BETTER WAY, we knew we had to share it with others. And that’s why we do what we do. And that’s why we want YOU to do what we do too - if you’re the right fit, of course.
How do you know if you’re the right fit? How do you know you’d make a good sleep consultant? Here are a few questions to ponder:
Do you enjoy helping other moms?
Are you passionate about pediatric sleep?
Would you like a rewarding career that allows you the flexibility to work from home and raise your children?
Have you ever thought about starting your own business?
Are you a hard-working, driven individual?
Can you communicate well with others…specifically others who are tired and experiencing sleep deprivation?
Are you empathetic?
Do you like to make money?
Would you like to have something that is just for you?
If you answered yes to any or a few of these questions, we want to hear from you! Set up a call with us here to learn more about our online sleep consultant certification program now.