What does it mean to be a CERTIFIED sleep consultant?

Currently, there is no moderating body for sleep training programs. This means that there are no regulations in place to determine who can start a sleep consulting training program, but the good news is that the majority of programs are reputable and produce well trained sleep consultants. Almost all of them involve three main parts (1) 60+ instructional hours (2) supervised practical experience, and (3) a final examination that must be passed before certification is awarded.

The training program I completed involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case mentorship with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 20 years. Clinical mentorship and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach. Some of my training topics included:

–  Basic counseling and child development
–  Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.
–  Secure attachment theory
–  Support for the breastfeeding mother

The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:
–  Postpartum Depression from Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
–  Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr. Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center
–  GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist

In order to become certified, a consultant will have completed both parts of the training and passed a final examination. Although there are several different training programs available, but most have the same basic structure and education. If you are wondering how to determine which sleep consultant is right for your family, you can often find information about their training and education on their website. Beyond that, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to sleep consultants individually and talk to them about their specific method and style of working with families to improve sleep. Many sleep consultants are happy to chat on the phone or answer emails from prospective clients without any obligation to engage their services.

If you are considering hiring a certified sleep consultant to help you to improve your child’s sleep, it is a good idea to look closely at the information the sleep consultant provides on their website regarding their certification, method, and personal style. Most importantly, making contact with the certified sleep consultant and any questions you may have is the best way to ensure that you find the certified sleep consultant who is right for you and your family.