Sleep is serious business. It effects every aspect of your life and getting a good night sleep can make you healthier, happier, and more focused. But for the estimated 60 million Americans, sleep is elusive. It’s a catch 22- in order to fall asleep you need to relax and clear your mind but every minute that passes by while your brain refuses to quiet down builds your anxiety. For those who struggle with sleep, there may be a solution. Sleep Coaches are on the rise and they are on a mission to help their clients get more meaningful rest.
So what does a sleep coach do?
It depends. When you first get in touch with a coach, they will ask you some questions about your medical history, diet, and sleep habits. This could be over the phone or as a questionnaire. This information helps them put together a plan specifically designed to help you.
Then, in most cases, they will inspect your bedroom. They'll give advice on what may be keeping you awake like bright wall colors, allergens, large windows, and walls thin enough to hear your neighbor cough. They'll also tell you what may work better, black out curtains, down comforters, white noise, and limiting work and work outs to rooms other than the bedroom. That way you're only associating your bedroom with relaxation.
Depending on the coach and you're lifestyle, they may recommend some holistic approaches. Yoga and meditation are popular methods of easing your mind into a calmer state, primed and ready for sleep. Certain essential oils can have calming effects as well as certain teas.
In some cases, a sleep coach may recommend testing for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
Your sleep coach will analyze everything from your bed and pillows to what side you sleep on. Each step along the way they will be helping you make changes that will equate out to a more productive night.
How do you become a sleep coach?
Not too long ago, sleep coaches were for babies. New parents would hire professionals to help get their child to sleep through the night. But as our society becomes busier and on an increasingly 24/7 clock, adults started to dream about having their own sleep coaches.
Most sleep coaches are certified. They go through classes and study the different ways that people sleep, what they need to get to sleep, and how to help. Some are more focused on the client's lifestyle, helping overhaul the stress and anxiety that keeps people awake. They will give their clients tips on how to diffuse that stress and relax.
But does it work?
That depends, of course. Changing your habits is hard, especially when you're stressed or over worked. You may feel tempted to have that coffee after work to try and fuel yourself through the evening, or lay in bed answering emails after you've turned the lights off. Sleep coaches aren't magic. If you don't follow their instructions then you wont see results.
Common sleep coach advice
- Look at your diet. Cut back on sugar and caffeine, of course, but also avoid heavy meals before bed.
- Get a pillow that works with your sleep style. Did you know that pillow density is designed to help give support to different sleep styles? Stomach sleepers should look into soft pillows that wont put pressure on their neck at night. Back sleepers can go for medium density pillows to help keep everything aligned while they sleep. Side sleepers should try firm density pillows to keep the neck aligned with the spine. Not only could this help you sleep better, but it will ease aches and pains in the morning.
- Temperature is key. Most people sleep best between 60 and 67 degrees. If you're a warm sleeper, try cooling or temperature regulating bedding.
- Ditch the electronics at least an hour before bed. No scrolling, channel flipping, or email answering. Read a book, do some light stretches, write in a journal or plan out the next day's tasks.
- Keep your bedroom for sleep and relaxation only.
Sleep coaches can range from the affordable to some who charge as much as $10,000. Some sleep coaches cater specifically to celebrities and CEO's, helping these overworked, over-stressed clients find a way to get some sleep and recharge.
To many, the idea of spending this kind of money on someone to coach you through a natural process may seem ridiculous but to those who need it, it’s a game changer. If you spend most nights tossing and turning, despite your best efforts, it may be time to consider a sleep coach.