As a pediatric sleep consultant, I help you with strategies to have a happy, healthy, well-rested family! But today, we’re taking a step in the other direction and talking about adult sleep.
There are books and podcasts about helping adults to improve their sleep habits. On the blog, I am bringing in a sleep consultant who works with children and adults and provides sleep tips.
I met Katie Pitts of Sleep Wise Consulting six years ago. She and I trained together to become sleep consultants. After years, we have both scaled our teams. Katie has 43 sleep consultants who work underneath her as Sleep Wise consultants!
Recently, she has trained eleven of them to become adult sleep consultants and I am excited to finally have a place to refer my mothers who are exhausted and looking for help on how to get better sleep!
In this blog, Katie shares how to know if you are a good fit for working with an adult sleep consultant. She gives tips and takeaways to try tonight to help your overall sleep habits.
“Like many people who start something, there is a problem and no solution out there. When my first son, who will be seven in October, was born, he was born seven weeks early. With that, came a whole host of issues. By the time he was three months, he was only sleeping 45 minutes at a time, all throughout the night, and much like many of you listening, you have experienced these severe effects of sleep deprivation. I will never ever forget the day that I was sitting on Google. I typed “how to give a baby up for adoption” because I thought, I can not do this. Not only can I not survive, but this is not fair to my child and he’s not happy. I thought God had made a mistake. I was not meant to have this baby.
A couple of weeks later, I woke up one morning after a full two hours of sleep. I remember saying enough is enough. Forget it. I am a smart person. I can figure this out. I am going to solve these problems. And I researched, read, and took components of all different programs. If you’ve ever Googled sleep, you will know that they tell you opposite strategies to do, and I just piece together what felt right for me.
Within one night, my life was changed. My husband, who is the CFO at Sleep Wise, will be the first one to tell you that we were on the brink of divorce. It was bad.
And within one night, not only did I feel better, but my child wasn’t this cranky baby all the time. He was happy. That’s when I said, people have to know about this. People have to know there’s another way. Sleep is a necessity. And that’s when I met Becca in training and about six and a half years later, here we are.”
“I love your story as it is almost identical to mine. I always forget that our kids are like one month apart. So Ellie will be seven in September and I too Googled, “what do you do when your child won’t sleep”?
And I think this is a good point to just say things were so different even just six years ago. Instagram wasn’t a thing. There were no online courses or one-on-one consulting yet. Finally getting some sleep training strategies (and rest) is what ignited my sleep consulting business.
Our friendship has grown because we have taken that and grown these businesses in two totally different ways. So whereas we, at Little Z’s, have our online courses, Katie has built a team now of 43 sleep consultants who work one-on-one with families.
Her recent addition to her offerings is adult sleep coaching. So what made you decide, I love the children’s sleep training options, but we have to focus on adults over here?”
“About four years ago, when we would get finished with a sleep training program for a child, we’d get parents who were responding that they were not sleeping well. Mothers and fathers were asking for help with sleep too.
We decided we were going to help those parents with their sleep. I really became on fire for adult sleep when I was researching sleep for adults. There are thousands of studies about the impact of sleep deprivation on your health. The sleeping pill industry is a $41 billion a year industry. We now have 11 consultants on our team that are certified in one-on-one help with adult sleep. We can bring that even further because not only does your baby deserve rest, but you do too.”
“If you are an adult who doesn’t sleep well, what are some of the things that we can walk through? Let’s talk about excuses.
A lot of people think that they’re broken. There’s something wrong with them. They think it’s a medical problem. And they go to the doctor and the doctor prescribed sleeping pills, but they truly don’t want to be dependent on sleeping pills.
They think: it’s something that I have to live with. Another factor is that people don’t want to make some lifestyle changes that would really help their sleep. They are scared that they are going to have to change their diet radically or intensely exercise. Yes, exercise matters. Yes, nutrition matters.
They’re scared of what they will have to do to improve their sleep.”
“Sleep deprivation is basically a global pandemic. Walk us through some of the dangers of being sleep-deprived. What are we at risk of if we are walking around as sleepless zombies?”
“For instance, 1.2 million motor vehicle accidents every year are caused by sleep deprivation. So basically for every 30 seconds you have been reading this blog, somebody has been in an accident due to sleep deprivation.
There are links with mental illness. Alzheimer’s disease is a well-known one that a lack of sleep is a key lifestyle factor. There are correlations with cancer, weight gain, and the list goes on.
To sum it up: the less you sleep, the shorter your life.
There are 17,000 studies to back that up.”
“So are you really telling me that your consultants can fix someone who is broken in their sleep habits?”
“A hundred percent! What we do absolutely works. But here’s the thing: you have to be committed. So many people right now want this magic pill, this magic solution. We don’t have this magic secret to tell you that’s going to solve all your problems.
And we don’t have it because there isn’t one. But if you are committed, I am committed. I want to sleep better. I want to sleep eight or nine hours of sleep because research is showing seven hours is no longer enough. You want to sleep eight to nine hours of sleep every night and that absolutely is possible.”
“There are incredibly different things that happen with your sleep with adolescents. For example, adolescents have an actual two-hour shift in their circadian rhythm. And that’s going to be very different with things that we do for people who are elderly. When you are older, your bladder weakens and you have to get up a lot to go to the bathroom. There are ways around all of that and things that you can do to help with that.”
“What about kids? When do they make the shift?”
“12 years old is when we start to shift to that later bedtime. And then that later wake time. I remember when I was a teenager—I could easily sleep till noon every day. No problem. But don’t worry. Then it goes back. But not really until they’re about 20.”
“I would love to know if you can give us something to kind of chew on for an adult who is struggling with sleep. If I want to do something right now, what can I do today?”
“One of the quickest changes you can make, but also one of the best changes, is looking at your schedule and making it consistent on weekends and weekdays within 30 minutes. Waking up at the same time every single day, whether it’s Wednesday or whether it’s Saturday. Now I do want to say that you have a lot of moms and possibly new moms listening to this.
If you are living in chronic sleep deprivation, let’s say you have a newborn and they’re just waking up a lot. And your partner offers to help on Saturday and let you sleep in— yes, do that!”
“Dr. Steven Park, a sleep specialist, has a sleep podcast. He mentioned that waking up and going to bed within 30 minutes of a certain window is important. But, why is it important?”
“If we have the same start time, there are two components that you have to have to get a good night of sleep: sleep pressure and your circadian rhythm, also known as your biological clock. Both of those component components are very important in getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep pressure is just what’s adding up in your body over the day.
We talk about it like bricks in a backpack. It’s building up, building up, building up. So your sleep pressure is so heavy that by the time you go to bed, it releases throughout the night to give you a full night of sleep.
You also have to have your circadian rhythm—we know that we’re either what they call a lark or a night owl. We’re one of those things.
What if your sleep pressure is really high, but your body clock always wakes up at 7:00 AM? Even if you go to bed at 3:00 AM, your body clock is still going to wake you up at 7:00 AM.
They have to work together, but they work independently. Having your structured schedule is going to be really important.”
“What does this process look like with you and your team? If you are interested in this at all, I strongly encourage you to schedule a free 15-minute evaluation with one of our adult consultants. They are going to get on the phone with you and figure out what is going on with your sleep.
Sometimes it’s a medical issue, like sleep apnea. We aren’t treating medical issues, but if we see those red flags, we are going to recommend you see a sleep physician.
If it’s not a medical issue, we are going to discuss with you what our Sleep-Wise program looks like. You’ll fill out a questionnaire about your sleep habits and a food log.
Once we get all that information, we will have an hour-long, one-on-one call with you to discuss your sleep problems, an appropriate schedule for your lifestyle, and four things we want you to target that week.
After that, we meet for 30-minute calls for 5 weeks where we discuss your progress and struggles. Sometimes we recommend room changes or supplements.
The goal is that you are confident in moving forward and you feel empowered about your sleep.”
“This is amazing. Within five weeks, your adult sleep habits can be radically different!”
If you want to get started, here is a link to a free 15-minute call! Katie’s team is the right decision for you if you are struggling with sleep. We want the whole family to feel well-rested and get great sleep!”
Thanks for being here, Katie!
Sweet dreams. See you next time.
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