Opinion

Sleep coaching is not close to rocket science

I saw a T-shirt recently that had a logo: “Everyday there seems to a significant increase in the number of things I know nothing about.” I qualify for one of those shirts. It seem more and more I’m reading about or hearing about something that makes me say “Whaaat?”

Recently I read an article written by a “Sleep Coach.” Yes, a professional that can help you sleep better. They even have their own professional association, the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants, and they specialize. There are coaches for babies, coaches for adults, coaches for athletes, coaches for pregnant women and coaches for people suffering from various ailments or afflictions.

I was intrigued mostly because I might find out some coaching tips that would keep me from dozing off in the last 10 minutes of a show, or during Sports Page. But these coaches help people get to sleep, not stay awake.

I started to read some of the tips and was surprised that someone would have to have a Ph.D. to tell people the number one tip is that the room should be dark. Right up there in the top five, they say that the room should also be quiet. I figure if their clients don’t know this, maybe they also have other problems.

They suggest that there be no TV, stereo or other distraction. This is so they learn the bedroom is for intimacy and sleeping, it is not an entertainment centre. The premise is that couples will use the quiet time to converse about the day or make plans or become closer together. The peace that comes with intimacy will promote sleep.

How is that working for you guys?  I recall a story where the wife was laying in bed beside her husband in the dark. He had been quiet and distant since he had come home. She wondered if he was having an affair, was their marriage over, where had she gone wrong? She was afraid to ask him about his silence.

Meanwhile, he is laying in the dark with his hands behind his head staring at the ceiling asking himself: “How could I three-putt the 10th hole? Nobody three-putts the 10th hole.” It’s different priorities that keep men and women awake. I’m not sure a bedtime discussion in the dark will always solve a problem.

Baby sleep coaches are very popular and a great asset to young parents who aren’t getting enough sleep during the night. Apparently, nowadays, some babies are difficult to put to bed and then wake up during the night. Is this new? Most of the tips that are provided by the coaches, for a fee, can be garnered from any grandmother for nothing.

My brothers and I had a sleep coach. Almost every night our big sister would yell, “If you boys don’t stop fooling around I’m going downstairs to get Mom.” Lights out, no problem.

Many years ago we took two skinny little kids to see Doc Gilham because we thought they weren’t eating enough. He didn’t even examine them, he just said, “The problem here is kids trying to raise kids. Kids eat when they’re hungry and sleep when they’re  tired. Leave them alone. Go home and be parents.”

If you have trouble sleeping, a glass of warm milk and a clear conscience are good places to start. Then, a snuggle and a lullaby. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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