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How to Help Kids (And Their Parents) Rest Easy

Sleep coach Dana Obleman shares her tips.

By Cooper Levey-Baker December 29, 2016 Published in the January 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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“My first son, who’s 14 now, was a terrible sleeper, and that led me down the road to ‘Why? What can I do to help?’ I was an elementary school teacher and I also have a B.A. in psych, so there was something intriguing about it. I just started researching what made sense and how I could help him. And he turned into a fabulous sleeper and still is.”

“At the time, there was no one doing anything like sleep coaching. I could have used it. And I thought, ‘Hey, maybe this is something people need.’ So I quit my job and started the business. I started doing private consulting with parents back in 2003 and then we put the Sleep Sense program into an online format in 2004.”

“There’s just one reason why a baby’s not sleeping well. He has a dependency on some external source, like a breast or a bottle or being rocked. When babies wake up in the night, they don’t know how to get back to sleep without that prop. So you have to teach a child how to find independent ways to get to sleep. Some people like to stay with the baby and be a supportive body in the room. Others are more comfortable going in and out, leaving and checking on the baby. I give options to meet their comfort level.”

“Probably 75 percent of our client base is toddlers and up. People keep hoping that their child is going to outgrow this and then they hit rock bottom and start looking for help. We get a lot of website hits around 3 a.m. Something’s got to give. It affects relationships, energy, your health, your productivity at work—all of it.”

“If you go into any baby forum and somebody starts talking about sleep training your baby, 10 moms will jump in and say, ‘You should have gotten a puppy,’ and ‘You’re not cut out to have kids if you can’t take it.’ But in the last five years, there’s been a real light shined on why sleep is so important and how not sleeping well impacts our health so deeply.” 

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