Sleep consultant offers tips on getting a peaceful night

Sleep is something we all feel we need more of.

And if you are a parent chances are it is the thing you think about a lot.

Soma Amos started her business Counting Sheep Sleep Coaching in October 2019, having previously worked as a registered nurse and health visitor, visiting families homes for nine years.

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A lot of the support she offered was in relation to children’s sleep, which led her to run a sleep clinic for families in the Littlehampton area.

Sam and Soma

She said: “As my role as a health visitor developed over time I found I had less time and opportunities to work with families in this way.

“So having talked about it for years, and then having my own sleep thief, after completing further training both within the NHS and privately, in October 2019 I decided to set up my own business as a sleep coach so I could still help families with their sleep which I feel really passionate about.”

Many of the common issues that people contact Soma about relate to bedtime battles, frequent night waking, early rising, nap refusals, people wanting to stop co-sleeping and sometimes a combination of all the above.

Soma, who lives in Midhurst, said: “One of the biggest things that can impact on bedtime is actually really simple, I always ask about how the parent is feeling at bedtime; often it’s exhausted, anxious, frustrated, dreading it, wanting it to just be over! Which is totally understandable, I think we’ve all been there.

“I try to get them to consider how this will impact on their child and their ability to relax.

“I encourage them not to clock watch, to really connect with their child in this time, keep as calm as possible and usually this has a knock on effect on how their child sees bed time too which is so important, bed time should be an enjoyable, relaxing time for everyone.”

Soma says that routine and consistency is key but that every child is different and what works for one family may not work for another.

She added: “Sometimes after a few nights it might become clear that a certain strategy isn’t right for that child and you might need to work at a different pace.”

One of the common misconceptions Soma finds is leaving a child to cry when it comes to sleep coaching.

“However this is not a method I would ever recommend,” she said.

“Despite there being lots of conflicting research on whether leaving a child to cry has any damaging effects, it’s simply not kind.

“I don’t feel they learn to self soothe, they learn that no one comes when they need them, they simply aren’t developmentally able to self regulate at this point.

“I’m always happy to chat to clients before they book me about whether we will be a good fit and to discuss their expectations.

“Recently I have had a number of enquiries for babies under one and I am always keen to talk about normal child development, normal sleep development, night feeds, attachment, safe sleep, positive routines and not sleep coaching at this age.

“Sadly society has very unrealistic expectations of normal sleep for babies and you can’t fix something that is not broken.”

She added: “I absolutely love hearing the difference it has made to a family’s life.”

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