In April of 2020, Google searches for “insomnia” and “can’t sleep” started trending. If devices and health-related apps didn’t have them already, developers added bedtime and sleep-related features. Service providers in other fields like real estate and finance even began adding tips and tricks for healthy sleep into their mailings and newsletters.
While most searches for “sleep coach” will turn up results to help your children get better sleep, I work specifically with adults because as you likely know, adults can need help too.
How do you know whether you’d benefit from talking with a Sleep Wellness Coach? Here are 5 things to consider.
1. Your health is changing in a way you’re not happy about
Your whole life, you’ve been able to work 80-hour weeks, pull all-nighters, or catch up on sleep later. Drinking coffee after dinner has never kept you awake, or you’ve always been the person who can fall asleep anywhere, any time. Or, you just haven’t needed to think much about sleep.
But you’re starting to see some changes in your health. You’ve been given medication for high blood pressure, or your doctor is warning you about your weight. Maybe you’re starting to notice it’s more difficult to focus and be productive at work, or you don’t have any energy left for yourself or your family afterwards. Perhaps you’re feeling anxious or depressed. You can’t catch up on your sleep anymore; hell, you can’t even get yourself to sleep when you want to! Maybe the only way you can get some sleep–which isn’t as refreshing as you’d like–is by taking something, which deep down you don’t want to do. You may be suffering from a chronic condition that flares up from time to time, and it’s challenging to maintain a “normal” life.
Whether the changes involve your physical, mental, or emotional health, you’ve noticed a change and you’re not liking it. Maybe someone whose opinion you value told you that sleeping less and feeling tired or foggy is a normal part of aging, and that you’ll have to just accept it. However, that’s not a choice that sits well with you deep inside.
Having a minor health scare is a wonderful wake-up call. Unfortunately, most people experiencing one don’t think their problem is serious enough to make changes. They miss the opportunity to nip emerging problems in the bud.
Usually it takes a more significant health scare to motivate someone to take their body’s messages seriously. Sadly, even this isn’t always the case. I once talked with a woman diagnosed with hypertension and treated at a hospital. An entrepreneur, she was unable to work for several months. Her face flushed, her hands visibly trembled. She mentioned she didn’t sleep well, didn’t have time for self-care, and was back to working an 80-hour work week to “catch up” for the time she’d lost.
I mostly work with people who are not just suffering from sleep deprivation, but also have significant physical, mental, and life crises as a result. They’re taking massive combinations of OTC and prescribed drugs, and supplements in “sleep cocktails” yet are still not getting refreshing sleep. Some are on the verge of losing their jobs because they’re so sleep deprived. While these cases are never hopeless, they do require more effort, and for a longer period of time. Essentially, the deeper the hole you dig, the harder it is to get yourself out.
In contrast, a minor (or first) health scare is a wonderful opportunity to put down the shovel and climb out. It’s a great time to change your lifestyle before you’re forced to, and to gather the tools you need to continue sleeping well for the rest of your life.
2. You don’t have time or interest in becoming a sleep expert
Google is full of information, products, tools, tips and tricks you can try to help you sleep better.
My clients tend to be “type-A’s”, high-achievers, and perfectionists, many in professional roles similar to my former career in hi-tech. They’re super smart people. And smart people believe that with enough information, they can solve their own problem. So why haven’t they?
As any effective manager knows, it’s imperative to delegate. You can’t do everything yourself. Is sleep an area of expertise you’d really like to have? Great–go for it! But if you wouldn’t be researching or studying about sleep if you slept well, if you’d be dedicating your energy to a project, a cause, a hobby, or a relationship you’re more passionate about than sleep, you may want to work with a Sleep Wellness Coach.
When I first talk with a client, it’s highly likely they have an arsenal of tools to help them sleep better. They use these practices inconsistently. They’re not sure which ones actually help; they’re always on the hunt for another one. They may have read conflicting advice–for example, about napping, and are feeling confused. They’re tired and unfocused, yet they’re spending precious energy, time, and money desperately looking for something that can help.
How do you know which technique or remedy would work best in YOUR particular situation? How long should you experiment with a practice before you decide it’s not helping? What other factors are contributing to your insomnia or sleep troubles? A Sleep Wellness Coach can help you select the strategies that are most efficient & maximally effective for your specific sleep concerns.
3. You can’t seem to do the things you know you should, or stop doing the things you shouldn’t
If you’re someone who’s struggled with insomnia or hasn’t been able to sleep for some time, you’re likely also well-versed in sleep hygiene practices. This type of advice is EVERYWHERE.
Yet, you may not be practicing good sleep hygiene consistently. It’s not your fault; this can be challenging. You have a lot going on. In addition to being busy at work, you may also be caregivers for children and/or aging parents. It’s hard to see where there’s any time for you to put foundational sleep hygiene practices in place.
You may have trouble setting or maintaining boundaries. Maybe you’re not feeling able to prioritize your sleep and self-care without feeling guilty. You need someone who understands your busy life, can help you find some space, a better routine or structure; someone who not only can individualize strategies so they’re most efficient, but will also hold you accountable in clearing space to make small changes that will have a noticeable impact.
As a Sleep Wellness Coach, I often help people do things they couldn’t do before.
4. You just can’t seem to figure it out
For people who already have good sleep routines in place but still aren’t sleeping well, it gets more interesting. A client who recently finished up my 12-week Sleep Wellness Coaching program said this:
“You helped me see that it’s not one thing, but a lot of little things that add up and contribute to my inability to rest, to shut off my brain, and to get refreshing sleep.”
Sleep “tips and tricks” usually don’t work because that isn’t how sleep works. Sleep is a complex process and challenges manifest differently in each person. Any one, or a combination of lifestyle habits could be wrecking your sleep, negatively impacting your daily energy and damaging your overall health.
When you’re in the middle of your busy life and you’re not getting refreshing sleep, it can be very difficult to gather up the pieces of this puzzle yourself. This is, in part, due to how sleep deprivation impacts cognitive abilities. (It’s also related to reason #2).
Ideally, a coach is someone who asks insightful questions, helping you make connections between things that on the surface, seem separate or unrelated. In collaboration with you, a coach creates an environment for “ah-ha” moments to emerge. You discover contributors to your sleep situation you were previously unaware of. The insights you have during coaching sessions help you get unstuck, and ultimately accelerate your progress.
“I spend too much time in my own head, locked into a singular perspective. Kali helped me see additional perspectives and different interpretations of situations. And she approaches it as my partner in my journey.” — K.R., Director
A Sleep Wellness Coach can help you see things you couldn’t see before: the root causes of your poor sleep. And when you become aware of these, you’ve transcended the quick fix.
5. You’re tired of trying to do everything yourself
You are a capable person who up until now, has accomplished everything you’ve set your mind to. You may have succeeded despite the odds being against you. You’ve relied primarily on yourself. Maybe that’s because you didn’t have access to support, didn’t get the support you most needed, or because independence is something you highly value. Perhaps it’s because like many people, you’ve been trained to view asking for help as a sign of weakness.
A mindset shift many of us have to make is that asking for help is a sign of emotional strength. It’s a way of acknowledging our human need for connection, and how we “tick” as people. Knowing when to ask for help is being resourceful. It’s also a way of being practical and efficient.
Most people have a perception that change is difficult. But with assistance that includes support, encouragement, accountability, and compassion, change can be so much easier. When you work with someone who truly sees you, listens to you, and partners with you on your journey, it’s also much more likely that the changes you make will stick for years to come.
Only you’ll know when you’re ready to make the investment in your sleep, your health, and yourself. There will always be reasons to delay, and the mind can surely come up with a lot of them! However, I hope this article helps you recognize there’s no better time than now.
When you’re ready to move beyond quick fixes and get the refreshing sleep you deserve, here are 2 ways I can help . . .
➞ Join me in the Sleep Academy. This self-guided program is designed especially for those who can’t sleep because of stress and over-anxious minds. To get started, click here.
➞ Hop on a free Clarity Call. You’ll get a fresh perspective and walk away with a strategy you can use to start sleeping better.