Why Does Sleep Training Not Work?

As we all know, many topics in the baby/parenting industry cause big debates. The topic results in parents talking, engaging and on occasions resenting a very passionate opinion. The world of sleep is no different. Just the words’ sleep training’ send shivers down their spine for some parents. 

I will be honest; I do not love the phrase “sleep training”. Not due to me having strong opinions on it, instead what that word can do to other parents. In my role as a sleep consultant, my daily task finds myself clarifying to others precisely what these words mean in my capacity as a holistic sleep consultant—explaining what I mean when I use those words.

What do I mean when I use the phrase sleep training?  In my eyes, the phrase sleep training means whatever method I use in helping a family create a genuinely sustainable sleep association.  It does sound complicated. And yes, the reality is it should be. Having chosen these words purposefully! I hope it has provoked you to ask the question, why would I do that?

Let me tell you now. 

Because I truly understand and know the power which goes along with it. In my role, I come across daily irresponsible people who do not wish to fully understand this power and make remarks, comments & “off the cuff” remarks about sleep training! Yes, we all have an opinion & I do believe you are entitled to it. However, passing information that is not correct will create and have more harm for that family & child than any good they had wished to get! So I ask you, please be aware of what advice you give & follow. Daily, I see how; when not done correctly, it can be more harmful than good in my clinic when new clients contact me when it’s all gone horrendously wrong and, in most cases, has worsened the situation. There is much more to this than just simply doing sleep training. Simply doing that will not work, and more importantly, doing sleep training wrong will never work!

YES, that is what I said & I will repeat that sleep training does NOT work!

As I mentioned above, during my daily clinic, I consult with parents who decided to attempt a form of sleep training themselves without support & guidance. And guess what, it never went well! Involving long hours of crying did not help in the slightest. In all honesty, it resulted in both the baby and the parent being traumatized.

Many professionals out there would say this is due to the parent’s consistency. They weren’t, they weren’t determined enough, or they didn’t believe. They did have all of that, they were consistent, very determined and full of belief, and it did not work.

Why, when you are attempting sleep training having professional help makes a difference?

Sleep is natural, correct. However, it is a lot more complex. Many of us, time and time again, exhausted parents underestimate this.  Sleep training (or should I say, creating sustainable sleep associations) is only one part of enabling us to sleep well. This is the area most parents have passionate opinions on. This is because it is one of the more difficult steps when good sleep habits are taught. However, it does not make it more critical.

The facts are that too many parents try and attempt sleep training themselves, having read a few ideas or suggestions but have not understood that any sleep training should be done responsibly. Most of these parents attempt sleep training without ensuring any other fundamental building blocks for sleep are in place. Unfortunately, too many of those parents irresponsibly attempt sleep training. The result is a lot more unnecessary crying and, sadly ultimately, more sleep issues developing. The outcome – an even worse situation with a traumatized family who are now even more sleep deprived. Not the result wanted.

Meaning sleep training does not work… at least not in isolation. 

In my professional opinion, any sleep training should not be attempted without first ensuring that all the other building blocks which will help create good quality sleep are present. Not doing so would be irresponsible.  Creating good sustainable sleep associations is only possible once all these other building blocks for sound sleep are also firmly in place.  It would be best to remember simply because these other building blocks can be much easier to achieve. It by no means makes them any less critical.  In truth, the opposite is true. Getting the right building blocks in place will go a long way in bettering your baby’s sleep & can even, on occasion, result in not even needing to do sleep training!

Therefore, when sleep training is attempted with no proper daily routine and schedule in place will not work.  To attempt to sleep train your child after giving a litre of fizzy pop to drink will cause hours and hours of crying. Having a bedtime routine that is too late will result in your baby waking up soon after falling asleep.  Having all the lights on while sleep training will mean the whole process is prolonged but also create multiple wake-ups.

How can Lisa’s programs help you with this?

My role in all of helping clients sleep train is to help with these foundation blocks. Please make sure they are age-appropriate and in the correct order. I then create a truly personalized sleep program that is tailored to your family. Considering personality, characteristics in both you and your child will reflect your ethos in parenting style. Results being it is simple & easy for you to understand and follow.

To discuss this further, please book a discovery call with me via this link. I offer this as a free no-obligation call where we have a chance to chat about your situation, and I can tell you how I can help you and what package I feel would be best for you. I offer a variety of 1-2-1 consultation video calls right through to my 4-week personalized sleep program.

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