What made you decide you wanted to become a sleep consultant?
I always say that my career was ignited through pure selfishness. I have never been a huge baby person. I didn’t babysit and didn’t even necessarily want to have kids; until I met my husband, fell madly in love and wanted a family!
One thing I did know for sure though, was that I did not want to be sleep deprived. My older sister had three kids and two had been great sleepers but baby number three..not so much. I saw how my sister became more pale and exhausted, and had to take afternoons of work because she just couldn’t cope anymore. I knew that I never wanted to be in that situation.
Sleep has always been a priority for me because; if I don’t get enough of it, I mutate into the Hulk and I don’t even like myself (let alone other people).
So when I became pregnant, I started googling how I could help my baby to sleep as well as possible right from the start. That was when I discovered that there was even such a profession as a sleep consultant! Here in Europe this field of work is very new, and so I was intrigued!
A year later I decided to take the plunge. I quit my job, I became a certified sleep consultant, and I opened my own business - which also helped me to discover that I am not an employee, but a fully-fledged entrepreneur. And thus, the journey began.
One year later (due to demand), I re-trained in adult sleep coaching and also added a certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition to the mix. I am now focusing 100% on that business, and I love it!
What do you love most about your job? And what is the most challenging aspect?
When I work with clients I don’t just change their sleep; I truly change their life.
Sleep is just one symptom. If you imagine it as an object, then there would be a lot of different strings attached to all kinds of different aspects that influence sleep itself. Those could be emotional stress; e.g. relationships, family, work colleagues, or also biochemical stress; e.g. hormone imbalance and gut malfunction.
When I work with someone, we truly look at all of those aspects and take one piece of the puzzle at a time and help to balance it out so that the body can do the work it is designed to do and sleep (and the other positive side effects such as weight loss or better skin) is a great side effect.
The most challenging aspect is to help clients to practise self-care without feeling guilty. I mostly work with women and their to-do lists are huge! Time for themselves is usually at the very bottom, so helping them to feel comfortable with putting themselves in the ‘top three’ is what takes a lot of coaching, patience - and frankly a lot of love. But the results are totally worth it and life-changing.
Most common sleep difficulties encountered?
Waking up at two or three in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep. There are different reasons why this could happen and I have a variety of protocols that I set into place to minimize or eradicate those wake-ups.
What has changed in the industry (e.g trends, research, products) since you started your business – for better? Or worse?
Sleep has become a huge topic and is very popular right now, especially in the US. I think it is partly due to Arianna Huffington and her launch of The Sleep Revolution and Thrive Global together with new research on sleep that is starting to get funding - and the incredible results it provides.
How have you evolved in your knowledge, and approach to sleep consulting since you first started with your business?
I have taken many courses on infant psychology and have really designed my own programmes as I found that the education I received from Sleep Sense was too limited in its approach for my clients. I then added my training on adult sleep issues, and lately functional diagnostic nutrition, which was a game changer for my work with adults.
Most challenging client experience to date?
I had two similar clients; both times their expectations were ridiculously high, and the parents imagined me doing everything for them (despite a thorough pre-call).
Most rewarding client/professional experience to date?
There were so many! I always have to laugh because the most frequent sentence I hear is “We didn’t think it would work”. Which makes you wonder why they hired a sleep consultant at all.
With adults, I love seeing how their whole changes to their advantage. My clients are not only healthier, but they also gain a lot of confidence and their life resembles more of how they want to have it - instead of just watching out for others and losing themselves in the process.
What is one piece of advice you give to all clients, regardless of their circumstances?
Be patient and take one step at a time. Forgive yourself if things aren’t working perfectly.
What advice would you give your former self, or another consultant starting out in this industry?
Read up on as many techniques as you can. Pick what you like and design your own programmes and protocols.
How do you want to leave your mark on the industry?
I truly want to change the world by advocating sleep as a power tool. I want it to be normal for people to talk about their sleep struggles and also to ask for help.
Christine’s website is: Sleep Like a Boss; www.sleeplikeaboss.com