Lack of quality control, regulation for children’s sleep coaches

Sleep coaches for children have become more and more popular in recent years. Parents turn to them when they cannot get their children to sleep properly, but the position itself is not regulated by the government, Pointer found in an investigation.

Pointer found at least 100 registered sleep coaches in the country, but there is no national registration of the profession. There are also is no quality control for their training, which youth and sleep doctors say could be a problem.

“We are now a few hundred euros poorer, a lot of tips richer, but without much success,” said one mother, Jamie Vrolijk-Van Beekum, who sought advice from a sleep coach. 

Sleep coaches might give advice that is not backed up by science to parents who are dissatisfied with official recommendations from the Dutch Youth Health Center. For example, parents who do not want to allow their children from 6 months old to cry in a controlled way –– which is one science-backed tip from the youth health center –– might turn to sleep coaches for a more palatable option. 

But there are downsides to this approach.  “I have seen that advice has been given that actually did not suit the child. That too early a bedtime was advised, which only caused a child to lie awake longer and the sleeping problems only got worse,” observed Sigrid Pillen, a pediatric neurologist and somnologist.

Therefore, GGDs are currently researching how to better support parents who are struggling with getting their children to sleep. This is around 10 percent of parents with a 6-month-old child, according to Pointer.

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