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Sleep Coach Says Parents Don’t Need to Say “Goodbye” to Quality Sleep

Ann Long Photography
Ashley Jorgensen’s twins, Walker and Harvey.";

When they say “Hello” to baby, this sleep coach says parents don’t need to say “Goodbye” to a good night’s sleep.

Ashley Jorgensen says goodnight to her 4-month-old sons Harvey and Walker. After she turns on the white noise, turns off the light and leaves the twins’ bedroom, she can count on 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep with one occasional feeding.

A good night’s sleep for this mom of four, 5 and under is something she values. Because she remembers what it’s like to go without.

“Our firstborn was a terrible sleeper…so then my second son was born, and he was actually a decent sleeper at first. … And then all of a sudden, it just kind of went haywire, and he was up every hour at night and was fighting naps during the day. And of course, I had a 2-year-old to take care of,” Jorgensen said.

Without sleep, Ashley said working 12-hour shifts as a registered nurse was a challenge. And the sleepless nights were also a marriage stressor.

“Nick wanted to help but my son wouldn’t accept him, so he couldn’t help - so, just stressful for all of us,” Jorgensen said.

At their wits’ end, Ashley and Nick reached out to a sleep coach Ashley learned about on a friend’s Facebook page.

The sleep coach taught Ashley parents can actually teach our children to sleep just like any other skill. However, parents can accidentally interrupt this process by “putting them to sleep” by rocking, nursing or cuddling until their children are fully asleep.

“Usually there is some kind of prop, or crutch that the child is using to get to sleep,” Jorgensen said. “Common ones I see are nursing to sleep or using a bottle or rocking or driving a car. Those things are parents using something to put the child to sleep, so when we wake which we all wake naturally in the night an average of, I think they say six times a night. But the difference between a baby who quote, unquote, “sleeps through the night,” versus one that doesn’t, is that we kind of wake up and access our surroundings, and if we know how to go back to sleep independently, they just go right back to sleep. Babies and kiddos who are put to sleep, when they wake up in those natural times, they have to call out for mom and dad to come and put them back to sleep.”

The sleep coach guided Ashley as she taught her baby and toddler to sleep independently. She implemented a sleep routine, began using white noise, swaddling her baby and practiced laying him down awake and many other techniques.

She followed the coach’s recommendations, and within a week the family was getting sleep.

Although it seems like an art, the techniques are backed by science. Ashley explains that when children are on a sleep schedule, the body becomes accustomed to the routine and begins releasing the sleep hormone melatonin about 10 minutes ahead of scheduled naps or bedtime.

When children are overtired, miss naps or kept up too late, the body releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline which actually counteract sleep.

The sleep coach’s guidance made such an impact, that Ashley decided to become a Certified Pediatric Sleep Coach herself so she could help other families.

Families like the Wagoners. When Hannah and Jacob welcomed baby number-two, Hannah was up every hour and a half. With no solid sleep, she said it was tough to make it through her 10-hour workdays. That’s when she called Ashley.

“She asked a lot of questions. Kind of like our routine, you know even the littlest things. Like, are you breastfeeding? Are you formula feeding? So, it was a lot of like getting to know kind of how we do things as a family. And then from there, she kind of dissected what worked for us and what didn’t work for us and then offered tips,” Wagoner said.

Among the many practices Ashley shared with Hannah was not to rush to the rescue every time she heard her baby fuss.

“You know give them a minute, instead of just jumping up and being right there at their aid. But that was another thing I really appreciated about, Ashley. It was never the cry it out method. She knew there was absolutely no way I would be able to handle that,” Wagoner said.

Today, Cohen is 1 and sleeps 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“I enjoy getting up in the mornings and being able to spend that hour with my kids before they head off to school and daycare, instead of dreading the mornings because it came so soon,” Wagoner said.

And sleep training doesn’t just work on babies. Ashley Jorgensen says toddlers struggling with sleep are among her favorite clients because they crave sleep and adopt routines quickly.

If your children are not sleeping through the night. You are not alone. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 76 percent of parents surveyed have issues surrounding their child’s sleep. To learn more and to connect with Ashley Jorgensen, visit SDPB.org where you’ll find a link to Jorgensen’s website: www.sleepcoachashleyjorgensen.com