Top sleep doctor: Trainers, health coaches, and dietitians can make seriously great sleep coaches.

As a trainer, therapist, health coach, or dietitian, you probably see your clients more than most physicians see their patients.

That extra time allows you to build rapport and trust—critical components for helping clients get unstuck.

Now here’s something you might not know:

That rapport and trust could make you a seriously great sleep coach.

The reason: A lot of emotional investment goes into helping people change the multitude of daily habits that affect sleep, says Chris Winter, MD, a leading sleep specialist, author of several books (including The Sleep Solution and The Rested Child) and contributing expert to PN’s Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery certification.

“Trainers, therapists, health coaches, and dietitians might be positioned to do that better than a doctor,” says Dr. Winter.

(And, yes, that’s actually coming from a sleep doctor.)

Plus, according to Dr. Winter…

There aren’t enough sleep doctors.

Long wait lists prevent people from getting the help they need—and some of those people suffer from mild sleep issues that truly don’t rise to the level of “I need a doctor to look at this.”

Take that person who knows their 4 pm cup of coffee keeps them up at night.

This person most likely doesn’t need a doctor. A sleep coach, on the other hand, can help them identify and try many different strategies—weaning off caffeine slowly, substituting another activity for their coffee break, drinking an alternative beverage—until the client finds the one that works.

That’s just the start, though.

Sleep, stress management, and recovery coaching is often the missing link to achieving nutrition and fitness goals. 

With specific training, you can help your clients go from overwhelmed and backsliding to feeling as if they can handle whatever life pitches them.

(And life hurls some wicked curveballs.)

The best news…

You likely ALREADY have several traits and skills needed to become a highly effective sleep, stress management, and recovery coach.

Here are three more reasons you’re perfect for the job.

Reason #1: Sleep and stress affect health and fitness… a lot.

Professional athletic teams like the Red Sox hire sleep specialists like Dr. Winter to help their players level up.

That’s because elite performers know:

Improved sleep and stress resilience lay the foundation for improved health and performance. 

This is true for all humans, not just professional athletes.

“Optimal sleep, stress, and recovery makes every other aspect of someone’s health journey easier to achieve,” says Greg Wells, PhD, performance physiologist, author of Rest, Refocus, and Recharge, and a consultant for our Sleep, Stress Management, Recovery certification.


Reason #2: You already have a lot of the qualities needed to help people change.

Maybe you’ve committed your life to helping people.

“That means, almost by default, you’re empathetic and you have compassion,” Dr. Wells says.

In addition to those traits, you’ve probably also developed many skills that facilitate behavior change.

For example, you probably know how to:

  • Clarify people’s goals (and dig up the crucial motivations behind them)
  • Listen to (and actually hear) people
  • Help people transform their old habits into new, healthier behaviors

Despite all of that, you might still feel inadequate when trying to help people with their sleep and stress management issues.

That’s where additional training can help. By gaining specific knowledge and expert techniques, you can  build the confidence you need.

Reason #3: This falls squarely into your scope of practice.

Knowing when to refer out for sleep, stress, and recovery is not all that different from knowing when to refer out for health or fitness.

As a sleep coach, you can work with people to develop practices that improve sleep quality and quantity—but you can’t diagnose their sleep apnea or insomnia, offer to run a sleep study, or adjust someone’s CPAP machine. They’ll want to see a physician for those sorts of things.

Their doctor will likely prescribe some behavioral changes:

  • “Have a better pre-bedtime ritual.”
  • “Practice these cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) exercises.”
  • “Use the CPAP consistently.”

And that’s where you come in: You can help your clients actually do these things…  successfully.

(If you’re ever in doubt about what is and isn’t without your scope of practice, check out our Scope of Practice Worksheet.)

The takeaway: While you can’t replace the value and necessity of a doctor, you can help clients effectively implement a doctor’s advice.

You’ve got the chops. (Really.)

By learning to help your clients improve their sleep, stress management, and recovery, you’ll add an edge to your coaching expertise and business.

But even better? You can help your clients move to a level of health they never realized was possible.

If you’re a health and fitness coach…

Learning how to help clients manage stress, build resilience, and optimize sleep and recovery can be deeply transformative—for both of you.

It helps clients get “unstuck” and makes everything else easier—whether they want to eat better, move more, lose weight, or reclaim their health.

And for coaches: It gives you a rarified skill that will set you apart as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will show you how.

Want to know more?

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Source: Health1