So when and why would you use a sleep practitioner? Consider the cycle of change!

The image above is taken from Steven Aitchison’s excellent website ( It is based upon the cycle developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in 1983. It describes the thought processes we use when thinking about changing something in our lives – in this case sleep issues!

So lets think about this!


This is maybe where Gran says ‘that baby should be sleeping more by now’ or ‘you are making a rod for your own back letting that toddler sleep with you’. Is this a problem for you at this point?  Probably not!


Maybe we are several months ( or years? ) down the line and our sleep situation is becoming a problem. We consider making some changes – this consideration is the start of our change journey.


We are now thinking about what we can do to improve our family’s sleep. Maybe we google some websites ( ( for example or look up one of the many sleep training books on Amazon! Maybe we even manage to read one of these books.


We put into action some of the techniques we have read about or others have recommended to us. This stage is hard!

Your child has not read the books or websites and is not really motivated by the cycle of change. However you may have read a book that suits your ethos so you find the techniques acceptable and easier to stick to. Or you may try a variety of methods and conclude that your child doesn’t need as much sleep as is suggested.


You have seen improvements in sleep and are keen to keep this going! Well done – now you need all members of the family on board and also need to ensure you continue your routine or techniques after any illnesses or holidays ( but always respond to a poorly child – sleep can be addressed again when they are better).


Perhaps an additional stresser has affected the family? Maybe a change in working hours or a new baby? Or perhaps the technique started in the action phase wasn’t sustainable for the long term?

This is a very common situation and families may have gone around this cycle of change several times before approaching a sleep practitioner. If we are prepared for relapse and aware of it when it happens then it is a temporary situation, and we move back into pre-contemplation.

True change happens when we pick the right solutions in the preparation phase and we have the right support around us in the maintenance phase. See,uk for how I can help you through this journey.