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Meet Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon of The Happy Sleeper

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon.

Julie and Heather, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We’re both psychotherapists and we’d each been helping families with sleep issues for years but didn’t really know each other. The very first time we sat down for coffee and started to talk, we laughed at how on the same page we were and how we could have talked all day. We were both intrigued about how polarizing and emotional the topic of baby sleep can be. Sleeping through the night, “sleep training”, “attachment parenting” — these terms really made parents anxious and even judgmental of each other. It sounded like an either-or choice. It made parents feel like they had to decide between being a responsive parent and the family getting good, healthy sleep. We felt passionate about writing a book that didn’t make parents feel guilty about accessing a very normal, developmental thing, good sleep!

We were seeing more and exhausted and confused parents, so we decided it was time to write a book that explained how sleep and attachment are natural partners. The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping your Baby get a Good Night’s Sleep, was published by Penguin RandomHouse in 2014, and the response has been incredible. We hear from parents daily, often just to say thank you for approaching sleep in a balanced and rational way, or because they find book to be so user friendly and comprehensive. Writing in a straightforward, easy to use way was really important to us, because, well, tired parents!

Now we do sleep consults in-home or by Skype/phone with families all over the world, and we have an online class series. We find that sometimes moms and dads like extra hand holding and there’s always troubleshooting and unique circumstances to sort out, so personalized help is a great resource.

Has it been a smooth road?
An ongoing struggle for us and one that we anticipated before we wrote the book is how to truly be of help to exhausted, sleep deprived parents. We have such empathy for how desperate they feel – we’ve been there ourselves! And we also know that they’re often hoping for a quick tip or trick that’s going to magically improve their child’s sleep. That quick tip isn’t the answer; we need time to help them put together all the puzzle pieces that set the stage for good, healthy, natural sleep to unfold. The good news is that while we do need a little time to talk with parents and create a solid plan, we almost always see major improvement after a single consult. Our starting premise, “babies are built to sleep,” is borne out over and over, as parents report back to us their surprise when they discover how capable their baby or child actually is. It’s very rewarding to hear that a family is sleeping much better. The ripple effects of good sleep are life changing.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the The Happy Sleeper story. Tell us more about the business.
We help families of newborn to school age kids get good sleep. The most common issues we solve for parents relate to babies and kids falling asleep independently, nightwakings, naps, and toddlers and children popping out of bed repeatedly — that’s a big one. We’re known for our relieving approach to sleep, and most often parents are surprised at how capable and ready to sleep their children are, and how well it works when we help them craft a new plan.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Sleep research is a relatively new field and it’s exciting to follow. We love and use the research on how light affects sleep so profoundly and are eager to see more.

We’re also interested in SIDS research as it is so closely related to sleep. Our hope is that babies who are at risk can somehow be identified. If that happens, those babies would be more closely monitored while the parents of the babies who are not at risk could worry less.

For obvious reasons, we’re hoping to see studies showing that there is a “critical developmental window” for babies to access their ability to fall asleep independently. If this is shown, it would mean that practicing that natural ability by a certain age, could be a predictor of better sleep throughout life.

Pricing:

  • Online or In-Person Sleep Class, $40
  • 30-minute phone consult (if parents have the online class or The Happy Sleeper book), $140
  • 60-minute consult (for parents who need more than 30 minutes) $280
  • Full 90-minute in home or Skype consult (to craft a personalized sleep plan), $420

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Summer Drew

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