Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense Program Review
Before becoming a mom, I knew that having kids would mean sleepless nights for a while. But after my son was born, I realized that nothing could have prepared me for the sleep deprivation I was going to face.
As the months went by, I started to believe my son would never sleep through the night.
When I approached friends and family for advice about it, I was often met with the “don’t worry, he’ll grow out of it” response. So, I waited. And waited.
Unfortunately, my son didn’t grow out of it. When he was 13 months old, his longest stretch of sleep at night was still only 3 hours. And the only way he would fall asleep was by nursing.
The sleep deprivation started to spill over into family life
Apart from always feeling tired, the lack of sleep was starting to affect my mood during the day. I would snap at my husband over the slightest things, and our relationship was feeling the strain.
But worst of all, I started to resent my baby and his need to be fed round the clock. I was still doing all the diaper changes and feedings, but without any joy. I realised I was not being the best mother that I could be for my son.
At that point, I decided I needed help to get my child sleeping through the night.
After pouring over many articles about baby sleep training, I stumbled across Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense Program.
When I saw that her online course promised a fast, easy and gentle way of sleep training my son, I was very interested in what she had to say.
If you are looking for a sleep training program for your baby or toddler, I hope this review of the Dana’s Sleep Sense Program will be useful to you.
In this review I’ll be looking at:
- Overview of the Sleep Sense Program
- Is it gentle sleep training or does it involve ‘crying it out’?
- What sleep training methods does Dana Obleman use?
- Does the Sleep Sense Program work?
- What’s included in the Sleep Sense Program?
- Sleep Sense Program pricing tiers and is it worth the cost?
- The pros and cons of the Sleep Sense Program
- Would I recommend it to other parents?
Overview of The Sleep Sense Program
Sleep Sense is a sleep training program for babies and toddlers (6 months – 5 years) that was created by Dana Obleman.
Dana is an infant and child sleep consultant who has appeared on U.S. national television, radio talk shows and major newspapers. She’s been a sleep consultant since 2003, and is very experienced in the field.
Her 100% online program provides a practical, step-by-step system to help your baby or toddler sleep through the night. (And taking long, restful naps during the day.) You can find details of the program on www.sleepsense.net.
Dana’s methods are based on one very important principle: to get your child sleeping through the night, she needs to learn to sleep on her own.
So if you’re facing problems like: having to nurse or bottle-feed, rock, or give your child her pacifier to sleep, this program is for you.
What makes this program different from others is that it shows you exactly what to do based on your child’s age and personality.
Dana doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to sleep. That’s why she’s designed Sleep Sense to be a customisable program with various methods to choose from based on those two factors.
Free Personalised Sleep Assessment
This belief of Dana’s is clear through her initial customised sleep assessment which she offers parents for free. You answer 6 simple questions and your assessment is sent to you by email.
If you’re interested in taking the quiz you can start it here: Free Sleep Sense Sleep Assessment.
Is it Gentle Sleep Training or Does it Involve “Crying It Out”?
Dana was very honest and upfront when answering this question in her book.
Changing a significant part of your child’s routine is going to be met with resistance. And children express this resistance through crying.
So yes, do expect some tears from your child if you decide to carry out this program. But Dana has also stressed that she would never ask a parent to leave a child to cry alone for extended periods.
Here is her exact response to this question:
Please understand that I will never ask you to leave your child to cry alone, nor will I ask you to ignore their cries. The reason that The Sleep Sense Program is so effective is that it allows you to develop a plan that you feel comfortable with, based on what you know about your child.
When I was researching sleep training methods, I felt that I was not very comfortable with the traditional cry-it-out method.
I was glad to see that the Sleep Sense program had a gentler way to guide my child to sleep on his own. The fact that the program had methods that allowed parents to be more present with their child really helped me to cope with my son’s crying.
I’ll admit that it was hard to listen to my child cry for the first few nights. But when I told myself that this was going to help him get more sleep in the long run, I realised it was for his own good.
What Sleep Training Methods Does Dana Obleman Use In The Course?
Here is an overview of the actual methods Dana uses in her sleep training course. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the work that goes into helping your baby get restful sleep at night actually happens BEFORE bedtime.
She stresses the importance of having a:
- Consistent sleep schedule – appropriate nap and sleep times that are at around the same time each day.
- Bedtime routine – a quick and consistent bedtime routine, so your child knows when to expect to sleep for the night.
- Teaching your child to fall asleep independently – techniques for helping your child learn to drift off when they need to sleep.
Her program goes into a lot of detail about what an appropriate sleep schedule and bedtime routine is for various age groups.
In terms of getting your child to fall asleep and stay asleep, Dana’s methods are based on one very simple principle: your child needs to learn to fall asleep on his or her own.
That means removing what she calls “sleep props” (e.g. rocking/nursing to sleep, pacifiers), and putting your child into her crib awake.
Your child will most likely take some time to figure out how to fall asleep in this new way. So Dana provides various methods to choose from to help you guide your child through this process.
If you feel you would like to be more present with your child during the night, she offers solutions for that.
And if you feel that your child might need more space to learn to figure things out on his own, Dana gives guidance for you about how to do that appropriately.
She encourages parents to choose what is best based on the child’s age, personality and response to each method.
Does the Sleep Sense Program Work?
When I researched what parents had to say about the course on online parent communities, the majority of the reviews I found said that the Sleep Sense program works and it was worth every dollar.
Many have reported that their children were having better sleep. And when their kids were more well-rested at night, that also meant they were a lot happier in the day. (The same went for mom and dad too!)
For my son, the first 3 nights were the hardest.
But by the fourth night, he started to realise that mom wasn’t to go back to the old ways of nursing him to sleep. That was when he had his longest stretch of sleep ever – 7 hours!
On average, many parents report seeing improvements by the third night. But of course, every child is different.
And it depends on many factors like the child’s age and if they’re going through any developmental leaps.
For me, when I saw drastic improvements by the fourth night of trying the methods, I was very impressed.
I found that the key to seeing results with Dana’s methods was to be consistent with my son. So if you’re like me and didn’t see improvements within the first night, don’t give up! Sleep training takes patience.
In terms of naps, most parents do see improvements. However, some still report that they struggle with naps even though their child’s night sleep has improved.
Pros and Cons of the Sleep Sense Program
|Gentler than traditional methods. A good middle ground between traditional cry-it-out and gentle sleep training methods.||Teaches established sleep training principles. If you’re a very well-read parent, you may find some of her information and methods similar to things you’ve already read on the internet.|
|Thorough course material. Very comprehensive: covers night sleep and day naps, gives sleep advice from birth to toddler years, has information about special circumstances (e.g. travel).||A lot of content. Because the program is so comprehensive, the amount of information can be overwhelming for some.|
|Customizable to suit parent learning style, child temperament, parents’ preferences about responding to their child during crying.|
|Suits many age groups. Provides you with information for multiple age-groups. So if you encounter sleep regressions down the line, you can always refer back to the book.|
|Actionable. Provides very practical and actionable methods.|
|12 month guarantee. Has a 100% risk free money back guarantee.|
|Personalised support. There is the option for personalised support from Dana herself in the top pricing tier.|
What’s Included in the Sleep Sense Online Course?
If you’re wondering what’s included in the Sleep Sense Program, I’m going to say in one word: ALOT.
Her top pricing tier program consists of 5 multimedia components (in the form of an e-book, videos and personal consultations) to suit various learning styles.
Her lower pricing tiers do not have all the components of her program, but we compare the different packages in more detail further on.
I take a look at the 5 components of her course in a bit more detail here:
The Sleep Sense Program Downloadable e-Book
This e-book is basically Dana’s bible for sleep training. And because it’s so comprehensive, reading the book alone is more than enough to start sleep training.
Why the Sleep Sense Program works
The early chapters explain the importance of having good quality sleep and why it’s important for your child to fall asleep on her own i.e. why it’s worth the effort.
She gives a very good explanation for the reasoning behind her methods. And I felt that once I understood the why, it was easier to follow-through with the method itself.
Sleep Schedules and Bedtime Routines
The middle chapters are categorized according to the child’s age (0-3 months, 3 months-1 year, 1 year and up). Each chapter is also “self-contained”, so you can skip to the chapter that’s relevant to your child’s current age.
For each age group, you are provided with specific advice on age-appropriate sleep scheduling and bedtime routines.
How to get baby to sleep on their own
It then goes into detailed exact step-by-step instructions for different methods (based on age and personality) to encourage your child to sleep on her own.
Real life case studies
Throughout the book, Dana also provides real life case studies. I found these helpful for putting the theories and methods into context.
It was also encouraging to see that there were other parents going through the exact same issues that I was facing.
14-Day Sleep Video Training Session
Over the course of 14 days, you will receive daily videos showing you exactly what to do for every night over 2 weeks. It is also customized to your child’s age group, so it’s not just generalized advice.
In addition to in-depth “how to” video lessons, Dana also goes into what might have happened the previous night, how to handle issues that may have arisen and what to expect for naps and night sleep for that day.
If you’re a visual learner, and feel that you would like visual examples of what’s described in the book, this video training series will be helpful for you.
The Sleep Sense Program Telephone Hotline
Each week Dana spends a few hours to host conference calls from parents taking her Sleep Sense Program.
You can call in to ask her any questions about your particular problems. And it can’t get more personalized than getting to speak to Dana herself.
If you don’t want to ask any questions of your own you can also choose to listen in on the conference call and learn from the questions that come in.
Baby Sleep Bootcamp Video Recordings
In these video recordings, Dana explains the most important parts of her book to you in video form.
This option is great for parents who don’t really have time to read, or receive information better in video format.
She covers her most critical topics of her book, including:
- How to help your child gently adjust to sleeping without sleep props in the quickest way (e.g. rocking, feeding, pacifier to sleep)
- How to ensure your child’s environment is optimal for sleep
- What to do when your child wakes at night
TWO Personalized Email Sessions with Dana
This is quite similar to the hotline. But if you’re not keen on asking questions with others listening in, this email format is a great way to get your queries to the Sleep Sense team.
Dana will respond personally to any questions you may have about your child’s sleep.
Bonus Course Content
At the time of publishing, she is also including 2 bonus items in all pricing tiers:
Bonus Offer 1: “Biggest Sleep Setbacks – Solved!” Video Library
After reading the book, you’re bound to have “but what if my child …” type questions.
In this video series, Dana tackles most common questions that parents have when implementing the program.
It’s in a troubleshooting kind of format, where she answers questions like ‘what if my child is sick?’ and ‘what if we’re travelling?’
Bonus Offer 2: The Sleep Sense Program Quick Start Guide & Workbook
In this workbook, you are given blank worksheets to fill out about your sleep scheduling plan for your child. You also write your plan for tackling bedtime and nighttime wakings.
This workbook really takes you from the “reading and understanding” phase to the “take action” phase.
The visuals of having a systematic plan really helps to internalize what you committed to. And in the thick of the training itself, it gives you a quick reference guide to what you should be doing.
Also, if your child has multiple caregivers (e.g. babysitters or grandparents), it helps them to have something to refer to if they’re unsure of what to do during sleep time.
Sleep Sense Program Pricing Tiers
The Sleep Sense Program is all about customizability. And the same goes with their pricing.
As you can see from the above, there are 3 different pricing tiers to suit different budgets.
Which Sleep Sense Package Should You Choose?
If you learn well through reading, the Basic Edition is a great option because it is very comprehensive. It has ALL the information you need to sleep train your child.
But if you’re sleep deprived and desperate for some quick answers then the Gold Edition may be a better fit for you. I found that I learned a lot faster from videos than from the e-book.
The Platinum Edition is for parents who are experiencing more complicated sleep problems with their children. In such cases, that direct support from Dana and her team will be a valuable resource to you.
Is Sleep Sense Worth The Cost?
I feel that the Sleep Sense course is worth the cost because there is so much content in the program that you get a lot of value for what you pay. And you can start seeing improvements in your child’s sleep within a few days without leaving them to fully cry it out.
I also noticed many have mentioned on parent forums that Dana’s course is very comprehensive.
It takes you through the whole sleep training process in a very detailed manner. You really feel that you’re being handheld the whole way so that the vast majority of questions you will have are answered.
The basic plan is less than $50, which is the price of a few toys. So for me it’s investing in my child’s sleep quality for their development and my own health too.
12-Month Money Back Guarantee
Dana provides a 100% money-back guarantee, which I find very reassuring if you’re not sure whether it’s the right program for your child.
If it happens that the program is not suitable for your family, simply email the Sleep Sense team and they’ll happily refund what you paid for the program. Here is a screenshot of her guarantee from her website at the time of publishing:
Alternatives to the Sleep Sense Program
With the amount of support, customizability and materials that you get in the Platinum Edition, it’s almost like having a private sleep consultant in this program, but at a fraction of the price.
Dana herself charges $995 for a phone consultation and her certified sleep consultants start at $400 a meeting.
As this is outside many parent’s budgets, the course does offer a more practical way to get help which is still personalised to your child’s age and circumstances.
I did some research on private sleep consultant pricing, and here is how it compares to the Sleep Sense Program:
Sleep Sense Package Comparison
|The Basic Edition||$47||Downloadable eBook
Quick Start Guide & Workbook
Common Sleep Setbacks Video Library
|The Gold Edition||$67||Everything in the Basic Edition, plus:
14-Day Sleep Video Training System
Baby Sleep Bootcamp Video Library
|The Platinum Edition||$129||Everything in the Gold Edition, plus:
Access to Sleep Sense Telephone Hotline
Personalised Email Support Sessions
You can review the different pricing options on the Sleep Sense Program Page.
In comparison, private consultations could cost along the following lines:
Remote phone consultations: $150-$200 per hour
In-home consultation: $500-$800 (usually 90 minutes)
Overnight in-home sleep training: $800-$2000 per night
Sleep Sense packages range from $47-$129 so they are much cheaper than the above options. They also provide more support materials over a longer period of time than one-off consultations are able to.
The Pros and Cons of the Sleep Sense Program
Pros of Sleep Sense Program
There are so many benefits to this program, but I’d like to highlight 6 of the program’s best features:
It is gentler than the traditional cry-it-out method
As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t ready to follow the traditional cry-it-out method. So when I discovered the Sleep Sense Program methods that allowed me to respond to my child while he was learning to sleep on his own, I was sold.
It provides age and personality specific methods to sleep training
It really made sense to me that how you would respond to a young 3 month old would be very different from a strong-willed 2 year old. So I’m glad Dana catered for age and individual differences in her program.
Also, sometimes you might think one method might work for your child, but it doesn’t end up that way. So it’s useful to have various options to choose from in this program.
It is very comprehensive
Dana describes her program as the only resource you will ever need to help your child sleep through the night. And it’s true.
From the principles behind her methods, to more detailed issues like what to do if you’re travelling, it’s all covered in one simple program.
The material is written in very simple language, and is easy to understand
It’s very practical and gives you an actionable step-by-step guide on what to do.
It offers the option of personalized help and access to Dana
You get the option of personalized help direct from Dana if you’re having complicated issues with your child’s sleep.
Different pricing tiers are offered to suit various family budgets
And as you have a 12 month 100% money back guarantee it makes it quite risk-free. So if it doesn’t work for your family, you can always get a refund.
Cons of the Sleep Sense Program
When I was researching this program online, I found 2 common criticisms about it.
Much of the information is not anything you can’t find on the internet.
To a certain degree, that is true. But that can be said of any sleep training program out there. Also, there is so much conflicting advice on the internet, it can be difficult to weed out what is helpful and what isn’t. So if you’re not guided by a professional in your research, you could be implementing methods that may not be helpful.
Additionally, some parents felt that even though they knew many of the principles of Sleep Sense, having a systematic teaching program helped them to get organized and take action.
There is a lot of content in the program
Another issue raised was that there was so much content in the program, some felt it was overwhelming.
To me I felt that this was actually more of a positive than a negative because you do get a lot of value for what you pay.
It helped that the program was organized in a way that made it easy to skip to the relevant chapters based on your child’s age.
So I was able to skim through the contents page to find the relevant sections for my child.
Sleep Sense Reviews, What Are Others Saying?
Online the Sleep Sense Program got an average of 4 out of 5 stars from 562 reviewers across two platforms (Amazon and Good Reads).
Many people felt that her approach was practical and effective. Most saw positive results within a week and would recommend it to other parents.
Others liked how the program has various methods to suit different people, and it is not a full cry-it-out method.
However, there were a few who felt that it just didn’t work for their family situation. So it can depend on each parent and each child too.
Overall, there were many happy customers, as you can see from the reviews below:
Would I Recommend The Sleep Sense Program?
The Sleep Sense Program is a comprehensive, customisable and easy-to-follow program. I would definitely recommend it to any parent who wants to try sleep training their child.
For me, the best feature is that it’s gentler than traditional cry-it-out methods.
So if you’re not comfortable with leaving your child to cry for extended periods, but still want a fast solution to your child’s sleep issues, I highly recommend you give Sleep Sense a try.
Additionally, the program isn’t just confined to one method of sleep training. It equips you with a variety of practical skills, so that you can adapt it to your child’s age and personality.
And to me, the risk free guarantee kind of seals the deal. If it doesn’t work for your family, you can always ask for a refund. So there isn’t any harm in giving it a try.
I hope that this review has helped you learn more about the Sleep Sense Program, and I wish you many restful nights ahead!
Baby Gadgets to Help With Sleep Training
If you’re looking for baby sleep monitors, we’ve reviewed 3 of the best here which also monitor baby’s breathing giving you peace of mind while they sleep.
There are also smart monitors which you can use with your phone. So if you’re thinking of this option, we’ve compared 2 of the best — Nanit vs. Owlet here.
Finally, if you’re looking for help to settle your young baby, the smart SNOO bassinet (which we reviewed here) can help rock them to sleep.
FAQs for Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense
What is a sleep sense consultant?
Sleep Sense consultants provide more personalized support through in-person meetings or online calls with parents to discuss their child’s sleep needs.
They go through a rigorous 3-month training program with Dana Obleman herself before they receive certification.
What sleep training method should I use?
Which sleep training method is best for you really depends on you and your child’s needs. Are you comfortable with the traditional cry-it-out method? Or do you prefer a very gentle method that doesn’t involve any crying?
I found that Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense Program is a nice middle ground between the two extremes.
When should I start sleep training?
When to start sleep training depends on the individual needs of your child and family as a whole. But generally, you can start from around 4 months of age when their sleep cycles have started to mature. (1)