The way we think about sleep training needs a reboot.


Why? Because the main method (some version of crying it out) doesn't work for a lot of parents. 

Many parents have children who sleep like a charm. Others have done sleep training and it was like the experts said: quick, easy, and effective.


But, for many parents, it's just not. Plus, parents generally hate using CIO and/or don’t want to even try it because it just doesn't fit their parenting style or their child's temperament.

So, if it doesn’t work for a lot of families, and parents don't like it, why does it seem like it's the only option?

Parents of alert, sensitive, persistent, "on" little ones . . . I'm talking to you.

Sleep books virtually never take temperament into account. As a result, parents try to use techniques that work great for mellower children and blame themselves when it doesn't work. Spirited children tend to have more trouble with sleep, fight it harder, and cry longer. I know. I've been there.


The sad part is that advice makes parents feel totally responsible for sleep problems.

Most sleep researchers and experts consider sleep as a purely behavioral event that involves removing “reinforcement” from some unwanted behavior. Because they only consider behavior, if the baby doesn't sleep, it's because the parents have done it wrong. I talk to parents all the time who say, “I know I’ve really screwed this all up.” The struggle with sleep is then compounded by the feeling that, as a parent, you don't know what you're doing.

Parents, it’s not all on you.
Sleep is about so much more than just behavior.

Real talk?

There has to be a better way to think about sleep.


Top Articles







These articles coming soon.
Until then, you can contact me for copies

Improving sleep with mom (and baby) in mind.

From Safe Sleep to Healthy Sleep: A Systemic Perspective on Sleep In the First Year



These articles coming soon.
Until then, you can contact me for copies

“Crying it out:” A critical review of the literature on the use of extinction with infants in the first year.

Forces of nature: Are there strengths that underlie the challenges of a difficult temperament?

Parenting advice about sleep: Where have we been? Where are we going?


Forces of nature: Are there strengths that underlie the challenges of a "difficult temperament" in infancy and early childhood?

Difficult or gifted? A qualitative investigation of parents’ experiences of their gifted children as infants.


about Me

I've been researching and writing about sleep training research and advice for 20 years. I started on this journey after my own experience with two amazing, sensitive/intense young children who did not sleep (ever).


I've presented research at child development conferences around the world. I'm also a certified pediatric sleep consultant specializing in working with sensitive/intense non-sleeping children and their very tired parents.


I graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Human Biology. I have a Master's degree in applied psychology (with an emphasis in Infant Mental Health) from Antioch University Seattle where I'm currently a senior lecturer in the Counseling Psychology Dept.

Download CV here.

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© 2020 by Macall Gordon, M.A.