Owlet Dream Lab review: Can a sleep coaching program help my kids?

by Joseph K. Clark

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By 5:41am, I can already tell it will be a bad day, mainly because my twins have taken turns waking me up every 20 minutes since 3:17am. I alternate between the two babies until 5am when I can get almost a whole half-hour of rest before they wake again. I feel like a dying neon sign: flickering and buzzing and attempting to function correctly. I can’t focus. I’m short-tempered. I cry at least twice before lunch. There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique.

Not every night is as hard as that one was. In general, we’ve reached an uneasy truce in my household regarding the kids’ naps and bedtimes. We more or less stick to a schedule, and they generally don’t take more than 15 minutes to fall asleep at night. But, they don’t always stay asleep. Their naps are probably shorter than they should be, and I know I’m getting them into some bad habits by cuddling and rocking them back to sleep. We could be doing better, and since I didn’t know where to start, I decided to sign up for the Dream Lab sleep coaching system.

Owlet Dream Lab review

Dream Lab is affiliated with Owlet, the Smart Sock that monitors a baby’s heart rate and respiration during sleep. The Dream Lab system was developed by two pediatric sleep consultants, Jill Spivack and Jen Waldburger, who have helped over 500,000 families establish healthy sleep patterns with their children. The service is Owlet’s only software product. While you can purchase a code to unlock it for $100 from several different places, the program itself is only available via the Owlet website. It consists of assessments and questionnaires to see where your child is having sleep difficulties, plus instructional videos and three different training options to use with your child. It’s not a “cry it out” type of program, but it does point out that a few tears during the process are likely unavoidable.

What is sleep training?

For those unfamiliar, sleep training is the general concept of teaching a baby to fall asleep on their own without intervention from a parent or caretaker. That means no rocking, cuddling, walking, swinging, nursing or feeding. This teaches a child how to soothe themselves and helps them learn how to fall back asleep when they wake in the middle of the night.

There are dozens of schools of thought on this — new parents will likely hear the phrase “let them cry it out” more than once — but they’re all basically centered around getting a baby to sleep consistently and soundly through the night. These techniques are sometimes combined with sleep weaning, which moves your child away from waking at night to eat. Either way, the goal is for everyone to be getting more sleep.

 

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