I discovered the fascinating world of sleep by accident when I was an undergraduate at university. I thought about working on an Honors project in Neuropsychology, but ended up doing my first research project in “sleep”.
From the first time I watched the brain electrical activity of someone asleep – I was hooked (I recognise that sounds much stranger when I say it out loud!!).
I changed my career direction and started a PhD looking at the impacts of age on different aspects of sleep. I have had the amazing experiences of being able to study sleep in some of the leading universities. First at the Stanford Research Institute in California USA and then in the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.
I built my career around my family and when one of our sons was diagnosed with cancer only a few weeks after his 3rd birthday, all of our lives were turned upside down. We entered four long years of brutal treatment and living in and out of hospital and I couldn’t sustain my career as a researcher any longer.
However, it was during this time that I was reading a parenting website and came across an article about baby sleep. This contained some misconceptions about baby sleep that alarmed me. I started researching what new parents were being told about sleep and was horrified by the abundance of mostly inaccurate and confusing information.
Sleep doesn’t have to be something we threaten naughty children with or a dark force that we dread as it gets dark outside. Sleep is an evolving process and with sound knowledge about how to approach it, you will feel calmer and more confident that you are supporting your child’s growth and development.
What if I changed the way we think about sleep and empower people to enjoy our natural abilities to sleep?
And there it was – I had found my new purpose!