About San Diego Sleep Training Expert Jen Varela
For over a decade, sleep coaching expert Jen Varela has helped more than 4,000 families find the sweet sleep they’ve been deprived of and desperately needed. These families have benefited from her expertise in workshops, phone or online consultations, and group coaching. More than 800 families in the U.S. and worldwide have achieved their sleep goals through private one-on-one coaching with Jen via her company, Sugar Night Night. Jen focuses on achieving each family’s unique sleep goals, whether in co-sleeping environments, a room sharing configuration, or having the child in a separate room. She is a firm believer in customized sleep coaching, and her gentle sleeping coaching methods are far from a one-size-fits-all approach.
Jen received “on-the-job training” while teaching her son and daughter how to self-soothe and learn good sleep habits. Through her experience, she aims to provide other parents with solutions that bring hope and strategies that work with each child’s temperament. She is a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach® trained by Kim West, The Sleep Lady®; she also trained with the Infant Mental Health Community Training Program–Hospital for Sick Kids. In addition, Jen holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton.
Jen has co-authored a book with Andrea Strang titled “Loved to Sleep.” The Loved to Sleep Method is a nurturing strategy that trades tears for time — parents invest time to reduce the amount of crying from their child and improve sleep. The “Loved to Sleep” e-book is available on Amazon. For more information, visit lovedtosleep.com or sugarnightnight.com.
Another passion of Jen’s is supporting families who are struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). In 2020, she was named the first California chapter liaison of Postpartum Support International (PSI), which promotes greater awareness of perinatal mental health and supports families with PMADs. Prior to coming on board with PSI, Jen was the president of San Diego-based Postpartum Health Alliance.
In 2003, Jen Varela’s very alert baby boy was born. She entered “the toughest graduate program” of her life. Jen’s son came into this world with an I don’t want to miss a thing temperament. Helping him learn how to self-sooth to sleep became a noteworthy achievement for Jen and a welcome respite to her own tired sleep schedule.
At the time, the cry-it-out method was prevalent – even among her community of mothers. Jen knew she wanted to do it differently. Before her son turned one, Jen was pregnant with her daughter. Good sleep habits became essential, especially since her son and daughter would be sharing a room. But, her children were very different sleepers. Jen had to really “study her children” to learn how to help them develop good sleep habits individually. This on-the-job training is the foundation of how Jen approaches her sleep consulting.
When Jen saw one of her neighbor friends – the mother of a toddler – sleep deprived and struggling with postpartum depression, she immediately empathized and offered to help. She stayed overnight with her friend and taught her how to get her 15-month-old to sleep… and stay asleep. That friend told another friend, who told another friend and so on and so on…
Fast forward to today and Sugar Night Night. Jen Varela has discovered her passion. She’s been helping families have sweet sleep as a sleep coach. She walks in the trenches with parents who are sleep deprived, giving them hope and the skills they need to bring sleep back into their lives. Just like her neighbor friend from years ago, she works alongside parents – with experience, encouragement, and specific sleep knowledge and techniques.
What could be better than empowering parents and giving them their life back? Trained in the Gentle Sleep Coach® philosophy since 2011, Jen helps working parents balance the priority of having time with their baby and creating healthy sleep habits. In her own words, “We all know that when you are sleep deprived, life is not ‘living’ but ‘sheer survival.’”