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Jayne Havens is a certified sleep consultant and the founder of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. As a leader in the industry, Jayne advocates for healthy sleep hygiene for children of all ages. Jayne launched her comprehensive sleep consultant certification course so she could train and mentor others to work in this emerging industry.

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Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable with Ali Manning

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable with Ali Manning


Ali is a mom of two and a former elementary school teacher and instructional coach. When her kids were born in 2018 and 2021, Ali knew she was ready to make some big life changes, but she couldn’t pinpoint exactly what she wanted to do.  After a great deal of soul searching, she kept coming back to the transformational experience she had when working with a sleep consultant when her daughter was 20 months old. She realized that becoming a sleep consultant, and helping families find the relief that comes with sleeping again was exactly the move that she wanted to make. 

Ali enrolled in the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management in February of 2023 while still teaching, and launched her business, Snuggles and Slumber Sleep Consulting, in April. She is now home with her kids, supporting families with sleep, focusing on building her business, and happier than ever.


On this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast, Ali and I discussed the idea of becoming comfortable with our own discomfort. Ali shares:

  • How working through her own discomfort as a sleep consultant has made her better at her job
  • That some of the tasks she once found incredibly overwhelming and challenging are now second nature for her
  • Her plans for maintaining proper mindset so she is positioned to achieve her big goals in the coming year!



Website: Snuggles and Slumber Sleep Consulting
Instagram: @snuggles.and.slumber.sleep

If you would like to learn more about the Becoming a Sleep Consultant, please join our free Facebook Group or check out our CPSM Website.

Book a free discovery call to learn how you can become a Certified Sleep Consultant here.



Intro: Welcome to Becoming a Sleep Consultant! I’m your host Jayne Havens, a certified sleep consultant and founder of both Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.

On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.

Ali is a mom of two and a former elementary school teacher and instructional coach. When her kids were born in 2018 and 2021, Ali knew she was ready to make some big life changes, but she couldn’t pinpoint exactly what she wanted to do.

After a great deal of soul searching, she kept coming back to the transformational experience she had when working with a sleep consultant when her daughter was 20 months old. She realized that becoming a sleep consultant, and helping families find the relief that comes with sleeping again was exactly the move that she wanted to make.

Ali enrolled in the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management in February of 2023 while still teaching, and launched her business, Snuggles and Slumber Sleep Consulting, in April. She is now home with her kids, supporting families with sleep, focusing on building her business, and she’s happier than ever.

Jayne Havens: Ali, welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I’m so excited to have this conversation with you today.

Ali Manning: Hi, Jayne. Thanks so much for having me.

Jayne Havens: So before we get started, why don’t you share a little bit about yourself? What were you doing before you decided to become a certified sleep consultant, and why did you decide to get into the field?

Ali Manning: Yes, so I was a teacher and an instructional coach for about 20 years before jumping into this role. I started out teaching first grade, which was 100%, in my element, it was exactly what I wanted to be since I was like five years old. And as I grew into that, I thought, okay, I’m ready for my next thing. I went back to school to get my master’s to be a reading and writing specialist. Through that process, I thought I was going to be working with kids in my own little office and helping them read and then beyond my way, again, like totally in my comfort zone.

But as I finished my program, I had the opportunity to interview for a job that was more of like an instructional coaching role. And that was not at all in my comfort zone. I really knew nothing about it, but I knew that I would be supporting teachers as they supported their students with reading and writing. And so I thought, you know what? I really don’t know what I’m getting into. But it sounds really cool, so I’m going to do it. That’s kind of been me my whole life. The sound is scary. Let me try it.

Before I started the position, usually, as a teacher, you spend the whole summer preparing your classroom and getting everything ready and figuring out how you want things to go. And there wasn’t any of that to do. So I met with the director of literacy, who became a really good mentor and a friend to me over these years. I asked her, what do I do? What’s this job? How do I prepare?

She said, “The best thing you can do is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” And that has stuck with me for all these years. She was so right. She said you’re going to get thrown into all these things that you really don’t want to do, that make you feel a little weird, that you’re going to have to try out and fumble a little bit and fumble publicly a little bit. That’s just all part of the process. She was so right.

Those first two years in that job were probably the most uncomfortable in my life. I was very introverted, but I was suddenly leading trainings for large groups of teachers. I was facilitating our reading intervention program, which was a whole bunch of things out of my comfort zone. I was having really hard conversations with teachers who needed support in different ways or who were struggling with different things. So I had to develop a whole bunch of new skill set.

In the beginning, I definitely was like, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. I have no idea what I’m doing. They shouldn’t have hired me. They made a mistake. I think I should quit.” Of course, I didn’t. I stuck with it. I had some really great mentors and some really great teammates. I grew into the position. I can say that I was there for 12 years, and I’m 100% a different person than I was the day I walked into that job. So uncomfortable, being uncomfortable just made such a difference in my life.

Jayne Havens: And what was it that finally had you transition from that role into sleep consulting?

Ali Manning: Really, it was wanting to be home with my kids. When they were born, I just always knew I wanted to be home with them. It wasn’t really in the cards for us in the beginning. I needed something that I could be passionate about and do for myself and also that would allow me to be present with my kids and put my daughter on the bus, have those silly moments with my son, and just do all the things that I really wanted to do.

I had an hour-long commute. I was always thinking about my job even when I was home, and I just didn’t feel like I was showing up as the mom I wanted to be or as the teacher I wanted to be. So I said, you know what? I need to blow things up a little bit, find something else I’m really passionate about. And it took me a while to figure out what that was. Because I really was like, “Maybe I’ll work at Target. Maybe I’ll take in some kids in my house and babysit.” None of those things made me feel excited. That just felt like work, right?

I started thinking about things that did make me feel excited and passionate. I’ve always wanted to be in the helping field. Any career I ever thought about was in the helping field. I thought back to when we worked with a sleep consultant for my daughter. Because she was a really, really bad sleeper until she was, I think, 20 months.

Then we finally — I didn’t even know sleep consultants existed at that time. A friend was like, “This is ridiculous.” She said, “You’re waking up every two and a half hours. She’s 20 months. This isn’t supposed to happen anymore. Here’s this lady’s phone number. Please call her.” And I did. She totally changed our lives. I went from feeling stressed all the time and just exhausted and dysregulated to just having everything, all the pieces back together and feeling like myself again.

I’ve told that story to people countless times before I got into this, and now I tell it every day. That was really a big thing in my life working with a sleep consultant. And so I said, you know what? I think that’s my next thing. That’s something I can do. Because I’m helping people. I’m giving them this experience I had, and I can have a really nice work-life balance.

Jayne Havens: I love that. How was your background as a teacher contributed to your skills as a sleep consultant?

Ali Manning: I think there are so many ways. Through coaching teachers, I think that was a big piece. Because this job as a sleep consultant is really coaching families, right? So really learning to listen and tune into whoever you’re working with and thinking about what are their goals.

Because I know in this job as a sleep consultant, sometimes I’m like, okay, I’m going to get this baby sleeping through the night. This, and this, and this. But that’s not always what the client wants, what the client needs. So really listening and tuning into them.

Do they want to have a night feeding because they love that connection still or because they feel that their baby really needs those calories in the night? Do they want to fall asleep next to their baby, or do they want to put the baby down and be off to do other things? Really taking their preferences and finding ways that work for them, that’s something that I was doing as a teacher too. What are your goals? How can I help you meet your goals? So that was a biggie.

I think knowing how to move people forward, too. Because everybody is different, right? So there’s going to be clients where you say here’s what you do, and they’re like, “Yes, tell me what to do, and I’d do it.” Then you have clients who are a little more hesitant, who need a little bit more. How can you show me exactly how this is going to work? Or, can you dial it back a little bit? That feels a little bit too intense. I want to take it a little bit more slowly. So really just trying to figure out what moves people and how are they going to get the results in a way that works for them.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that those are spot on. When you’re talking about ways to move people, that really hit home for me. Because I was on a discovery call, actually, right before this podcast. And this mom, she needs help moving. That’s exactly what it is.

It’s not that she doesn’t know what to do. She just needs help moving along. I think that that is really sort of the secret sauce of what we do as sleep consultants. It’s that we empower parents to take control of their circumstances and to make either small or big changes to what sleep looks like in their home and work with them in ways that feel comfortable for them but still move the train along. Because as somebody inside of our CPSM community always says, if nothing changes, nothing changes, right?

Ali Manning: Yep, absolutely. I think being the coach, too, you see things from the outside that you don’t actually see when you’re in it. So it’s just like having a sports coach, too, right? You can see things when you’re not in the game that you would never see in the game. Then sometimes parents say, “Oh, my gosh. I didn’t even know. I didn’t know I was reinforcing those morning wake ups,” or, “I didn’t even realize that I was contributing to the anxiety.” Some of those little things that make a big difference.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, absolutely. Today’s podcast is all about embracing discomfort, which you touched on already. I’m wondering if you can share a moment or experience where you felt uncomfortable in your transition into sleep consulting. I’m wondering, how did you navigate that discomfort? And did you learn anything from the experience?

Ali Manning: Yeah, I think for me, I would have been so happy if I just made my little website and people came running. I knew that wouldn’t actually happen.

Putting myself out there was a big thing for me. I am a pretty introverted person. I like to kind of fly under the radar. And as you’ve talked about a lot in our work together, that you really do have to get yourself out and let people know you and talk about what you’re doing. For whatever reason, that was really uncomfortable for me in the beginning. And I really don’t even know why. That was the biggest barrier for me. It was being ready to say, “Hey, world. I’m so excited about what I’m doing.”

And when I finally did, I finally made a post on my Facebook page — this was after a few friends have said, “Hey, can I post? Can I post? Can I post?” I was like no. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. It makes no sense now. But when I finally did put that out there, everybody around me was just so, like, “This is incredible. You’re going to be great at this. Can I share your page? How can I help you? How can I support you?” That was amazing.

Then doing things like going into mom’s groups on Facebook and kind of like, “Hey, I’m a sleep consultant. Here’s some things you can try.” Again, super uncomfortable for me. So just making myself do it. Saying, like, I really don’t want to do this, but I really want to have a sleep consulting business more. So I can either not, or I can. And trying to get into that mindset of, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? Somebody’s like, “Oh, she’s doing that.” I don’t know. There’s really no bad that can come from it.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, and I think probably what you realized is that, actually, once you did the hard thing once, it wasn’t that hard anymore, right? It’s hard the first time. Then the second time, it’s exponentially easier, right?

Ali Manning: Absolutely. And reflection was a big part of that, too. Because I would look back on, what did I say that first time I went into the mom’s group? It was super awkward. Like, no, that’s not how I want to word it. Or at first, I was going in with hi, I’m a sleep consultant. Here’s my business page. That didn’t feel right, and it didn’t go super well.

I finally landed on much more of a strategy, like you’ve talked about. We’re just offering advice and making sure my Facebook profile has that I’m asleep consultant on there and just trying to be genuinely helpful. The help spreads, and the word spreads. That’s where I settled on feeling really comfortable.

So fumbling a little bit and being okay with this is a fumble. I think the hard part was, it’s a little bit of a public fumble because it’s on social media. But knowing the only person who probably is sitting there going, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe I did that,” is me. So it’s all good.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right. I don’t know about it for you. But for me, it never really stops. Like the way you said, that putting yourself out there felt really scary at first. And now it feels less scary. Now there are probably other things in your business that feels scary that you have to tackle also, right?

If I think back to the beginning of my business, there were things that I was really scared about in the beginning. Putting myself out there was never really one of them. That, I was comfortable with. But I remember thinking the tech side of things was really overwhelming. The idea of having an email marketing platform, or let’s even go back further to, like, I didn’t used to have a computer for my business. So I literally used an iPad.

I wasn’t creating sleep plans of a beautiful document. I was literally just sending an email. Then the title of the email was like Sleep Plan: Joey, three years old. Then the body of the email was the sleep plan. I was so sort of insecure about the way that I was sending them, but I also felt really overwhelmed with changing it.

Then one day, I decided, you know what? I’m going to get myself a computer. I have a real business I need to operate. Like a real business owner, I got myself a computer. I wrote that first sleep plan in a Word document. I put a pretty header at the top. It looked all professional. I attached it. I saved it as a PDF and attached it in a way that felt so professional. I was like, oh, my gosh. I can’t believe this took me two and a half years to do this. And now it’s no big deal.

Then a year later, it’s something entirely different that feels scary and overwhelming. But I’ll tackle that too. Do you experience that in your business? New things are scary. It kind of never stops.

Ali Manning: Yeah, and I think we’re constantly evolving. I think that some of the fun is looking back in, oh, a couple of months ago, I would have done this. But now I just did this, and it feels really great. Just always thinking about what are those next steps.

Something that’s really helped me too is a mindset shift of saying ‘and’ instead of ‘but.’ So it started out when you talk about those things that aren’t super comfortable. Like with Instagram, for me, it’s super uncomfortable. I’m just diving into that. Initially, it was like I’m not comfortable with Instagram. I’m not doing it. I can’t do it.

Then I probably had this shift where it was like I’m not comfortable with Instagram, and I really want to do it. So I’m going to put a date on my calendar where I’m going to learn more. So let me place hold that. I’m not going to brush it off into the distance anymore. I’m going to make a spot for that. Really catching myself. Because I think that word ‘and’ really creates opportunities whereas that word ‘but’ creates barriers, right?

Jayne Havens: Yeah, that’s really spot on. I have a therapist that I collaborate with often who loves to use the word ‘and’. And she always reminds me of the power of that word. And it’s so true. And we can use that with our clients, right? Sleep training is overwhelming, and you can get through it with the proper support.

I think it’s the same with entrepreneurship. Growing a small business is overwhelming, and we can take it step by step, and do one thing at a time and get to our goals. I really love that.

There’s a quote that — I don’t know who says this. I read it all the time. It’s something along the lines of: nothing great ever happens in your comfort zone. Would you agree with that? Now that you’ve sort of stepped out of your own comfort zone, you’re becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable, right?

Ali Manning: Yes, the best thing about that quote is, when I took the job I was just talking about, I found a magnet that had it on it. It was on my fridge for years. Then we moved, and I forgot I even had it. No joke. Maybe a month ago, I was cleaning out what is now my office. And I found that magnet again. I said this is meant to be that this just came out, right? Because it does. It happens. Everything happens when we’re out of our comfort zone.

If we never stepped out of it, we’d be doing the same old thing that we always do. And I just don’t feel like that gives us any passion or gives us any purpose. Those are two things that we all need, right?

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I personally thrive on trying new things. I’m comfortable with mini failures, if you want to call them that. Like fumbling, the way that you described, how you maybe showed up in a Facebook group in the beginning versus how you’re showing up in a Facebook group now.

Or, one thing that I think about is how I used to show up on my discovery calls versus how I show up on my discovery calls now. I think, to some degree, some of it is just confidence. Some of confidence just takes time. Of course, you’re not going to have the confidence in yourself at the same level as you will three years from now, right?

When you have more experience and you have more fumbles, you get over them and you get back up and you try again, I think that that’s where your confidence builds.

Ali Manning: You made me think of right after I was certified, I was at the library with my kids. There were a couple of moms who were talking about sleep and how their kids didn’t sleep. I was sitting to the side going, do I chime in? Do I not? Do I chime in? Do I not, for a long, long time. Then someone finally said, “Oh, Ali, didn’t you just get certified as a sleep consultant? I was like, okay. I’m in. I’m in.

I thought it was so new. It was so new that I really fumbled with what to say. That was another one of those I’m super uncomfortable. Right now, I want to just go hide in the corner. This is all so new to me, but I’m going to do it. And I did. I was able to talk with the mom. I definitely didn’t say anything that I would have said now. I kind of fumbled my way through it. I’m pretty sure I texted her after. It was like, “I was really nervous. Here is what I would have said to you if I had been thinking more clearly.”

I think to now where people all the time will ask questions, and I now have the skills and the automaticity with it to be like, “Oh, yeah, this is what I think.” Even just having patience with yourself and thinking as a new sleep consultant. Am I ever going to be able to do this without thumbing through my books or re-watching parts of the course? And you do. It does come. So just giving yourself some grace and some patience and relying on other members of the community.

I think that’s what’s so great about what you’ve built, is there is this awesome community where we’re constantly asking each other questions. I found a few people that I can text now or message with privately that have become my people. I think you need people no matter what you’re doing in life, just people to walk through with and support each other. That’s something I’d definitely recommend that everybody does too.

Jayne Havens: I love that. Because this podcast is all about business building and entrepreneurship, I have to ask you, do you have goals for the upcoming year and beyond?

Ali Manning: I do. I really would like to grow my business to having four new clients a week. It’s my ultimate goal. There was a time when I was like, if I get one a week, I’ll be happy. And all of a sudden, things seem to be really happening for me. The seeds that I had planted a while ago are starting to come back.

I’d really been talking with people. And now people are starting to come back and say, “Hey, I think I’m ready now.” That’s super excited. It’s so exciting. That’s my ultimate goal. It’s really to have four clients a week. I’d ultimately like to, way down the road, expand and have someone working alongside me. I think that would be exciting.

I even thought about because the coaching adults piece is something that I’m so into and something I’ve done a lot of training with, I even think about, down the road, supporting other sleep consultants with that coaching piece. So how do I deal with difficult parents — parents who don’t want to move or parents who are Googling and second guessing? Because it happens, right? Is there a way to support with that coaching adults piece too? So that’s the thing.

Jayne Havens: I love that. I love that you have big goals. I 100% believe that you’re going to get there. I’ve loved watching you evolve over the past couple — even a couple of months, I feel like you’ve really sort of come out of your shell and gained your confidence, gotten your sea legs, if you will. I think the next six months to a year are going to be really amazing for you down the road. So I’m super excited to see you rock and roll.

Before we wrap up, do you want to share anything? Your website, social media, whatever you’d like to share?

Ali Manning: Yeah, sure. So since I talked about being terrified of Instagram, I will share that I am now finally on Instagram @snuggles.and.slumber.sleep. I’m also on Facebook. I have a Facebook page, Snuggles and Slumber Sleep Consulting and a Facebook community that families can join, which is the same name but with ‘community.’ So check me out on any of those places. And I’m always looking for people to connect and collaborate with. So don’t hesitate to reach out.

Jayne Havens: Thank you, Ali. This was fabulous.

Ali Manning: Thanks so much, Jayne.

Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.

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