Perhaps not surprisingly, the easiest option is preventing sleep problems in the first place, through simple parent education, whether one-on-one training, group classes or booklets. Such programs typically encourage parents to have a peaceful, consistent evening routine in which children are placed in bed “drowsy but awake” to help them develop independent sleep skills. Three well-designed randomized trials have found that the babies of parents who had such training slept significantly better than those whose parents did not. (link)
Hm, these "teach me how to get my baby to sleep classes" sound great, though I'm not sure we would actually ever go.
Meanwhile, I'm interested to know there is a whole sub-field of medicine devoted just to sleep -- sleep medicine.