Interviews | 6 Min Read

Jess Hughes Interview: Holistic Sleep Consultant

In this interview, Jess, a Holistic Sleep Consultant and mother, shares her journey from battling her firstborn's sleep struggles to becoming an advocate for holistic sleep solutions. Offering insights into common sleep challenges for parents and practical bedtime routine tips, Jess emphasises the importance of consistency in sleep habits. Jess's expertise and passion for holistic wellness make her a valuable resource for families seeking natural solutions to improve sleep quality.
Jess Hughes Interview: Holistic Sleep Consultant

Hi Jess! Thank you so much for collaborating with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into becoming a Holistic Sleep Consultant?

It’s an absolute pleasure, thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity. I’m a Mamma of 2 boys, they’re 4 and 6. 

My firstborn son was a horrible sleeper from birth. He really put me through my paces, and for the first 12 weeks earth-side all he did was scream, day and night. Neither of us were getting any sleep. And if we were, it meant I was sitting up in bed with him on my chest. Definitely not sustainable long term. My Mamma gut told me from the get go that there was something ‘not quite right’, although after seeing countless GP’s and Paediatricians I was told over and over that ‘babies cry’ and his behaviour was ‘normal’. Honestly, I thought I was going crazy, how could it be this hard? I lost myself and really fell into the pits of sleep deprivation which lead me to postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety.

After pushing for more answers, we discovered he suffered from silent reflux which was linked to cows milk protein allergy, this triggered severe eczema and lots of digestive issues. I connected with a sleep consultant who helped me navigate these issues and uncover some more, using a holistic approach to sleep. When I decided to become a sleep consultant, I knew that holistic was the approach I wanted to take. It’s so important that we understand how sleep can be impacted by the body and what is going on, on the inside.

Sleep is definitely a two part process, there is no one-size fits all approach and I hope that I can be that final piece in the puzzle for many families, so that they can get that well deserved sleep that they so desperately want and need.

 



What are some common sleep challenges parents face with young children?

I often find that most families I work with really struggle to figure out what actually works for ‘their’ child and that they usually have exhausted all options before reaching out for sleep support. 
Another common challenge is underlying factors that contribute to poor sleep quality and quantity. I am finding it more and more common now that I am referring clients off to see osteopaths, body workers, and naturopaths,  as families are not given the tools, knowledge or resources to make informed decisions about their children’s poor sleep.

As a holistic sleep consultant, I help families find a solution that is tailored to their child’s needs, temperament and personality whilst taking into consideration their parenting style. But I also have the training, knowledge and life experience to perform a symptomatic assessment for any potential underlying issues that are impacting a child’s ability to sleep well.

What are your top tips for creating a soothing bedtime routine for kids?

Bedtime routines are my favourite! Children thrive on routine and predictability, therefore creating something familiar each night before bedtime helps reinforce healthy sleep habits and create a sense of comfort, connection and security leading into bedtime.

My top tips are:

1. Removing all screens at least 1 hour prior to bedtime
2. Dinner
3. Dimming the lights, closing the blinds to create a mellow/calm environment in the house
4. Bath with magnesium flakes
5. Get dressed, magnesium spray on soles of feet
6. Quiet play
7. Story time and cuddles
8. Goodnight mantra or song
9. Lights out, goodnight


How important is consistency in sleep habits, and do you have any advice for parents struggling with consistency?

Consistency is key, 100%. Our bodies have internal clocks, known as circadian rhythms, that regulate the timing of various physiological processes including sleep-wake cycles. When we maintain consistent sleep schedules for our children, their bodies learn when to expect sleep and when to wake up, which helps to optimise the quality and duration of their sleep.

For families struggling with consistency, it takes time to establish and setbacks are normal. Stay patient with yourself and your child as you work toward improving sleep habits. Be willing to adapt and adjust your approach as needed to find what works best for your family. Don't hesitate to reach out to your partner, family members, or friends for support. Having a strong support system can provide emotional encouragement and practical assistance in implementing a consistent sleep routine.

We know you're a big advocate for holistic approaches to sleep. How did you first discover the benefits of magnesium for sleep?

Throughout my studies and further learning I discovered what a big role magnesium plays in our bodies to facilitate sleep. I myself suffer from delayed sleep onset and often wake multiple times overnight, sometimes suffering from restless legs and a racing mind.

I have been working with a naturopath for years, she helps with my health and my boys. We have always supplemented orally, however with toddlers it was becoming  impossible to get the supplements in. I first introduced magnesium flakes to our baths but found we needed an extra kick and this is when I discovered your wonderful products and we will never look back.

Can you explain how magnesium contributes to better sleep, particularly for children?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various physiological functions within the body, including sleep regulation. Melatonin is a hormone that tells the body it's time to sleep and magnesium helps the body produce melatonin, so having enough magnesium can ensure that children have healthy levels of this sleep-inducing hormone.

Magnesium has a natural calming effect on the body's muscles. It helps relax tense muscles and promotes a sense of calmness throughout the body. When children's muscles are relaxed, they're more likely to feel comfortable and fall asleep easily, promoting a deeper, more restorative sleep.

Magnesium has been found to help reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the body. By lowering stress levels, magnesium can create a more conducive environment for sleep, helping children feel more relaxed and ready for bed.

In summary, magnesium contributes to better sleep for children by regulating melatonin production, relaxing muscles, and reducing stress levels. Ensuring that children have adequate magnesium intake through their diet or supplements can support healthy sleep patterns and overall well-being.

Have you noticed any specific improvements in your family's sleep since incorporating Salt Lab products into your routine?

Absolutely. Not only has it formed a solid part of our bedtime routine, but it really helps calm the chaos in our house during those witching hours. We use the bath flakes and the kids spray every night. My boys now ask to spray their own feet and without it I notice that they take much longer to drift off to sleep. It’s become a permanent inclusion on my bedside table too and I honestly don’t think we will ever be without it.

 



Finally, why would you recommend magnesium products like those from Salt Lab to other parents looking to improve their family's sleep quality?

Magnesium plays a vital role in healthy sleep, and we do not get enough of this nutrient through our diet, therefore it’s important to supplement to ensure that the body is getting enough.

When you're looking for products to apply to your children’s skin you always want to make sure that they are the most natural and purest form. Salt Lab is just that and their products are absolutely divine. I honestly feel it’s an absolute must have in all households!

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