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Independent health store advice on better sleep

Looking for advice on natural wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Matt Ronan, owner-manager with health store Evolv in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Good restful sleep seems to be a fine balance, a recipe containing as many ingredients as a sponge cake. Everyone’s recipe will be different. If you or someone you love struggles with sleep then here are my 10 tips for getting healthy rest back on track.

1 Get your mind into the right state If a racing mind comes between you and drifting off to sleep then this is the first obstacle to be overcome. Preparation is key – clear the decks by writing down all of the things which your mind is busy thinking about and fully parking these issues until the next day.

2 Coffees and teas which we commonly use to give us a boost during our day can cost us dearly when it comes to switching off and getting good quality sleep at night. Both of these beverages are powerful stimulants – stopping them at 6pm is thought to be adequate, but if good sleep is not happening then I would pull this curfew back to 2pm.

3 Getting outdoors can be a powerful tool for bringing together mind and body in preparation for sleep. Slowing down the pace of your day in the evening time with even a short walk can be excellent for shifting gear to a calmer frame of mind.

4 Lowering daytime stress is important. No one can easily change gear from a somewhat stressed state to the more relaxed state of mind we need for sleep over a few hours. Discover some techniques to help with this and perhaps use some products as well. A combination of lemon balm and l-theanine can be very useful in helping the body to cope better with the demands of everyday stress. Combining this with a B-complex is likely to improve energy levels during the day also.

5 Magnesium is absolutely invaluable for speeding up the process of drifting off to a deeper level of sleep. Magnesium also prevents cramps and restless legs which are often problems that interrupt restful sleep. If you find yourself experiencing a sudden ‘jump’ as you are drifting off to sleep, then be assured that you are in need of some magnesium. My preference is for magnesium powder that is dissolved in hot water, but for some people this can be a little bit harsh on the system at the beginning, so if this is the case then switching to some of the capsule formulas can be a better option.

6 Valerian is one of the most popular herbs for use at night, despite its strong pungent taste and odour. A teaspoon of this herb is famous for improving the quality of sleep and also easing any background anxiety which may be part of the issue.

7 No liquids please – for people who prefer capsules, there is a nice innovative product which has come on the market in recent years and combines magnesium along with several calming herbs. As a one-stop shop it is a very useful tool to help you re-establish the habit of easily falling off to sleep and then remaining calm and restful for the duration of your slumber.

8 Adrenal Issues, where you successfully get off to sleep but then come back to full alertness halfway through the night could be caused by your adrenals. Usually this type of situation occurs where our day is very stressful and our mind and body are on high alert. In this scenario it is best to get some help from a therapist or experienced shop assistant, in order to put a plan in place to help navigate your way to a better work/life balance.

9 Blue light emanating from your tablet or phone can certainly prevent sleep. This type of light screams ‘daytime’ to your body clock and contradicts your desire for sleep. A better option is to have some orange background light - maybe a salt crystal lamp in your bedroom and read a book for a while before you drift off.

10 Your diet is going to play a key role in sleep issues. Having a diet which helps keep our blood sugars stable will mean more consistent energy during the day and also contribute to better quality restful sleep.

Your local health store will be able to point you towards a multitude of options to help you achieve your sleep goals, so don’t hesitate to drop in and enquire as to what may be the ideal starting point for you. Maybe some sessions with a therapist, a bath oil, a night time tea, wherever you start the journey don’t be deflected by a lack of instant results and continue to pursue the process in a patient but determined manner.

What’s What and Who’s Who at Evolv Health Store in Enniscorthy?

“Evolv has been open for 27 years,” says owner-manager Matt Ronan who runs the store with his wife Nuala. “We are easy to find in Enniscorthy because we are directly opposite the castle in the town centre. We are quite a rural small market town, a great representation of the Irish countryside with a wide range of customers.

“In terms of customers we have found people come into the store to find products they have heard about in newspapers, magazines and on the radio. We have also noticed more people moving out of Dublin to Enniscorthy. During the lockdowns we have seen less of our lovely elderly, which is a shame. But they phone us and we send out products.

“I would describe Evolv as an eclectic store – we try to give an experience of the colourful nature of health stores. We are something of a destination store – people come and spend time with us. We are a big store on two floors with six therapy rooms and a yoga room.

“We are very strong on supplements with all the leading brands. I have also formulated supplements myself for the shop and am launching a probiotic supplement soon.

“We stock a wide range of foods. We have a fridge at the front of the store for probiotics and some chilled foods, stock local honey and jam when in season, dried foods, nuts and seeds, herbal teas, and sourdough bread is delivered on Thursdays and is very popular.

“We are very strong on cosmetics with a stand of natural make-up and a local beauty brand, shampoos, soaps, hair colours, everything you need for your hair and body. And local herbalist Phil Walsh makes pots of healing balm.

“Our eco cleaning ranges cover everything you need to keep your home clean and fresh, with three or four brands and also refillables.

“We have a big giftware section that is run by Nuala and incudes Fair Trade products, jute shopping bags, bamboo underwear, incense, books, Tibetan singing bowls, cards, scarves, diffusers and salt lamps – a great choice.

“We pioneered Fantastic Fridays with offers and tastings, as well as a Health Week every year, but these have been on hold during the pandemic. Most of our customers benefit from our loyalty card. To keep in touch with customers during the pandemic Nuala and I have been recording weekly Facebook videos, which has worked really well.”

VISIT: Evolv, 2 Castle Hill, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
SPEAK TO: owner-managers Matt and Nuala Ronan, Nuala also offers consultations on the shop floor; sales assistant Deirdre Parle who also does full body scans and allergy testing; sales assistant Jenny Sludds who does cholesterol and cardiovascular checks; beauty therapist and sales assistant Josephine Byrne and sales assistant and reflexologist Helena Murphy. Another important staffer is Carmel Devereux, a team leader who also looks after administration.
CONTACT: (053) 923 6009
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm with lunch from 1-1.45pm

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