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Independent health store advice on natural products for sleep issues

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of expertise. This month we talk to Étáin O’Dwyer, department manager for natural beauty with Wild Oats Natural Foods in Bristol

Natural sleep remedies are definitely one of the most popular requests we get in store. Customers who are struggling with sleep issues will come to us for advice on suitable natural products that could help them to get a more restful night.

We will always talk to the customer about their problems to find out what things they have tried previously and how long the problem has been going on for. Then we will try to determine what the cause is in order to make suitable recommendations. Often stress is at the heart of sleep problems, so we will often recommend products that can ease the source of the stress.

Natural stress soothers

One product that I tend to recommend to customers who are experiencing stress-related insomnia is Well Actually’s Neuro Night Complex. This contains a range of vitamins, minerals and some herbs as well. It really supports the body through stressful periods and then, in turn, works on helping you to fall asleep at night.

Some people find that when they go to bed their mind is sleepy, but their body is energised, and in that case I’d probably suggest something like a magnesium supplement which works as a natural muscle relaxant.

Another good product that we stock is Neubria Drift. This contains tryptophan, which helps the body to produce serotonin and melatonin, the latter of which is the body’s sleep hormone. We find that a lot of customers come in looking for melatonin, but this is only available on prescription in the UK. So this product is a nice alternative. It also contains other things such as magnesium and herbs like lemon balm, chamomile and hops, which aid relaxation and promote sleep.

A good combination

Our most popular product is probably A.Vogel’s Dormeasan which is a herbal tincture containing valerian and hops. This combination works well and helps to bring a sense of calm to the body. It’s a good option for anyone who is experiencing sleep problems due to anxiety or stress. It helps to quieten the mind and helps you relax before bed.

Other natural remedies that we stock in store include our range of essential oils, which people find very beneficial.

Burning some lavender or chamomile essential oil in the evening can be a really nice way to relax and wind down. Some people like to spray lavender on their pillow before bed and this can help to promote restful sleep.

Super swaps

Something that I have found particularly helpful has been swapping my usual coffee for green tea. I’ve found that it has really helped me to get a better night’s sleep. Green tea contains naturally occurring L-Theanine, which is extremely calming. It does contain a small amount of caffeine but not as much as coffee, so making the swap can be really helpful.

My other tip is to avoid staring at your phone, your laptop or the TV just before you go to bed. The bright light from these screens can really affect your ability to get to sleep, so I would recommend reading a book or listening to some music or a podcast instead. Lastly, a cup of herbal tea before bed can be really beneficial and help you to unwind. We have a great range in store, including chamomile, lavender and valerian. Hopefully these tips will help you to switch off and enjoy a restful night’s sleep!

Wild Oats Natural Foods

9–11 Lower Redland Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6TB

From a store where grain was sold from sacks on the floor, Wild Oats now houses one of Bristol’s most extensive ranges of quirky wholefoods, supplements and natural remedies.

The management team collectively have decades of experience in the industry, so it’s worth soaking up their knowledge.

To contact the store call 0117 973 1967 or visit

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