Meet The Maker: Unwind

By now, many of you will already have tucked into the delicious evening snack bars that you found tucked up in your Aisling boxes, and perhaps indulged in the soothing meditation that was exclusively shared with the Irish at Heart community.

Today I wanted to give you all the opportunity to peek into the mind of Unwind – belonging to the extraordinary Deirdre Hynds! Deirdre drew inspiration from her own life experiences, creating a product and ethos to stimulate better sleeping schedules – a necessity in the hectic lives that we all lead today!

Still saving that Unwind bar for later? Read up on all the wonderful things that you have to look forward to!

When did you first come up with the idea of Unwind bars?

At the age of 17 I was diagnosed as a chronic insomniac, which led to almost two decades of obsessing over different ways to get a decent night’s sleep. The narrative surrounding sleep issues tends to be very negative, and I wanted to do something that brought more positivity to people who were proactively trying to improve this aspect of their lives.

Five years ago, I had a bit of an epiphany in relation to the management of my own chronic sleep problems, which resulted in a refinement and coalescence of different approaches. I incorporated diet improvements, regular yoga and meditation, and CBT-i (cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia) into my day to day routine, while focusing on different aspects of my sleep hygiene (such as reducing screen time and exposure to artificial lighting at night). It was around this time that the idea of ‘Unwind’ first started to germinate.

As a natural born night owl, I do habitually tend to snack in the evening (much more so since becoming a mum mid-lockdown!) I decided to try and combine the ingredients that I use to help enhance feelings of rest and relaxation into a snack, and so Unwind bars were born!

 

 

What’s the ethos behind the business?

We believe that a human being naturally starts to slow down in the evening time, but this instinct has been distorted by the likes of hyper-connectivity, digital technology, and artificial light.

At Unwind, we are trying to reclaim this evening space as a natural time to relax and wind down from the day. This adjustment leads to better sleep, better health, and better overall experience of life!

 

What makes an Unwind bar different from your usual evening snack?

Our products are hand baked in Ireland using a selection of natural, night-time friendly ingredients. These include chamomile, which is associated with enhanced feelings of relaxation; l-theanine, which is an amino acid extracted from green tea and is associated with enhanced feelings of calm and focus; and Montmorency cherry, which is promotes a natural increase in the production of melatonin (sometimes known as the ‘sleepy hormone’).

We have also spent a lot of time developing what we call our ‘relax hacks’, a lovely collection of evening activities designed to help people unwind.

 

Which flavour is your personal favourite?

I developed all three flavours myself, so l’m quite partial to all of them! I tend to go for the sweet and slightly savoury combination of the Roasted Nut and Chocolate bar if I’m hungry - (our roasted almond butter is 99% almond, and 1% sea salt). However, if I’m having a glass of red wine I like the Dark Chocolate and Orange, and a cup of decaf tea is always accompanied by the Malted Milk and Chocolate option… So I guess it just depends on my mood!  

What's Inside?

Each month we choose a wonderful theme to base our product curation around.

Whether it's Dublin, The Wild Atlantic Way or St Patrick's Day, we strive for every box to have something wonderful to wear, a gift to share, a treat to eat and a treasure to live in your home.

Every month we work with fantastic small Irish businesses; so no matter where you are in the world, you're helping Ireland!

 

Can you tell us a bit about your ‘Relax Hacks?’ Specifically, the wonderful meditation that was shared with our Irish at Heart subscribers as part of their “Aisling” offering.

The ‘relax hacks’ (a suite of original content designed to help participants unwind even further) are almost as important to me as the products. Achieving a better quality and quantity of sleep is a holistic pursuit, and it comes as a direct result of taking the time to naturally slow down and relax in the evening. I don’t believe you can make one big (natural) change that will dramatically improve your sleeping patterns, but a combination of minor adjustments aimed at making you more calm and relaxed in the evenings can certainly enhance your overall feelings of wellness and wellbeing.

The meditation I shared with the Irish at Heart family is an original piece which was written by the very talented Shannon Annarella, and narrated by Amy Kidd. As with all of our meditations and bedtime stories, it was designed to help the listener float all the way to dream town on a cloud of relaxation. As a creative individual I really believe in the healing power of our dreams and imagination, and meditation helps us to tap into capacity.

I really hope that the Irish at Heart family enjoyed it as much as I did!

 

 

What’s your own favourite way to wind down after a busy day?

Definitely a nice, gentle, stretchy yoga session (apart from the Unwind yogas, I also love Yoga with Adrienne and Yogi in Melbourne), an unwind bar, and an evening meditation (either from Unwind or a guided meditation by Jennifer Piercy or Tara Brach on the Insight Timer app).

 

Can you talk us through what your average working day at Unwind looks like?  

Hmmmm, I know it’s a cliche to say it, but every day tends to be different! In general work carried out in pockets between looking after my little boy Callum, who is almost two. So, I tend to work around him and his routine – with a little bit of family help!

Lastly, if you could recommend one place in Ireland for our subscribers to visit – where would it be?

Good question - and so many to recommend. if I could plan the perfect day in Ireland, it would consist of hill-walking - preferably somewhere on the coast. The Burren is a pretty spectacular place to explore, with the added benefit of loads of great seafood options nearby!

I am from the midlands, and one of my favourite places in the area is Lough Boora Park. It is an ancient Irish bog that was historically quarried for turf, but has recently been transformed into a national park with loads of beautiful wildlife, and some really amazing outdoor sculptures. It’s just a beautiful spot to go visit with bikes and a picnic.

 

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