Olivia Arezzolo's Tips For A Better Night's Sleep
Posted in: How To

Olivia Arezzolo is a highly qualified Sleep Expert with a mission to improve the lives of the global community. Having researched and witnessed its benefits, Olivia identifies sleep as the key contributor to a better quality of life. 

We chatted to Olivia about the best ways to reach peak sleep and the essentials we need to unlock the deepest stage of our sleep cycle, night after night. 


Why should Australians be paying more attention to their sleep health?

Sleep is the #1 underlying pillar of health - rather than being a partner to other pillars such as nutrition, fitness and mental wellbeing, sleep is the foundation.

For example, research shows those with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have depression and 17 times more likely to have an anxiety disorder.

 Regarding nutrition and weight management, research shows those sleeping less than five hours are 85% more likely to be obese, sleeping five to six hours lead to a 49% greater likelihood of obesity, and even six to seven hours - just one hour short of the ideal sleep length, increased the risk of obesity by 24%. 

Secondly, sleep is becoming worse and worse: post COVID19, studies show the prevalence of problematic sleep has risen by 59%.

 

What’s the best way to ‘wind down’ before bed?

I recommend my signature bedtime routine: 

  1.   Block out blue light: A recent study found household light can delay melatonin onset by over one hour - which can leave you feeling alert and awake at bedtime.
  1. Apply lavender: A clinical trial found lavender improved sleep quality by 45%, and reduced anxiety by 59% - often causing sleeplessness itself.
  1. Have a 'goodnight phone alarm': as mentioned, using a phone in the hour before bed equates to a 48% greater likelihood to take over 60 minutes to fall asleep.
  1. Have a shower or bath: this promotes melatonin onset, key to sleepiness.
  1. Have a magnesium-based sleep supplement: clinical trials found magnesium can reduce anxiety by 31%.
  1. Meditate: a recent trial found those meditating fell asleep 31 minutes faster and spent 54 minutes less awake during the night. For beginners of meditation, I’d highly suggest exploring Fitbit Premium as it has hundreds of guided meditations for sleep, stress and more.
  1. Use an eye mask - protecting you from blue light when you sleep.

 

Does bedding (pillows, quilts and toppers) affect the way you sleep?

 Hugely. 

Firstly, selecting bedding in a natural fibre like wool promotes thermoregulation - keeping you cool while you sleep. Research shows this is essential for melatonin production, and therefore enables you to have deeper, less broken and more rejuvenating sleep.

Along a similar vein, a woollen underlay (topper) is ideal too: another academic study found those sleeping on one reported higher sleep quality, less movement through the night and feeling more refreshed in the morning.

Concerning pillows, the correct one for your sleeping profile will align your spine, minimising tossing and turning - which can otherwise leave you waking up through the night and exhausted the next day.

 

 

What are the benefits of tracking your sleep? Do you recommend it?

Yes, definitely.

While it’s great to have a sleep goal and take steps towards sleeping better - e.g. disconnecting from devices an hour before bed; if we aren’t measuring it regularly, we aren’t sure if it’s working or not.

This uncertainty can leave us confused, unmotivated and detached from the goal - thus leaving us vulnerable to reverting back to old habits.

Reflectively, research into goal attainment: it notes we are 70% more likely to achieve our goals if we track the data in real-time.

However, it needs to be reliable - sleep trackers from reputable brands such as Fitbit are my recommendation and provide highly accurate insights into your sleep.

 

What does a ‘sleep score’ tell you?

Sleep score available in the Fitbit app is an overall measure of how well you slept - taking into account your heart rate, sleep depth and time spent awake in bed. These factors all contribute to a score out of 100, with a higher score indicating a better night sleep!

 So, if you wake up and find your sleep score is lower than usual, I’d encourage you to think back on the night before and consider what impacted this. Did you go to bed later than usual, or spend more time on your phone?

 The same applies to a higher score than normal. Have a think on what you could incorporate into your routine to have this good of a sleep every night.

 

What effects (physical and mental) can you expect to see if you improve your sleep score? 

Many! As mentioned in question one - sleep is pivotal in mental and physical health, so to improve it (as reflected in a higher sleep score) can translate to improvements in your wellbeing too.

Specifically, it reduces the risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, as it does for physical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Start feeling the benefits of a good night's sleep by incorporating Olivia's tips into your bedtime regime. If your bedding essentials are in need of an update, explore our buying guides or answer our questionnaire to receive your personal pillow and quilt recommendations. 

 

REACH PEAK SLEEP

7 months ago