Sleep is one of the cornerstones of self-care. It impacts us mentally and physically with a wide range of benefits, from supporting our immune system, cardiac function and metabolism to reducing stress and improving our memory and mood. Sleep can leave us feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready for the day ahead, but a good night’s sleep isn’t always guaranteed.
This International Self-Care Day, we sat down with renowned and influential sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo. As a trusted authority in her field, Olivia provides accessible and practical guidance to help individuals enhance their sleep quality and overall wellbeing. Using her profound understanding of sleep psychology, Olivia offered us some top tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.
WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
“It helps rejuvenate and replenish you mentally and physically. 70% of human growth hormone, the key catalyst for cellular repair and collagen production, is produced in slow-wave sleep. So, if you want to feel energetic and enthusiastic and your skin to shine, you need deep, quality sleep.
Mentally, we need deep-quality sleep because if we don't get it, our stress hormone, cortisol, can increase by up to 37%. This leaves us feeling anxious, wired, and unable to switch off, and that's after just one night of inadequate sleep. So for mind and body alike, we need sleep like nothing else.”
TIP 1 - BLOCK OUT BLUE LIGHTS
“Blue light is the main factor controlling our circadian rhythm, which therefore controls our main sleepiness hormone, melatonin. Research shows that those who use blue light-blocking glasses for two hours before bed can fall asleep 78% faster.”
TIP 2 - USE LAVENDER
“Lavender is one of my favourite remedies because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which naturally helps us feel more relaxed, calm, and at ease in that critical pre-bed period. For anyone struggling to switch off in the evening, this is a game changer and should definitely be part of your bedtime routine. For best results—I recommend dabbing lavender on your pulse points or diffusing it throughout the room before bed.”
TIP 3 - HAVE A SHOWER
“When we emerge from a warm shower to a cooler bathroom, we naturally experience a drop in our core body temperature. As a result, our bodies produce melatonin, the sleepiness hormone. Melatonin helps us fall asleep and stay asleep, which is why research shows that showers can improve sleep quality and sleep quantity.”
TIP 4 - READ A BOOK
“Read a printed book, ideally 20 minutes before bed. Why? Because it gives your mind something to focus on, which can help you feel more relaxed in the evening. Research shows that stress can be reduced by 68% by reading a book, with the effects starting in just six minutes. “
TIP 5 - WEAR AN EYE MASK
“Remember, light controls the circadian rhythm. So just as you need to block out blue light before bed to fall asleep, you need to block it out throughout the night to stay asleep, which is why an eye mask is a must.”
Good quality sleep is what you need to feel your absolute best, so put these five tips to work for the best night's sleep.