New book set to be a sleeper hit

Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo's new book Bear, Lion or Wolf: How Understanding Your Sleep Type Could Change Your Life aims to help readers understand their sleep type, or chronotype.

Stefan Bradley

Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, who grew up in Sale, wants to help people improve their sleep with her new book that launched last month.

Bear, Lion or Wolf: How Understanding Your Sleep Type Could Change Your Life aims to help readers understand their sleep type, or chronotype.

“Our chronotype is our biological preference to sleep and wake up at particular times,” Ms Arezzolo said.

“My research is based on the MEQ, which is the morning-evening questionnaire, so people can find out how morning-oriented they are, or how evening-oriented they are.

“I’m a lion, I like getting up really early and going to bed really early.

“Some people have an intermediate preference, which makes them a bear, and others have a late preference, which makes them a wolf.

Ms Arezzolo says the biggest mistake that people make with sleep is exposing themselves to blue light in the evening, usually through smartphone use. 

“You can use blue light glasses to block out blue light, so you can still use your devices, but it’s easier to simply stop using them”, she said.

Ms Arezzolo grew up in Sale and lived there until she was 15.

“I started off at Saint Mary’s and then went to Catholic College Sale”, she said.

“At the end of Year 9, I moved to Melbourne, and at age 21, I moved to Bondi Beach, and have been there 10 years.”

After finishing high school, Ms Arezzolo studied for nine years, earning a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Certificate of Sleep Psychology, Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine); and Certificate of Fitness III + IV.

“Throughout that period I was modelling full time, and when I finished studying I began coaching people to help with their stress, weight loss and motivation,” she said.

“Then I started assisting clients with sleep and they got good results really fast.

“So I looked in the area of sleep and realised there was a massive need for an individual like myself to provide sleep advice because so many people are struggling and didn’t know what to do about it.

“For me it was very simple to fix, because I just put all my degrees together and got easily replicable results.

“And when you think about sleep, there are definitely elements of psychology, nutrition and fitness.”

A few months later, Sealy Posturepedic emailed Ms Arezzolo to have her be their media spokesperson, and IKEA did the same.

“It’s really evolved since then, and I’ve been featured on The Today Show, Sunrise, Forbes,” Ms Arezzolo said.

“I became known as a leading sleep expert in Australia.”

The book journey began when a publisher sent Ms Arezzolo an email completely out of the blue.

“My publisher saw me featured in the Daily Mail in a piece about chronotypes, and they reached out to me saying they loved my profile, my advice and my background, and they asked if I was interested in writing a book,” she said.

“I said yes as I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I’ve never put it into action.”

After signing the deal, Ms Arezzolo began working on the book at the end of 2020.

“Writing a book is really hard”, she said.

“It requires you to sit in front of your laptop not talking to anyone for 12 hours.

“While I did my best to keep up my fitness, take my dog to the park and have some sort of social life, the more you almost disconnect from everything else and just be completely immersed in the book, the better, because then you’re not distracted by ideas and thoughts.

“That’s really challenging as I did that for seven months, and it’s only so long you can really sustain that.

“You end up going bonkers, but I got there in the end, and I’m really proud of it.”

And it’s not just being released in Australia, with Ms Arezzolo and her publisher accepting offers from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, China, Spain and Poland.

“So now it’s being published in six languages in seven countries, and I was told that usually doesn’t happen, especially for a first-time author.”

The book is finally seeing the light of day, but Ms Arezzolo is not done with book writing.

“I’d like to write about my personal journey,” she said.

“I feel like I’ve had an interesting experience prior to starting my studies.

“And the reason I became so passionate about helping people is because when I was 14, I tried to commit suicide as I was majorly depressed.

“When I was 15 I developed bulimia, and when I was 16 I developed anorexia which hospitalised me for six weeks and I was an outpatient for three months to recover.

“I feel like a lot of the time you see people and think they have it all or it’s been easy for them.”

Ms Arezzolo said the only reason she has persevered is because she’s been through these difficult experiences.

“I know how hard it can be to literally function at a basic level,” she said.

“I want people to move from their darkness into their light, because I know how dark it can be, but I also know how good it can be.

“That’s what I want my next book to be about because I think a lot of people can resonate with that, and I think it could help people.”

Bear, Lion or Wolf : How Understanding Your Sleep Type Could Change Your Life is out now on paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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Olivia Arezzolo – Photo: Coote Connex