The Minutes

Fitness and wellness insights from experts to help you hit your Paceline Minutes


15.0 Questions: Lauren Olson of Sleep and the City

A play on the 150 minutes needed to achieve a Paceline streak, 15.0 Questions presents influencers, industry experts, and fellow Pacers with 15 rapid-fire questions. Next up, Lauren Olson, a pediatric sleep consultant.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision. 

1. Can you introduce yourself in 150 words or less?

I’m a pediatric sleep consultant and a mom of two. I own Sleep and the City, and I really try to focus on a well-balanced, holistic lifestyle and approach to sleep with my business.

2. What is your top sleep tip for new parents?

I know it sounds easy and almost too simple, but [my top tip] is having a routine. This is something you can start from day one when you come home from the hospital [with your newborn]. Start an eat-play-sleep routine, a naptime routine, and a bedtime routine for your baby. This can really set the foundation for good sleep ahead.

3. What is your top sleep tip for adults who don’t have kids?

I actually started my company based on the fact that I really like my sleep. I like eight to nine hours over here. So my top sleep tip for adults, and this is gonna go right back to new parents as well, is having that routine. Again, it sounds really simple — almost to the point where you’re like, I don’t think this is gonna work — but repeating something [helps it stick]. 

For adults, it might be like, we’re dimming the lights 30 minutes before we go to bed. We’re brushing our teeth. We’re reading a book. We’re turning our phone’s blue light function off. We’re not watching TV. We’re having one alcoholic drink or less every night. That really sets us up to get that quality seven to eight hours of sleep.

4. What’s the most common question you get from your followers?

The most common question I get from my followers is, “What is the best age to really start focusing on [my baby’s] sleep?” My answer would definitely be that you can start from the very beginning — the younger, the easier. 

And when it comes to sleep training, which is kind of more my area of focus, I say start when they’re about five months [old] with a doctor’s approval.

5. Any trends you’re noticing in the sleep space in general?

A fun sleep trend that I’ve actually noticed for parents, and this one stuck out to me because I do this at home, is the Scandinavian sleep method. It’s where parents share a bed but each adult has their own comforter. So that way, you’re wrapped up at night and not bothered so much by your partner if they toss and turn a lot and then wake you up, which is exactly what happens in my house.

Another sleep trend I’ve seen for parents with a partner that snores are sleep buds [which] block out unsolicited noises. 

When it comes to sleep trends in the baby space, we’re seeing a lot of simplified designs, acrylic cribs (those are really cool), mini cribs; and sound machines and bamboo organic cotton swaddles and blankets are still big [trends]. 

6. What are your thoughts on daylight saving time?

“Spring forward” isn’t as hated as “fall back” because we’re sleeping in an extra hour. A lot of people will say, “Oh, sleeping in [for] an extra hour is great. But now, my baby, my child or even I can’t fall asleep until later.”

The best advice that I would give, especially now for the next six to eight months or so until the next time change, would be to get blackout [shades]. Get those blackouts because the sun’s gonna start rising earlier and setting later, and this is gonna be the make-or-break for that routine. We talked about setting yourself up — if your brain thinks it’s daytime, it’s gonna be harder to wind down at the end of the day.

7. Are you celebrating Sleep Awareness Month?

Sleep Awareness Week is on March 12-18 this year, and we have some fun things planned on my personal feed. We have giveaways coming up that are super fun to be a part of, because who doesn’t like free stuff? And then I really use this week to touch on the basics like, what do you absolutely need to set yourself up for sleep success and those good habits going forward? 

8. What are your personal favorite ways to stay active and hit your Paceline Streak? 

Especially as a mom, [I like to] build fitness into my daily schedule because I know it can be so hard. I have two babies who were born less than two years apart, so even just a 20-minute brisk walk a day can be essential to hitting those fitness goals. And that [can look like] loading the [babies] up in the double stroller, bundling them up if it’s cold, and just taking a loop around the block. 

I also look for fitness studios, like cycling or yoga studios, that have daycares built in. You can find them for relatively decent prices, and you’ll have someone certified look over your kiddo while you’re working out. 

9. In addition to sleep, how else do you recover? 

If you’re up with a sleepless baby or you’re having a tough time at work, and you’ve got a lot of cortisol — the stress hormone — then squeezing a massage into your week can be a great option.

I also love a power nap. It’s a 15 to 20 minute nap and it’s said to be as good as a cup of coffee. So I combine my cat nap with a cup of coffee and sometimes set my alarm for just 20 minutes, and I just sort of lay there still. And that can power you through your day.

10. What’s the best fitness or wellness advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve gotten is just getting that 30 minutes of [activity] a day. You might be chasing the toddler. You might be walking the aisles at Target. You might be at a cycling studio. You might be on a brisk walk with your double stroller. Just get that 30 minutes of activity in per day — that can really set your body up for sleep 16-17 hours after waking up, so that you can get those seven to eight hours of quality sleep.

11. What’s the best fitness- or wellness-related investment you’ve ever made?

I would say [my] best fitness or wellness investment is signing up for something that holds me accountable. So maybe that’s a smartwatch [on which] you share your fitness goals with your friends, and then you can have a mini competition going all day. Like, how many times did I get up? How many steps did I take? Did I meet my fitness goals? 

Another [idea] would be having a fitness buddy. I don’t know about you guys but waking up, getting in the car, and going to a fitness class with a friend (maybe another mom that’s at the same age of motherhood) is huge because it can make it so much more fun. If you mess up, you can laugh together; you can maybe even share a car together on your way. I think those are great ways to keep yourself accountable. It’s so hard to reach your fitness goals if you’re not finding there to be some sort of reward.

12. What’s the best personal finance decision you’ve ever made?  

I don’t know if my accountant would necessarily agree with [this being a good financial decision] but I really like to invest in real estate. So [buying a home] would probably be the best financial decision I made early on. In my 20s, [I bought a home and spent more than] I necessarily [wanted to].

So [what I did was] just eat top ramen for a while and hoped it paid off for the better. Luckily for us, it did.

13. What are your thoughts on Paceline’s mission to change the nature of preventive health in society? 

I think Paceline’s incentive-based reward program is actually quite brilliant because it incentivizes you to get out and take that brisk walk. It incentivizes you to [set] your fitness goals on your smartwatch. It incentivizes you to call your friend up and be like, “Hey, are we going to cycling class today? And how can we make it work? And which dad can watch the kids while we go?” And so I actually think [Paceline’s reward system] is brilliant because our brains are driven by reward.

14. What do you splurge on for your health/wellness/fitness?

The items I tend to splurge on are Eastern medicine and supplements. [I like making protein] smoothies in the morning and finding an easy smoothie routine that works.

And working with someone that can help you identify what works for your body so that you can operate at full capacity [is also important to me].

15. What’s on the horizon for you? 

What’s coming up on the horizon for me is really offering a lot of online classes for new parents, seasoned parents, parents with multiples and twins, and then also really focusing on options for people with toddlers. Also, travel is gonna be a big [topic] coming up on Sleep in the City this summer.

Any parting words?

The final thing I want the Paceline community to know is that [Sleep in the City] treats every child differently. I take a very holistic approach to how I work with my clients, and some of my clients have actually turned into lifelong friends. We’re very casual, we’re very realistic. I want to make sleep training and sleep work simple for people. And I feel like there’s so much out there that you can Google, and I want to just help simplify everything and find a program that works in a timely manner.