I’m really loving working with Good Day Columbus TV News Anchor, Carolyn Bruck to help her achieve her goals during the GDC 30- Day Nutrition Mission. Carolyn says she wants and needs more sleep. Hmm, seems like today she wanted a Donut, by her own admission of her DonutGate proclamation on her Loveliest Life Blog. Three bites isn’t so bad Carolyn and tomorrow is a new day!

But the sugar in that donut isn’t going to be much help in the sleep department. Yes, that’s right sugar can wreck havoc in just about every area of health including sleep. Though there will be no penance today for partaking in the evil donut, as your doctor and cheerleader, we might have to have a good sit down talk if these donuts keep appearing on the set.

Carolyn has to be at Good Day Columbus by 4:00 a.m. and that requires her to wake up at 2:45 a.m. I was taken aback to learn that Carolyn has been existing on 4 hours or less of sleep per night. And I have to say that even with that small amount of sleep, Carolyn looks darn good!

This kind of early wake up time can seriously impact the ability to get proper rest and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. Carolyn took her first step to improve her sleep a few nights ago by going to bed two hours earlier than normal and Voila she’s now getting 6 hours of sleep per night. In the next few weeks, Carolyn’s goal is to sleep a minimum of 6 hours per night on the weekdays and on the weekends 8 or 9 hours per night.

Not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep has reached epidemic proportion. The reality is that sleeping is a basic human function, yet why does proper sleep elude so many of us? Sleeping difficulty or insomnia is no light matter and can wreck havoc on your physical and mental health. Ideally, most adults require about 8 hours of sleep every night to feel rested and refreshed. But the percentage of people who sleep that optimal 8 -hour number is getting fewer and fewer. Here are possible causes of lack of sleep:

  • consuming too much caffeine
  • drinking alcohol
  • dehydration
  • a bedroom  environment that is not conducive to sleeping
  • too much excitement at night
  • too much sleep during the day
  • lack of exposure to sunlight
  • getting up at night to go to the bathroom
  • physical pain
  • stress, depression or anxiety
  • prescription medications
  • excessive travel (jet lag)
  • too much stimulation before bedtime (such as working on the computer, watching video games, watching TV or exercising late at night)

To determine the cause of your sleepless nights, consider keeping a sleep diary for one week. By recording your entire day’s activities, you will likely uncover the cause(s) of your sleep deprivation. Here are some suggestions of what to include in your sleep diary:

  1. The time you went to the bed and woke up
  2. What you eat at every meal and snack
  3. What you drink throughout the day and what time you drink alcohol or caffeine
  4. Daily medications
  5. Activity level/exercise
  6. Stressors
  7. Amount of time you spend on your computer, iPad, iPhone, watching TV, etc. and what time you turn off the last device

Tomorrow, learn more tips to solve your insomnia as we continue following Carolyn Bruck on transforming her health.