A sleep diary: do you need one?
You get up exhausted and you don’t really understand why. You start yawning an hour after waking up or maybe you have trouble falling asleep despite your best efforts to get to bed early. Sound familiar? What you need is a sleep diary!
A sleep log allows you to track your sleep cycles. It will give you a better idea of your sleep habits, which will allow you to be proactive in changing them. It may even help your doctor diagnose a health problem you’re facing and explore the positive or negative impacts of treatment.
What to write in a good sleep diary:
In order to be effective, it is important to include the following:
- Sleep time
- Time(s) of awakening
- Total hours of sleep
- Sleep quality (on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being excellent)
- Any disturbances you experience through the night
- What you did if you woke up at night
- What you ate before going to bed (type and quantity)
- What you did before you went to bed
- Your mood before bedtime
- Medications taken before bedtime (if applicable, name, type and time)
- The time of your last physical activity before bedtime
- The amount of alcohol or caffeine consumed during the day
- The number of naps and their duration during the day
- How you feel when you wake up
How to make an effective sleep diary
There are several ways to do this, whether it’s an Excel file, on a note sheet, in a note-taking application or in a nice notebook. A little tip, however, it’s recommended to move away from the screens an hour before bedtime, so the paper option would be best!
For an effective diary, a weekly structure can be particularly useful. You can use the “bullet journal” model as a basis and create your own template. Write down the days and the “boxes” to be filled. Then each day, you just fill them in with the day’s sleep information. You then copy this template for each week. Start on a day that suits you. It doesn’t have to be a Monday.tips & advices
How long you should keep a sleep diary? The answer is simple: as long as you feel the need. However, recording your sleep over a two week period will give you a much more accurate overview than just one week of information. The larger the sample, the more answers it will give to your sleep problems.
In the end, a sleep diary allows you to understand your cycles and to identify what might need to change. You ultimately optimize your sleep, adjust your schedule, change bad habits and recover energy where you thought it was impossible. In any case, we wish you the best of luck!