What is a Sleep Diary?
A sleep diary is a record of your sleeping, including all of the aspects of your sleep. This includes data about your sleep, patterns of sleep, and sleep habits in order to identify potential problems that should require a sleep study. Sleep diaries are generally kept over a period of at least two weeks, but the longer the better.
Sleep diaries might be requested of you by your doctor or a sleep center in order to get more accurate data about your sleep habits.
What’s Included in a Sleep Diary?
Usually, the following items are kept in a sleep diary:
- Time you got in bed
- Time you woke up
- Estimated time taken to fall asleep
- How restful sleep was
- Number of times you roused during the night, and why you roused
- Amount of coffee consumed
- Amount of alcohol consumed
- Amount of exercise
- Things you did in hour leading up to bed
If you are trying to identify other specific things, then you should include those in the sleep diary as well. Ideally, you will only need to spend about 5 minutes every day filling out your diary. It may be best to do it right when you wake up so you don't forget your sleep habits throughout the day.
Why Keep a Sleep Diary
The main reason to keep a sleep diary is to identify all factors about your sleep, usually in order to:
- Find a root cause for lack of sleep
- Find a root cause for poor sleep quality
- Gather data for a doctor or sleep center
- Understand patterns in your sleep
Sleep diaries are easy to keep, so long as you are diligent.
If you are not sleep well, your brain will suffer - sleep diaries are an excellent way to begin identifying sleep problems
How to Keep a Sleep Diary
Sleep diaries are easy to keep, here are some tips:
- Get a sleep diary either:
- Download a sleep diary template
- Download a sleep diary app
- Buy a sleep diary online
- Keep the sleep diary next to your bed with a pen
- Keep the same routine everyday filling it out, such as first thing when you get into bed
- Be diligent and detailed in using it
That’s it! Keeping a sleep diary is easy and a way to monitor your own sleep. This can be the first step before spending the money or time for a sleep study.
What to Look For in Your Sleep Diary
Some things to pay attention to in your sleep diary are:
- Are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep consistently?
- Are you feeling catastrophically tired when you wake up?
- Are you rousing throughout the night?
- Are you drinking excessive amounts of coffee or alcohol?
- Are you nighttime activities conducive to sleep?
In the activity of analyzing your sleep diary, what you are looking for are patterns. A sleep specialist or doctor can assist you in doing this – contact us for more details.