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 could signal an underlying sleep disorder. 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 sleeping.
Why Keep a Sleep Diary
Why keep a sleep diary? A sleep diary is generally kept for the following reasons:
- As an important sleep disorder diagnoses element
- Find a root cause for lack of sleep
- Find a root cause for poor sleep quality
- Gather data for a doctor or sleep center before a sleep test
- Understand patterns in your sleep, such as for curiosity
Sleep diaries are easy to keep, usually only taking 5-10 minutes per day of effort.
How to Fill Out Your Sleep Diary
When you're filling out your sleep diary, it's helpful to know what to put in there. Here are common things people will include in their 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
- Any additional information, such as sleep tracker app info, fitness tracker app info, etc.
Using a sleep tracker app or fitness tracking watch in conjunction with a sleep diary is very useful for gaining additional information about your sleeping.
Link to Free Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary
How to Analyze Your Sleep Diary
Analyzing your sleep diary is a process of looking for patterns in your sleep, especially negative patterns. Things to look for are:
- How much you rouse during the night
- How much sleep you receive
- How you feel when you wake up
- What you do before bed
- What your drinking habits are
Your doctor or sleep specialist may have additional parameters for how you should evaluate your sleep diary depending on the reason for keeping a diary.
Tips for Getting and Keeping a Sleep Diary
- 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
- Use it in conjunction with a sleep tracker app or fitness watch
If you are struggling with sleep and are considering starting a sleep diary to track your sleep, please take this online sleep test to get connected with one of our sleep health professionals.