Keeping a sleep diary may seem old-fashioned at first. In the modern age, we are used to capturing our day through taking photographs, social media posts, etc, rather than diary. Many of us prefer screens over using pen and paper.
For those who struggle with sleep, however, keeping a log of your sleep could be the key to a consistent, healthy sleep schedule. A diary will help you track patterns in your sleep and work out any causes of disruption, leading to better sleep hygiene overall.
What Is a Sleep Diary, Exactly?
A sleep diary, sometimes known as a sleep journal or log, is where you keep track of your daily sleep. A sleep diary tends to be the most detailed, but the terms can be used interchangeably. Your diary keeps track of any factors you think need observation over multiple days or week. These include, but are not limited to:
- How long it takes for you to fall asleep
- Whether or not you wake up in the middle of the night
- How energised you felt the next day
- If you suffer from sleep paralysis
- How long you were asleep for
- If you had strange dreams and/or nightmares
- How much caffeine/alcohol you consumed
- General pre-sleep activities and their affect on your sleep – e.g, exercise, screen time, etc
What Are The Benefits of This?
Keeping a log of your sleep is a great way of troubleshooting what’s causing you sleep problems. It can also be used to hold yourself accountable – e.g, it may tempt you to put away your phone before bed, as tempting as it is to stay on it.
For medical purposes, a log can serve as evidence for your doctor. This is especially true if you’re having sleep problems beyond your control. If changes to your daily routine that you’re monitoring don’t seem to make a difference, bring a log to a professional.
Who Would Get the Most Out of A Sleep Diary?
If you’re having problems identifying the root of your sleep issues, a sleep diary would be ideal for you. Some sleep conditions, such as insomnia, can have multiple causes for worsening. Keeping a log of your sleep will help see which events precede a bad night’s sleep.
If you’re a parent and you or your child are struggling to keep to a routine, a diary can help establish a routine that works with your lifestyle.
Even if you do not have a sleep disorder, a diary can still provide benefits. If you want to keep a consistent routine, reduce bad habits, or simply want to sleep better, a diary can help everyone.