Learn how to sleep well using a sleep journal
A sleep journal is a simple way to track your sleep. By using a journal as a sleep monitor, you get an idea of your own sleep pattern. A sleep diary can also help determine whether your poor quality of sleep is caused by a bad sleeping habit, which you can change yourself.
There is no fixed answer for what a sleep journal should cover. As a minimum it should include what time you went to bed and when you woke up. You can create your own sleep journal by making a chart to fill in your sleep-information. The chart could contain space for information about:
- The time you wake up and when you go to bed.
- A brief summary of how well you slept. Write down how satisfying you found your sleep.
- Note number of nighttime awakenings and write down their duration.
- Number and length of naps during the day.
- Write down how much caffeine and alcohol you consumed during the day and when.
- Time of last beverage or food intake before you went to bed.
- Level of exercise and in what timeframe you exercised.
- Any medication you took during the day should be noted along with time.
- A brief evaluation of how you felt in the morning – e.g. groggy, alert, sleepy…
Why keep a sleep journal?
The reasons for using a sleep journal can be numerous. Maybe you are curious about your own sleeping habits and wish to learn how to improve them? Or, maybe you want to see how changes in your lifestyle affect your sleep? A sleep journal can be helpful in both scenarios. A trained professional like a doctor or a nurse has experience looking at sleep journals and can therefore easily see if a certain pattern could be linked to any sleeping disorders. However, if you are just looking to improve your sleep quality you can easily check your own chart for patterns.
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How long should you use a sleep diary?
Again, there is no right or wrong period you should keep a sleep journal. The most important thing is that you are consistent in the period that you are tracking. Make sure to fill out your chart every day to get the most reliable results. To get usable results where you can see any patterns you should probably keep the journal for at least a week. Moreover, after a month there is probably not major differences to track.
If you have any good, sleeping tips then please share them with us in the comments!