also called logs or journals, have been used for centuries as a way to
record information by date. Today, diaries are used for both personal
and business purposes. Many people use personal journals as a way of
noting down thoughts and memories, or clarifying events of the day.
Business logs are generally used to remember meetings and things to do
in the future. They can also be used by professionals to book
sleep journal is used as a way to track the following different points:
In what way the person woke up
e.g. were they disturbed by a noise, alarm clock or other person?
Knowing how you wake up can give insight into what stage of sleep you are in when
you awake. It is important to note if a very light noise woke you up,
such as the heating system in the house or a light noise outside.
How long was spent lying in bed
before physically getting up? Many people find it very hard to get out
of bed and this can take any time between a few minutes to an hour. If
this takes an hour, it suggests very poor quality sleep but could also
be a physical problem if it is affecting the body's muscles.
How did the person feel once they
got up? After a good rest, you should feel fresh and
alert. Feelings of constant lethargy, fatigue and moodiness are not
All naps or siestas
should be noted in the sleep diary. What time and where should also be
documented e.g. was it in bed at 4pm or on the couch at lunchtime? All forms of medication
and any stimulants taken, and the time they are consumed, is also
logged. Taking sleeping pills, drinking alcohol and/or caffeine are
most important to note as these can directly affect sleep.
last meal of the day is always put in the sleep journal.
What we eat in
the evening, or at night, can influence how our bodies feel when we
prepare for bed.
heavy meal with rich foods can make the stomach feel
bloated, sore and uncomfortable. Although everyone is unique and will
react differently to certain food types.
activities at night time, or late in the evening, have importance too.
Physical exertion may tire out the muscles but will also stimulate the
brain. This is not
recommended if sleep is planned within an hour or
so, as the mind needs time to wind down.
crucial entry for the sleep diary is how the person is feeling
they go to bed. Are they in a good mood or feeling stressful? If the
diary shows that stress levels are high repeatedly, at the same time
each night, a calming process of some sort will be suggested. Have you
relaxation training yet?
time a person tried to fall asleep and when did actual sleep occur is
logged in the sleep diary. Unless being monitored, It is nearly
impossible to know 100% when you fall asleep so a best guess
is usually enough for the journal.
the most vital piece of information is to know how many times waking up occurred
and why. This can be tricky to note, if very tired, but
knowing why you
woke up can be beneficial.
reason was due to a loud noise, then
a mild sleep disorder may be the case.
if woken up with
shortness of breath or bodily pains, it is quite likely that a physical
condition is causing the problem.
is handy to write all of the latter information in the sleep journal right after you wake up,
as you have more chance of remembering any
disturbances than if you leave it until later in the day. Any unusual
dreams or nightmares
should be recorded, in case a psychological
disorder is present in the subconscious. You may be unaware of this
during the day but repressed feelings could be coming out during your
sleep in dream form.
Children Using a Sleep Diary
used to study a child's sleeping patterns depend on the age of the
patient. If a doctor has suggested this for a baby, it will just be a
matter of the parent's monitoring sleep times. Babies and young infants
need much more sleep than adults and their bodies want to
they have a problem sleeping consistently, this could be related to a
ailment or illness, as their brains have not had the time required to
develop a psychological disorder. Older children can be given a fun
version of a sleep journal to complete with their parents
have pictures and forms of interaction.
is much conflicting opinion surrounding the practice of documenting
at home. From one angle, it is believed to be a useful tool that can
serve to regulate sleep and form a routine.
many people believe that adult participants will amend results to suit
themselves or leave out any details they find embarrassing. It is also
thought that the feeling of 'pressure to perform well' could be
stressful and keep a person awake longer, as they are aware they need
to sleep for a test.
it's important to mention that there are certain iPhone applications
you can use to record details about your sleep. I personally use "Sleep Cycle" which
allows you to record how many hours you slept, at which part of the
night you are in deepest sleep, and it gives you a percentage based on
the quality of your sleep.
one more summary of the things you should have in your sleep diary:
you woke up
- How you woke up
- How many times you woke
up during the night
- How long it took you to
get up out of bed
- How you felt when you got
- Your amount of naps
during the day
- What medicine or vitamins
you took that day
- What your last meal of
the day was