Home Sleep Wellness What is a Sleep Diary?

4 mins

30 June 2022

What is a Sleep Diary?

Having a hard time figuring out why you are having troubles falling and staying asleep? A sleep diary will help you figure it all out. Keeping a sleep diary can help you track sleep, keep an eye on sleep habits, write down problems you encounter, and learn how to get to sleep quickly. Usually, your sleep doctor asks you to fill out a diary. In this way, specific behaviour can be linked to difficulty falling asleep and possible reduction in sleep quality. It will also help medical professionals prescribe effective treatment to address your sleeplessness since you have a written record of what happens when you try to get some shut-eye.  

What Is a Sleep Diary?  

A sleep diary contains information about your sleeping habits. They often include details about the times you wake up and go to bed, how long it takes for you to fall asleep, how often your sleep is interrupted, how often you nap during the day, and your perceived sleep quality. It’s also helpful in tracking your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, which are known to stimulate you and keep you awake.  

You can also use your sleep diary to log information about your daily medication and exercise, which both play a role in how well you sleep at night. Sometimes, sleep diaries are called sleep logs or sleep journals, although sleep diaries are often considered to be more thorough and detailed than a sleep log. 

 

How Can a Sleep Diary Help You Feel Better?  

Keeping a sleep diary allows you to calculate your total sleep time, helping you identify sleep disruptions or other factors that affect your sleep quality. It also highlights habits that affect your sleep by revealing patterns that may explain sleep problems, helping healthcare providers recommend more effective sleep training methods. Additionally, a sleep diary with detailed entries is more reliable and usable than a patient’s vague recollection of their sleep habits.  

How Do You Keep a Sleep Diary?  

Keeping a sleep diary is pretty simple. All you have to do is write in it every day and fill it with as much detail as possible. Some sleep dairies have special sections meant to be completed in the morning and evening.  

Faithfully updating your diary will help you avoid gaps in your memory and prevent you from struggling to remember how you felt at a particular time. For this reason, it’s best to have your sleep diary and pen within arm’s reach of your bed, making it easier to fill out before you sleep and when you wake up.  

What Can You Put in a Sleep Diary?  

There are many things you can include in your sleep diary. You can evaluate your sleep environment, which plays a crucial role in finding the best way to sleep. For instance, many recently switched to a work-from-home setup have converted their bedroom into a makeshift office, which has unknowingly affected their sleep.  

You can also keep a checklist of questions to help you determine the kind of sleep you’re getting. Here are a few examples to try:  

  • Am I allocating enough time for sleep? 
  • Am I spending a lot of time lying in bed without actually falling asleep? 
  • Do I keep a consistent sleep schedule, or do I find myself constantly adjusting it? 
  • Is my sleep satisfying, or do I wake up tired? 
  • Do I take naps that are too long or too late in the day? 

Is a Sleep Diary Better Than Other Ways of Tracking Sleep?  

Sleep diaries are one of the many methods you can use to track your sleep. Some doctors recommend actigraphy, a special device patients wear on the wrist to monitor movement like sleep. Doctors use it to investigate a sleep problem since it presents objective data, giving it an edge over a sleep diary. However, the results from actigraphy and sleep diaries are often similar; sometimes, doctors recommend using both to obtain a subjective and objective evaluation of sleep.  

Another popular option is wearable activity trackers, mobile phone apps, or other consumer sleep trackers that often use the same technology as actigraphy to provide you with data about your sleep. They have however not been thoroughly tested to guarantee their accuracy.  

Sleep diaries win overall due to their simplicity and affordability. They also offer broader insight into sleeping habits that help doctors uncover the underlying sleep problem and recommend more effective sleep training methods to address it. Moreover, the same routine of writing down every morning and every evening information concerning sleep can have a beneficial effect. It is well recognized, in fact, the important role played by habits in helping people fall asleep more easily. 

Takeaway

Keeping a sleep diary can help improve all around health and wellness by helping keep track of good habits and practices. When your body has ample time to rest and mend itself it will perform its functions better, leaving you healthier and happier.  

More at Sunrise by Emma

To learn more about all things related to sleep, feel free to explore Sunrise by Emma. Here we have articles on sleep wellness and sleep health to help you get the best sleep quality possible, and we also have a dedicated section on sleep products to further aid your rest at night. You can also visit Emma UK where we offer mattresses that will definitely give you a good night's sleep.

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