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What Is a Sleep Diary?
A sleep diary is a written log documenting your sleep schedule. You can keep a simple sleep log in a pocket notebook by your bedside. Use it to record the details of last night's sleep from bedtime to wake-up time, and include notes about sleep quality. Keeping a sleep diary has less to do with format and more to do with consistency. Choose a format you can easily incorporate into your bedtime routine.
Why Keep a Sleep Diary?
If you have a sleep disorder or simply struggle to fall asleep, you can keep a sleep diary to create and maintain healthy sleep habits. Consistent sleep is essential for maintaining your health. Prioritizing a good night's sleep can stave off daytime drowsiness, fogginess, and other related problems, and a sleep diary can be a helpful tool for fixing your sleep schedule.
How to Keep a Sleep Diary
To keep a sleep diary, record your sleep and wake cycles in your notebook each morning and night. The following are some key metrics to include in your sleep diary:
- The time you got into bed
- The approximate time you fell asleep
- Any times you woke up during the night, and for how long
- The time you woke up in the morning
- The time you got out of bed after waking up
- Any sleep medicine you used (including supplements like melatonin, as well as over-the-counter medications)
- Any current health issues
- Intake of alcoholic or caffeinated drinks before bed
- Hours of any daytime napping
If your diary reveals inconsistent sleep patterns, try to maintain a sleep and wake schedule at the same time each day, ideally in alignment with your circadian rhythm. You can also bring your sleep diary to a healthcare professional to review the metrics together. A sleep specialist will be better able to help you tackle sleep problems if they have a clear sense of your sleep habits.
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