Home > Overcoming Problems > Keeping a Sleep Diary and Logging Sleep Patterns

Keeping a Sleep Diary and Logging Sleep Patterns

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 28 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Keeping A Sleep Diary And Logging Sleep Patterns

Recent studies show that insomnia affects one in five of the population. Many people will recognise the symptoms: difficulty in falling asleep waking during the night or waking early in the morning.

Sleep Diaries

Finding the causes for lack of sleep is difficult but many insomniacs have benefited from using a Sleep Diary to assist them with their sleep monitoring. This helps record things that happen during the day that may be a factor in their sleeping difficulties

A Sleep Diary should be divided into two parts.

Day

From Waking to Early Evening

  • Food
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Medications
  • Exercise
  • Days Events

Night

From Early Evening to Morning

  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Relaxation
  • Activities
  • Ready for Bed
  • Time for Bed
  • Hours sleeping/waking
  • Time waking up

The diary should be an honest account of all the elements that might be affecting your sleep. Try and record how you feel and if there is anything that happens during the day that might affect how you feel - good or bad. The act of recording any concerns or worries is sometimes enough to help you relax!

Observation

It is a good idea to make keep sleeping records for at least a week before checking if there are any things that you are doing that are affecting your sleep. If you have a partner it is helpful to have their input. They might have some observations on how well you sleep or if there are any other sleep related problems such as difficulty breathing or nightmares.

A Sleep Diary may help you recognise if there are any nights you sleep particularly well or badly. It is then possible to see if these are days when you did things like eating late or having extra caffeine that make it harder to sleep. Monitoring your sleeping patterns and making a note on how you feel when going to bed will also help you assess whether you are feeling stressed or having difficulty relaxing.

Exhaustion Won't Solve the Problem

Insomnia is often suffered in silence. It is easy to cling to the belief that eventually exhaustion will solve the problem - you will be so tired the body will give in and let you have a good night's sleep. Unfortunately insomnia is a tricky condition. It will let you have enough sleep to keep you going, but not enough to prevent you from feeling tired and irritable during the day.

Some people are not even aware that they have a real problem until their health, relationships and sanity are threatened.Of course, trying to sleep makes it difficult to monitor how much sleep you are really getting. In fact, it is not unusual for people to underestimate how well they are sleeping as they are only aware of the hours they spend awake worrying about sleep!

Experts advise that it is more useful to concentrate on preparing for sleep than using sleeping pills. There are many ways that the body can learn how to relax and eliminate factors that interfere with sleep. Alcohol, caffeine, certain foods and evening exercise can affect the body's ability to wind down and sleep. Learning how to relax and let go of anxiety in preparation for a good night's sleep will help adjust the mind. Improving sleep hygiene, including adapting the bedroom and eliminating any noise, will set the scene and will help if you have sleeping difficulties

After a week of investigating the causes, the diary can be used to help improve sleep. If you have been able to identify what is keeping you awake, it may be possible to make changes that will make an immediate improvement. If this involves withdrawal from caffeine, medication, alcohol or smoking make sure you take some advice to support you through the early stages.

The diary can also be used to plan and record any changes you adopt such as embarking on an exercise programme, changing diet or learning how to relax. All these will help you sleep and feel more relaxed.

Anxiety is one of the main reasons for insomnia. Stress affects the mind and body making it difficult to physically relax and mentally switch off. A diary can help you record what is worrying you and encourage you to let go of the day's concerns.For many people suffering from insomnia, it is what happens during the day that affects sleep. It takes time to adjust to a pattern of life that will permit the mind and body to let go and drift off into a peaceful nights sleep. Trying too hard to sleep has the wrong effect. It is better to learn how to relax and try and learn ways that will help you get through the night without worrying over how much sleep you are having.

Individuals differ in the amount of sleep they need. Sleep should leave you feeling refreshed and alert and able to function during the day. A sleep diary will help you record the variations in your sleep and help you on the road to a peaceful night.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Fefe
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    Thyroid disorders can cause cold and heat intolerances. I know uts why I'm cold all year around.
    12 October 2019
  • Dot
    Re: Is it Possible to Drive a Car While Asleep?
    can fibro cause jerking at night when sleeping?
    11 October 2019
  • Exhausted
    Re: Involuntary Jerking While Asleep, What Could it be?
    My husband has been twitching and jerking at roughly 20 second intervals since before we were…
    17 June 2019
  • Doris
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    Some nights I get so cold even wake up cold. I mean terribly cold to the bone. Can’t get warm even with covers etc. what could be…
    22 April 2019
  • Diane
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    My solution for being cold was an electric mattress cover. Turn on about an hour before bedtime, then shut off. If I go to bed cold, I…
    12 April 2019
  • George S
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    I have the same problem as Adrienne (who commented above) and I have been through a series of medical tests and procedures with no…
    2 April 2019
  • Susy
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    This is interesting! I have found that if I do not drink enough water , at least 1,5 liters during the day, I cannot go to sleep. I…
    26 March 2019
  • julie
    Re: Coughing and Sleep Loss
    Hi I had a cold on Sunday, it started with hit and cold feeling changing every hour, I started taking paracetamol fir it. Before going to…
    14 March 2019
  • Adrienne
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    Why do i get cold at nights? While in day I'm normal? It's been 1 week now after my first encounter about this and I'm worried. Last…
    5 March 2019
  • Ukung
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    While sleeping I feel extreme cold and need two three blankets. My husband, who is on insulin, swets. How can I get rid of this? While…
    15 February 2019