November 16, 2021

Sleep Diary & Checklist

Sleep Diary - Download PDF

Sleep Log - Download PDF

Morning/Night Checklist - Download PDF

Insufficient or interrupted sleep can have serious health consequences, but sleep problems aren’t always easy to identify. For that reason, a sleep diary is a valuable tool for tracking sleep, monitoring sleep habits, and documenting sleeping problems. Both patients and doctors find information in patient-kept sleep diaries useful.

What Is a Sleep Diary?

A sleep diary is a daily record of important sleep-related information. Although not all sleep diaries are identical, they commonly include details about:

  • Bedtime and/or lights-out time
  • Wake-up time
  • How long it takes to fall asleep
  • The number and duration of sleep interruptions
  • The number and duration of daytime naps
  • Perceived sleep quality
  • Consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and/or tobacco
  • Daily medications
  • Daily exercise

Why Use a Sleep Diary?

A sleep diary is an important tool for evaluating a person’s sleep. Doctors often request a sleep diary, but some people may use one on their own accord.

By keeping a record of sleep, the diary makes it possible to calculate total sleep time. A sleep record also helps people identify sleep disruptions and other factors that can influence sleep quality.

Identifying details about habits that affect sleep can show patterns that help explain sleeping problems. For healthcare providers, the concrete entries in a sleep diary are often more reliable and usable than a general recollection about sleep habits.

Another way that a sleep diary is used is in preparation for certain specialized sleep studies. A sleep diary can enhance the validity of sleep tests by showing that a person’s sleep is stable in the lead-up to the study.

How Do You Use a Sleep Diary?

To keep the most accurate sleep diary, fill it out carefully every day. Many sleep diaries contain one short section to complete in the morning and another in the evening.

Staying current and updating your diary as you go helps avoid any gaps in your memory. For that reason, you want to keep your sleep diary and a pen in an easily accessible place where you’ll be reminded to fill it out every day.

If you’re filling out a sleep diary on doctor’s orders, make sure to use the form they provide and follow any accompanying instructions.

Doctors usually advise patients to keep a sleep diary for at least one week. You may need to update your diary for two weeks or more, though, depending on how it’s being used.

If you’ve decided to start a sleep diary on your own, you can decide for yourself how long to keep recording your sleep information and how often to review it.

Routines For Morning And Night

When it comes to sleep routines, it’s easy to focus solely on what happens in the evenings. However, how we start our days is just as important. The morning is how we introduce ourselves to each day, so getting off to a good start is a routine that takes consistency.

In the evenings, there are several routines that are often suggested, such as avoiding electronics 30-60 minutes before bed and avoiding heavy food and liquids as you’re nearing bedtime. Here are some tips for continuing those strong habits in the morning:

  • Even on weekends, wake up around the same time as you do during the week
  • Give your body two full hours to wake up, as opposed to rushing out of bed into your daily obligations
  • Get outside for some vitamin D and daylight exposure as often as you can during the day
  • Skip the late afternoon coffee and cut off your caffeine intake by 2pm each day
  • If you can help it, avoid naps during the day. If you really need one, keep it to 30 minutes as early in the afternoon as possible