How Can A Sleep Diary Help You?
You should notify your doctor if you are concerned that you might have a sleep disorder. He or she may ask you to create a sleep diary to keep track of your sleeping habits for a period of 1-2 weeks. This will help to determine what kind of sleeper you are. Create a chart and keep track of the following things:
- What time did you go to bed each night
- What time did you get out of bed in the morning
- How long did it take you to fall asleep (in minutes)
- How many times did you wake up during the night
- How did you feel when you woke up in the morning (eg. tired, refreshed, etc.)
- How many hours did you sleep last night
Before you go to sleep, try to avoid substances that may prevent you from sleeping, such as alcohol, caffeine, heavy exercise, and large meals or spicy foods 3 hours before bedtime.
One thing that I use that has helped keep track of the above items for me is the use of a Fitbit Charge HR device. It will record the answers to almost all of the items you’re tracking above. If you don’t have one of these devices, you should seriously consider getting one. Not only does it record this information for me, it is also an excellent motivating tool as it also records how many steps you walk each day and you can make a game of it by challenging friends of yours who also have one of these devices. I’m in the process of writing a review of my Fitbit Charge HR device. I have been using mine since October 2015.
After the 1-2 week period, present your doctor with your results. At that point, they may decide to arrange for you to have a sleep study.
Feel free to drop me a line and let me know if creating a sleep diary has helped you in any way!