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The Benefits Of A Sleep Diary & How To Start One

February 22, 2019

The concise guide to sleep diaries for beginners

We all know what there are a bunch of variables that determine how well we sleep at night - stimulants, light exposure, sleep hygiene, etc. But do you know how sensitive your body is to each of these variables in particular? E.g. could you predict how a two-hour-long nap this afternoon might impact on your ability to fall and remain asleep this evening? Odds are you don’t, and there’s a very good reason for that - the only way you can get to grips with potential sleep disturbances is to keep track of it. This is where a sleep diary comes in.

What Is A Sleep Diary?

A sleep diary is a tracking tool that is often recommended by doctors and therapists to patients who present with sleeping disorders. Essentially, it’s a record of when you go to bed, when you wake up, your lifestyle choices leading up to bedtime, as well as anything of interest that may occur throughout the night. The data collected in this manner often illuminates certain patterns in your sleep/wake cycle.

The Benefits of Sleep Diary

Aside from being a useful tool when visiting a doctor or therapist to address a suspected sleeping disorder, a sleep diary can also be used for your own purposes. You could, for instance, compare your sleep patterns in summer and winter, at home or on holiday. If you start taking a new medication, your diary could point out whether it has an impact on your sleeping habits. Or you could do an experiment by adjusting your room temperature to a different setting over a matter of weeks to see which temperature is most conducive to a restorative night's sleep in your case.

How To Start Your Own Sleep Diary

What you choose to record in your sleep diary will depend on the type of data you want to gather. However, a standard sleep diary keeps track of the following:

  • What time you went to bed
  • What time you woke up
  • How many times you woke up during the night
  • The last food or beverages you enjoyed before bedtime
  • Exercise you did throughout the day
  • Alcohol consumed + time of consumption
  • Caffeine consumed + time of consumption
  • Naps taken during the day (number + duration)
  • Short description of how you felt upon waking (e.g. refreshed, alert, groggy, tired)

There you have it - a concise look at the benefits of a sleep diary and how you can start one of your own. At Bed King, we believe in the power of scientific measurement, which is why we also offer our shoppers access to the revolutionary Comfort Solutions Lab at all of our brick-and-mortar stores. This innovative new system identifies your body’s unique pressure points to provide you with a tailor-made mattress recommendation. Visit us in store to learn more!

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