A sleep journal, or a sleep diary, is used to track and record your daily sleep and wake and other related actives. Typically maintained over a period of several weeks, sleep journals help people understand their sleep patterns and to find ways to improve their sleep. Often, just the act of tracking and recording can help people improve their sleep. Clinically and in research, sleep journals are used to collect sleep data for later interpretation by professionals.
The Somn Sleep Journal
Our three-week program has been designed to help you dive into your sleep habits and embrace the importance of healthy routines in your sleep journey. The Somn Sleep Journal program focuses on goal setting and taking consistent, incremental steps towards change. And remember, change isn’t always simple, but this journal will help you ease into a new routine. According to Matthew Ebben, PhD, a psychologist specializing in sleep medicine, “A sleep log is a great way to document what someone is feeling about their sleep quality and see if that improves over time.”
Routines are important
Healthy routines make a world of difference to sleep. Sleep scientists see this again and again in their research. Studies on sleep often involve 2 weeks where people track sleep, and a curious thing happens during that period… sleep improves! Often a lot. Just by tracking their sleep.
We hope this helps you to further understand your sleep and take the first steps to better sleep health.
Daily behaviors & routines
Routine encompasses daily behaviors that impact sleep such as diet, bedtime and wake time, exercise, and when and how much caffeine we consume. However challenging our day-to-day may be, we all have routines we follow from morning to night. The question is: Do they help or hurt sleep? One way to answer this question is to keep a sleep journal, so you can track your daily habits and discover how they impact your sleep.
Try using a sleep journal to record and track your daily sleep, waking, and related activities over a period of several weeks. The information you generate can help you understand your sleep patterns and find ways to improve your sleep. Often, just the act of tracking and recording sleep helps people to improve their sleep.
Somn Sleep Journal Basics
Before further examining why a sleep diary will likely boost your z’s, let’s discuss how it’s done.
Pen & paper? remember that?
Yah, but I have a phone that does everything, why paper?
We like digital things too, but paper is sometimes special. The physical journal sitting beside your bed can be a good reminding to log your sleep and avoids screens. Tracking your sleep with pen and paper (or “old school tracking” as we like to call it) is a useful way to visualize your sleep patterns and understand your sleep health. Increasing awareness of sleep can help improve your sleep.
Step 1) Setting goals
- Select a target bedtime. Consistent bedtimes are important and a good 1st thing to fix or improve with your sleep. Find help here about how to pick a target bedtime.
- Record this target bedtime in your journal. Setting, declaring and recording a goal helps to establish the goal and helps you stick with it.
Step 2) Daily/nightly tracking
- Your actual bedtime (hopefully close to your target bedtime!)
- If you missed your target bedtime
- Sleep quality; how well you slept
- If and when you awoke during the night…
- and when you fell back asleep
- When you woke up for the day
You will also track some of your activities during the day that are sleep related
- Physical activity; moving during the day helps sleep at night
- Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks you consumed over the course of the day
- Screen time before bedtime; it’s hard, but put the phone down
Step 3) Journal your thoughts at night
Getting ideas down and out of your head can help the Mind sleep factor. See if it works for you. Write about whatever you like; it is your tool. Recapping the day is a good start. Try it for a few nights, it gets easier and more natural each time. Journal is a well proven tool that can bring peace after a stressful day.
Step 4) Sleep and use it… record your sleep for a week
We are here to help you interpret as well. More guidance on interpreting your sleep can be found here.
Step 5) Review & reflect
When you become aware of the behaviors that negatively impact your sleep, you adjust. As you keep your sleep journal, you’ll start to see how your routine impacts your sleep. Once you realize how your choices have been negatively impacting you, you’ll make different and better choices.
Step 6) Repeat… keeping going; every night
Over time, these insights will allow you to piece together your shuteye puzzle. If you often eat a heavy meal too close to bedtime, for example, your own digestive system may be the sleep thief. If you begin to find that the glow from a streetlamp outside your window frequently wakes you, your particular light sensitivity may be the culprit. Recording and evaluating your habits will shed light, too, on your particular susceptibilities and where you can clean up your sleep hygiene. And good news: sometimes you can problem solve on your own, without the help of a doctor. Eye mask, anyone?
What to do next…
- Get your own Somn Sleep Journal and start tracking your sleep
Need some more reasons to keep a sleep journal…?
1. Keeping a sleep log will help you understand your own sleep habits.
Often sleep disorders are not to blame for your trouble snoozing. The real problem is often your sleep habits. Assessing whether or not your sleep routine, or lack thereof, is serving you could do wonders for your beauty sleep.
With a little reflection on your patterns, you can find better sleep. Take note of any tendencies that don’t align with good sleep hygiene, self-correct, and see if things improve.
2. A sleep journal helps you prioritize shuteye.
When you become aware of the behaviors that negatively impact your sleep, you adjust. As soon as you start keeping your sleep diary, you’ll start to make conscious choices to improve your nights spent in subconscious dreamland. You’ll choose chamomile tea over a bourbon nightcap… abolish blue light… put the phone down… and draw the curtains. You’ll scent your space with lavender. Once you realize how your choices have been negatively impacting you, you’ll make different and better choices.
3. A sleep diary is an effective tool… and there’s science to back it up.
According to Dr. Ebben, keeping a sleep log for at least two weeks is a “wealth of information”, giving patients the opportunity “to find and fix sleep problems”.
4. Keeping a sleep log will encourage you to take charge of your health in other ways, too.
Tracking your own personal data (lifelogging, quantified self, body hacking, etc) is not a bad habit to get into, and it’s not so much about counting your steps each day or meticulously recording calories: it’s a feeling. What wakes you up at night? Which foods wreak havoc on your digestive system? Everyone’s is different, and when you start to pay attention to how you react to sleep disruptors, you’ll learn to pay attention to what breaks your skin out, makes you bloated, and gives you anxiety. In short, you’ll be better able to understand and nurture your own health.
5. You might actually enjoy keeping a sleep diary
If you write morning pages, keep a bullet journal, or consider yourself a writer – you just might like keeping your sleep log. Make it your own, make it sustainable, and make it fun! There’s no truer form of self-care than learning how to keep yourself healthy and happy. Do it your way.
Get your own Somn Sleep Journal and start tracking your sleep