Alaska Sleep Education Center

Writing an Effective Sleep Diary: 7 Essential Tips

Posted by Jessica on Mar 1, 2021 1:07:00 AM

How to keep a sleep diary.

It is not a secret that the lifestyle of many people in today's world is turbulent. People have big goals, and they work hard every day to reach them. However, many stressful obstacles take a lot of their energy every single day. That is the reason why appropriate night rest is essential.

Improvement of sleeping habits is possible in many different ways. For instance, bad habits like late evening eating and consumption of late-day caffeine can negatively influence sleeping habits. By changing these two habits, people will manage to reach their goals.


On the other hand, they can also improve their physical activity, replace their sleeping equipment, etc. All these moves are going to help people improve the quality of their sleep. However, one of the things that all people should do is track their sleeping patterns. Thus, writing an effective sleep diary may be another tool that can improve the sleeping habits of people.


There are many reasons why keeping a sleep diary is beneficial. First of all, it can help doctors determine whether a patient has a sleep disorder or not. Despite that, people will have a clear vision of their sleeping habits. By knowing them, they will manage to stay proactive, reorganize their day properly, and change their bad habits.


However, not every individual will know how to write a sleep diary probably. That is why people should hear a few essential tips that will help them reach their goals. Let's start!

Use Appropriate Structure

Sleep diary does not have some high requirements. People can use a basic Excel table to create an appropriate template. If they want to try out some other tools, there are also some excellent free and paid excel alternatives. All these tables will bring the same benefit to the creator of the sleep diary. They are all eye-pleasing, and people won't struggle to track their sleeping habits at all.

First Chart – Time You Needed to Fall Asleep

People probably won't manage to precisely determine how much time they needed to fall asleep. Because of that, they may want to divide that period into a few different categories. For instance, one category should be "less than 10 minutes", another one "less than 30 minutes", etc.

Second Chart – The Length of Sleeping Time

Determining this piece of information is much easier compared to the previous one. Of course, it will probably be challenging to calculate every minute of sleep. However, if they fall asleep around midnight and wake up around 8 AM, they can write "8 Hours" in that chart.


Another thing people should write down is the quality of their sleep. They should write down the first thoughts they had after opening their eyes. If they felt tired, they should write it down. On the other hand, if they felt amazing, highlighting that is essential as well.


When people feel tired after more than 8 hours of sleeping, there has to be some problem. For instance, it may happen they woke up many times during the night. Despite that, it can also mean their sleeping environment is not appropriate. In other words, their sleeping equipment is not good, there is a lot of noise near their room, etc.

Third Chart – Happenings during the Night

There has to be a reason why people feel sleepy when they get up. In most cases, people with sleeping disorders wake up a couple of times during the night. Stress and nightmares are usually the reason why people can't sleep eight hours in a row.


Neglecting that would be wrong. People should write down how many times that happened. Despite that, they also need to determine how long they need to fall back asleep.

Fourth Chart - Eating and Drinking Habits before Bedtime

As we said, one of the common reasons why people can't sleep is their eating and sleeping habits. People often like to drink a cup of coffee late in the evening. On the other hand, they do not hesitate to drink a glass of wine after a hard day at work. They want to relax in that way and try to forget about everyday problems.


Eating habits before bedtime are also an essential factor. First of all, eating too late is a common mistake. While we sleep, our digestive system continues to work. That especially counts when people have high-carbohydrate meals an hour or two before bedtime. A bad habit of that type triggers night sweats and raises the temperature of the entire body. That is one of the reasons why people wake up during the night.

Fifth Chart – Write Down Medications You Used

Let's imagine that a person slept for five days in a row very well. When a doctor sees that fact in a sleep diary, he could conclude that everything is fine with his patient. However, if that person does not mention different medications, all the pieces of information in the sleep diary would be false.


People need to tend to sleep naturally. Yet, if they are using different supplements or plant-based medications, writing that down is also mandatory. All these medicines can help people improve their REM sleep. Unfortunately, many people get back to their old sleeping habits when they stop using them. That could be a sign of a problem without any doubt. There is no reason not to write down that piece of information.

Sixth Chart – Description of Mood during the Day

As previously mentioned, everyday stress is one of the main causes of sleep disorders. That is the reason why sleep diaries should have a section that talks about problems a person experiences during the day.


The sleep diary will clearly highlight if stressful moments are the main cause of sleep disorders. For instance, let's imagine that everything was okay 10 days in a row. A person felt good, and his sleeping was excellent. However, after those 10 days, two of them were stressful. After that, that man/woman struggled to ensure a good night's rest for a couple of days.


Obviously, in that case, stress and bad mood were the main cause of bad sleeping habits. That piece of information will be valuable for both, creator of the sleep diary and the doctor. The doctor will know which treatment will be the best, and the person will know how to change the daily routine.

Bonus Tip: Share the Conclusions and Tips with the Rest of the World

People with sleep disorders need to understand they are not alone. Unfortunately, different researches confirm that around 30% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. All these people are looking for the best way to solve the problem they have.


The sleep diary will help you make certain conclusions. Sharing your thoughts with the world is the best way to help others. Fortunately, you live in the 21st century, and starting a blog is no longer a problem. If you are not good at writing, many paper writing assignments can help you improve the quality of content. Many people will be grateful to hear the tips of people that managed to solve their sleeping problems.


Thanks to these seven pieces of advice, people will manage to write an effective sleep diary. People should only try to cover as many as possible details in each chart from the list. In that way, tracking the sleeping patterns will be much easier.


If everything goes well, people should not forget how tough it was to find a solution. Sharing all pieces of advice with the rest of the world will be a valuable thing for many. Wouldn't that be great?

Alaska Sleep Clinic tries to make getting the best sleep as easy as possible for everyone.  Feel free to download our sleep sleep diary.

Download The Sleep Diary


Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at GetGoodGrade, an aggregator for useful college resources and websites. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.

Topics: sleep diary

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