How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up feeling energized, rested, or groggy?
If you’re experiencing inconsistent energy levels throughout the day, starting a sleep journal could be a great way to see which lifestyle factors or activities may be contributing to your quality of sleep.
At Sömn, we believe a sleep journal is about more than just sleep tracking. It’s about knowing other aspects that could relate to, or impact, your sleep patterns. It's a great way to learn about the broader spectrum of your overall health.
Who needs a sleep journal?
A sleep journal can help you boost your overall quality of life, not just your sleeping habits. Tracking various aspects of your day may point to a correlation between unhealthy habits that contribute to consistent unrestful sleep. It can also be helpful if you are on a weight management or fitness program too.
Your doctors, coaches, or healthcare professionals may ask to see a copy of your sleep journal to help suggest the best ways to improve the overall quality of your life.
How to start a sleep journal?
Here’s what you can track in your sleep journal:
Bedtime and wake-up times: Creating consistency in the times you go to bed and wake up can help train your body to start preparing for rest before you actually lay your head down, making it easier and faster to fall asleep. Yes, that means getting up at the same time on the weekend too.
TIP: Never force your body to do anything it doesn't naturally wants to lean into, try to ease into sleep with relaxing activities at night by starting early in the evenings. Make these pre-sleep habits enjoyable is most important.
Quality of sleep: Make notes about how well you perceived your sleep to be. Did you wake up in the night or sleep all the way through? If you did wake up, what time was it, and approximately how long were you awake for and how? Did you feel well-rested or like you just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep?
TIP: These indications are so valuable in adjusting your habits and knowing what contributed to good or bad sleep. The secrete is to repeat what worked and eliminate what didn't.
Stimulant use: Track the amounts and times you drank caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, or pop. Too much caffeine close to bedtime can affect your sleep patterns.
TIP: This may differ from person to person, so be kind to yourself. Perhaps it's not caffeine that is the main contributor, for some people it may be alcohol intake, stress levels, or simply your bedroom set up or bedding.
Medication use: If you take any over-the-counter or prescription medications, track dosages, and times in your sleep tracker.
TIP: Some studies suggest natural sleep remedies like passionflower or Passiflora helps to relieve anxiety and insomnia. Make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacists if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
Your feelings and emotions: Several times a day, including when you wake up and go to sleep, write down how you’re feeling. Make notes about whether you feel stressed, anxious, tired, excited, happy, or energized. Because our mood fluctuates throughout the day, record these emotions at the same time every day to get a better baseline and bigger picture.
Energy levels: If you feel the “3 PM slump” and feel you can’t make it to the end of the day without a boost of energy, record that. Record your energy levels throughout the day, again at consistent times if possible.
TIP: Taking a power nap can really help to recover these afternoon slumps. The end goal is the eliminate or reduce them so you are not overriding your body. Make lifestyle adjustments to improve these issues.
- Exercise: Track when you exercise, the time, duration, and how intense the exercise was. Again, some people find it difficult to exercise too close to bedtime because they’re too energized to sleep after.
Knowing and learning about these influencers can truly benefit your overall sleep quality, all it takes is keeping a journal and analyze them a week at a time for making better adjustments. If you are a busy person, try installing a sleep app on your phone to help you track your sleep, or if you prefer to have no technology in the bedroom, keep a notebook next to your bed.
You may also want to experiment with different sleeping positions and bedding too. High quality, luxury linen sheets are a great way to feel totally relaxed, cool, and comfortable in your bed. Being physically comfortable in your bed, in addition to keeping a sleep journal, can also go a long way to improving your sleep patterns.
Take a look at our other Sleep Help Topics HERE.