Should a sleep journal be part of your daily routine? It just might help you improve your sleep.
Getting quality sleep for at least 7 hours comes with a slew of health benefits, but the opposite is also true: a lack of good sleep can impede good health, both physically and mentally.
If you're not getting the sleep you need, perhaps starting a sleep journal can help you determine why. Read on to find out why a sleep journal can be beneficial and tips to help you get started.
Benefits of Good Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep every night has several health benefits, including the following:
Reduces the chances of getting sick
Helps maintain a healthy weight
Reduces the risk for serious health issues, including heart disease
Improve your mood
Helps you be more mentally alert
Helps you perform better at work or school
Helps you make better decisions
Helps you avoid injuries
Helps improve energy levels
Why Keep a Sleep Journal?
Having a sleep journal allows you to record essential information about yourself. Sleep journals typically include details about the following:
How long it takes you to fall asleep
Number of hours slept
Quality of sleep
Number of sleep interruptions
Duration of sleep disruptions
Number and duration of naps taken during the day
Caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco consumption
Recording all of this information every day will allow you to see a pattern in your sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, you can refer to your journal to pinpoint where there may be issues that require attention.
If you eventually seek medical assistance, your doctor can use the information you recorded in your sleep journal, which can help them make a more accurate diagnosis and provide a protocol tailored to your situation.
You can use your journal to tally up your total sleep time, identify sleep disruptions, and highlight other important factors that can impact your sleep quality.
Getting Better Sleep
Establishing a routine for both morning and night is helpful. In fact, having a sleep routine that you follow every day is one of the best ways to ensure better sleep.
Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends
Spend a few minutes outside every day to soak in some vitamin D
Avoid consuming caffeinated beverages no later than 2 pm
Avoid daytime napping
Start your nighttime routine at least 30 to 60 minutes before bed. There are several things you can do before bed, such as the following:
Take a warm bath
Write in your journal
Performing the same tasks in the same order each night will tell your brain that these activities precede sleep.
With a sleep journal in hand, you can accumulate important information about your sleep habits that can help you spot any potential red flags and take steps to rectify them.
1. Worley, S.L. "The Detrimental Effects of Inadequate Sleep on Health and Public Safety Drive an Explosion of Sleep Research", P T., December 2018; 43(12): 758–763. Times Cited: 133; Journal Impact Factor: 3.043.