Do you have trouble staying awake during the day? Has your partner been complaining about your snoring? Sleep journals, much like food journals, are a huge tool in improving your overall health.
Just as food journals help you keep track of your eating habits so you can see what needs to be changed to lose weight, sleep journals keep track of your sleeping habits so you and your doctor can find ways to improve your sleep and ultimately, your total health.
Keeping a Sleep Journal: The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep may seem like an impossible task to some people, but it comes with so many amazing health benefits.
When you go to sleep, your body is able to focus on healing your heart, blood vessels, and brain, while repairing anything that may be harming the body.
When you deprive your body of this essential rest, you put yourself at a higher risk of numerous conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and in extreme cases, even death.
A good night’s sleep can also improve your mental health. Believe it or not, good sleep also has a role to play in weight loss.
What Should Be Included in a Sleep Journal?
It is recommended to keep a sleep journal for at least three weeks, but many people find benefits in keeping one for longer.
When journaling, make sure you include any little detail that could affect your sleep.
Are you habitually drinking coffee every day at noon? Do you realize your eyes are getting heavy at the same time every day? Make sure you keep track of everything and be detailed.
The most important things to include are:
- What time you wake up each day.
- Your overall feeling upon waking – like feeling groggy, pained, or refreshed.
- Approximately how many hours you slept.
- How many times you woke up throughout the night for bathroom breaks, etc.
- Any medication you took that day along with approximate times.
- Any caffeine or alcohol consumed, how much, and what time.
- Activities done before going to sleep, like watching TV, playing games, reading, etc.
- What you ate or drank last and approximately what time.
- Any exercise done and what kind.
- Approximately how long it took to go to sleep.
It may seem like an overwhelming amount of information at first, but it’s all basic knowledge that is easy to jot down, especially if you have an organized sleep journal template.
One example of a neat and organized sleep journal template can be fund here.
The National Sleep Foundation have put together this organized sheet where you can include almost everything listed above and it only takes a few minutes each day.
You can print out several copies of their template, make holes using a hole puncher, and keep them in a binder.
Since practically everyone has a smart phone these days, sleep journal apps are becoming more and more popular as well. Not only are these easy to use, but they are also easier to carry with you throughout your day.
There are numerous different apps in both the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Although most are free, some require a small price usually ranging from $3 to $6.
With so many different apps available, you’ll have no trouble finding the right one for you.
Some people prefer the old-style way of keeping their information in a notebook. There’s no need for anything fancy, as long as you note the important details.
Motivation is Key When Keeping a Sleep Journal
Just like keeping a food journal, a sleep journal will only be affective if you stay motivated and maintain your records each day.
Whether you want to find out if you have a sleep disorder or simply want to develop better sleeping habits, the only way to do so is by staying diligent and detailed with your journal.
Don’t worry about perfect grammar or spelling while jotting down your details. Remember this isn’t an assignment, but an important tool in regaining control over your sleeping habits.
This video shows an example of a very detailed sleep journal:
Using a Sleep Journal for Lucid Dreaming
A sleeping journal isn’t just for developing better health and sleeping patterns.
People all over the world use sleep and dream diaries to help them have lucid dreams and keep track of them.
The absolute best time to write in your journal is first thing in the morning, when you are most likely to remember your dreams.
A simple notebook will do for your dream journal, but there are also some fun templates and pre-made journals available online as well.
When taking your notes, it’s important to write the date of the dream, the themes involved in the dream, and any strong images that stood out in the dream. Many people also suggest giving your dream an appropriate title.
Keeping a sleep journal can be beneficial in so many ways. Grab your notebook and get stated today.