Life is busy. This can make it tricky to keep track of the simple things including how much sleep you’re getting. But, while keeping a journal could be seen as counterintuitive with that never-ending to-do list of tasks, keeping a record of your sleep habits in a journal or diary can help you to keep tabs on it. It can also help you recognise and address any significant changes to your sleep patterns too. The aim? Gaining a better awareness of your own body and what it needs to live a happier and healthier life.
Keeping a record of your sleep health doesn’t have to be a massive commitment. And it doesn’t involve having to spend any money either.
Here, Emma Carlton – the Buying and Merchandising Manager at Bensons for Beds – explains how keeping a sleep tracker journal can give you the insight you need to make a wise investment next time you’re shopping for a new mattress.
Who should keep a sleep journal or diary?
Keeping track of your sleep habits and routines is a good idea for everyone. And there are many different reasons that you may find keeping a sleep tracking journal beneficial.
Whether you’ve noticed that you’re becoming increasingly tired during the day, find you’re waking up with aches or pains, or have been waking during the night want to try to figure out why, a sleep journal can help. And it’s not unusual for your GP might to suggest keeping track your sleep health in some scenarios too.
Keeping a really simple daily record of your sleep patterns, quality, and how you feel in the morning will give you a unique insight into your sleep health. It will also help you to recognise any issues as they arise too.
The benefits of keeping a sleep journal
There are many benefits to keeping a sleep journal. Not only will journalling help you keep tabs on your schedule, it can also help you identify your individual sleep needs. Which is great if you’re looking to invest in a new mattress any time soon.
Discover how keeping a sleep journal could help you below.
1. Find out how much time you spend sleeping
Most people have a rough idea of how much sleep they get, especially during the week when most household have an alarm for that essential morning wake up.
But, with a sleep journal, you can keep track of your weekly sleep hours too. Add the total hours slept each night together to give you a weekly total as well as your daily ones.
Doing this can help you assess whether you’re getting too little or too much sleep! Plus, then you’ll be able to work out how sleep is optimal for your personal needs.
2. Notice changes in your sleep health
For most of us, small changes in our sleep health fly under the radar until they evolve into more impactful changes. Keeping a journal detailing any variations you notice in your sleep can help you to spot issues before they escalate. Everything from sleep disturbances to difficulty falling asleep in the first place is note-worthy. And in keeping a journal, you’ll be able to track these events and work out potential causes before your sleep quality suffers too drastically.
3. Find ways to improve your sleep
Pinpointing the exact causes of poor sleep isn’t easy. But a sleep journal can help you take the steps you need to improve your sleep quality overall. Documenting your sleep times daily (along with any other relevant information) can help you understand the bigger picture.
Sometimes getting your sleep back on the right track can be as simple as recognising that some foods leave you feeling more tired the next morning or learning that dining closer to bedtime makes it difficult for you to fall asleep efficiently. These are hypothetical scenarios of course. But just as you can identify the negative factors impacting your sleep, journalling can help you identify things that have a positive effect too. So, you may find that you sleep substantially better after exercising in the evening, or that waking earlier leaves you feeling more rejuvenated.
4. Track your sleep preferences
Sleep journaling is also a great way to learn a little more about what you prefer in terms of sleep. Make a note of which position you (mainly) slept in the night before. And jot down any discomfort upon awakening too. Then you’ll be able to look for patterns. It could be that sleeping on your side leads to back pain or that when you sleep on your back you tend to wake up with neck pain.
Whatever you discover about your sleep preferences and patterns, it’ll come in handy when you come to choose a new mattress. Knowing your preferred sleep position and being aware of your personal support needs is essential when investing in a new sleep solution.
5. Keep tabs on your individual sleep needs
If you find that you’re too hot or too cold at night, note it in your journal. And if your sleep is being affected by allergy symptoms, note that too. In fact, you should write down anything and everything you feel could be impacting your sleep as the more you know, the more you can understand. And the more you understand, the more success you’ll have in securing a better night’s sleep.
What to include in your sleep health journal
Here’s a quick summary of the things we recommend including in your daily sleep diary:
- Your bedtime: This doesn’t mean the exact time you fall asleep. Instead, make a note of when you climb between the sheets with the intention of going to sleep.
- Your wake-up time: Make a note of the time you wake up too. Whether you wake up naturally or use an alarm is something worth journalling too.
- Your sleep quality: Try to jot down how well you feel you slept too. Specifically document whether you awoke feeling rejuvenated or would have preferred to pull the duvet back up for a few more hours.
- How long it took you to fall asleep: This isn’t always easy to know given that in trying to fall asleep, the last thing you should be doing is clock-watching. But, a good guesstimate can help you understand how falling asleep faster impacts your overall sleep quality and vice-versa.
- Any interruptions: Document any sleep disruptions you suffer during the night. What was it that disturbed you? Also, make a note of how long it takes you to fall asleep again (roughly of course).
- Naps: Those power naps during the day, plus any half an hour snoozes after your alarm rings are good to know about too.
- Your mood in general: If you’re feeling particularly stressed out, it could be that that’s impacting your sleep quality. It’s good to know how much your mood plays a part in your personal sleep cycle too.
- Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol intake: These three substances have the potential to impact the quality of your sleep. So, keeping a note of your consumption of them is wise.
- What food you’ve eaten: Foods that are harder to digest can interrupt your sleep. But, different foods affect different people in different ways. So, keeping a record of what you eat might help you learn more about your personal dietary-sleep links.
- Any exercise completed: If exercise helps you to sleep better, it would be good about it. Track the correlations of how exercise effects your sleep in your journal.
- Medication taken: The medications you consume throughout the day could have an impact on how well you sleep too. So, where your medicine is prescribed or over the counter, note it in your sleep journal.
Remember, the more you record, the more you can learn about your sleep habits and how to improve them.
We hope these reasons we should all be keeping a sleep-journal on a daily basis from Bensons for Beds have convinced you to consider keeping one of your own. Plus, the Bensons crew have even included a list of the top things to jot down in it too. To discover Bensons for Beds amazing range of better sleep solutions, be sure to visit their website here.
Keeping a sleep journal is a good idea for everyone. It helps you track your sleep health and any correlation between your waking life and sleeping one too. Unlock a better sleep hygiene routine by starting your sleep journaling journey today.