Benefits of Using a Sleep Journal
Whether it’s not getting enough sleep, getting poor-quality sleep, or issues falling asleep, we’re undeniably a sleep-challenged nation.
While you might have heard the classic tips for promoting better sleep habits, like avoiding eating late at night, turning off your screens, and developing a nighttime routine, you’re probably not familiar with a tool commonly used by sleep science coaches and experts: a sleep journal. Just as it sounds, a sleep journal is a sleep log of your sleep-related behaviors and patterns.
What goes in your sleep journal?
A sleep journal is similar to a nutrition log. You can create it in a spreadsheet or find one to download on the internet.
The goal of a sleep journal is to keep track of various elements to help you pinpoint exactly what might be affecting your sleep. It will also allow you to track changes over time.
Fill it in each day. After a few weeks, you can look for patterns in your sleep.
During the day, keep track of the following:
- What time did you wake up today?
- How many total hours did you sleep?
- How rested did you feel when you woke up? (Try using a scale of 1 to 5)
- Did you exercise today? When?
- Did you nap during the day? When?
- Did you consume any alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine? When? How much?
- Did you take any other medications or drugs in the evening? When? What type?
- What time did you eat?
And at night, keep track of the following:
- What time did you go to sleep?
- How long did it take to fall asleep?
- How many times did you wake up during the night?
- What caused you to wake up during the night?
Better Sleep Strategies
As you continue to keep a record of your sleep patterns, there are concrete things you can do to potentially improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.
1. Drink Tea: Herbal tea can help you relax before bedtime.
2. Read a Book: Meander your way through a favorite book to help power down from a hectic day.
3. Put Away Your iPad: The blue light from tech devices tricks your mind into thinking it’s the day, so turn off gadgets 30 minutes before you need to go to sleep.
4. Have a Snack: Honey, nuts, and dairy all have something in common: they contain compounds that may induce sleep.
5. Stretch it Out: Stretching relieves aches, but it can also calm you and prep you for sleep.
6. Meditate: Clearing your mind allows you to drift off to sleep.
7. Hide the Light: If your room is not dark, you will not secrete enough melatonin to get a restful sleep. You should also dim the lights in your house 2 hours prior to sleep to start the hormonal transitions needed for quality sleep. Electronics, alarm clock, street lamps — all of these can prevent deep sleep. Cover up anything that is contributing to light pollution.
8. Take a Warm Shower: A warm bath or shower can soothe muscles’ it’s also great if you’re suffering from a cold or allergies.
9. Exercise: Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.
10. Eat an Earlier Dinner: Going to sleep with a full stomach can make lying down uncomfortable. Go with an earlier, lighter dinner.
11. Sooth with Smell: Lavender and tea tree oil are soothing scents; add a few drops of these essential oils to your shoots.
12. De-stress: Worrying keeps you up; learn to take time to de-stress—both during the day and before bed— to clear your mind.
13. Put Away the Wine: Nightcaps often lead to restless nights.
14. Find the Right Temperature: The best temperature for helping you get proper sleep is between 65 and 72 degrees.
15. Do Yoga: Besides the stress-releasing stretch, yoga helps relax the mind before bed.
16. Avoid Napping: Restless sleep makes you want to nap during the day, but it may be just what’s keeping you from catching your night Z’s. Naps decrease the ‘Sleep Debt’ that is so necessary for easy sleep onset. Each of us needs a certain amount of sleep per 24-hour period. We need that amount, and we don’t need more than that. When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night – which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep and may lead to insomnia. Some recent data shows that if you nap, it should be less than 7 minutes.
17. Invest in a Better Mattress: If you’re waking up with aches and pains, then your mattress may be the thing that is keeping you from much-needed rest.
18. Skip The Afternoon Coffee Break: Caffeine affects people differently, but if tossing and turning correlates to your afternoon coffee run, now is the time to give it the boot.
19. Try a Natural Remedy: Many people utilize supplements like melatonin for helloing the get to sleep naturally.
20. Have a Routine: Taking time to wind down in the night can help you prep your body and mind for a good night’s sleep. Pick a few items from this list to create a pre-bedtime routine.
How You Can Help
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgment, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.