xxiv. A sleep diary

22 December 2005 at 02:03 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | Leave a comment
Whether or not you’re going to go looking for a sleep specialist, you might want to document your sleep patterns.  You can, for example, do it for a month, take a couple of months off and then do it again.  It can be worthwhile to know how things are, rather than vaguely to believe.. ..sort of.. ..more or less.. ..as I recall… 
I’ve used a couple of schemes and there are certainly others.  Here’s the one I’m using now.  Vertically, nighttime (or your own sleep-time) is in the middle.  Horizontally, the weekend is in the middle.  This layout seems to make patterns easier to spot. 
Down the left you write what you want to keep track of, using as many lines as you need.  Here’s a suggestion:
  • Functioning & mood today
  • Nap(s) today (x o’clock to x o’clock)
  •  Evening medication(s)
  • Went to bed at x o’clock
  • Slept after about x minutes in bed.


  • Wake period(s) during the night (x o’clock to x o’clock)
  • Awakened finally by: (alarm, ‘phone, noise, spontaneously…)
  • Awoke at x o’clock
  • Got up at x o’clock
  • Quality of sleep
  • Morning medication(s)
  • First bright light exposure from x o’clock
  • Remarks   


One could add, for example, exercise, caffeine consumption, arguments with spouse or whatever else seems relevant.  One should be able to calculate time-in-bed asleep and time-in-bed not asleep. 

Highlight the times of spontaneous awakening after at least 7 hours of sleep, as these can give an indication of your circadian rhythm(s).


Next:  xxv. Live with it?


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