A sleep diary or sleep log is a record of an individual's sleeping and waking times with related information, usually over a period of several weeks. It is self-reported or can be recorded by a care-giver.
The sleep diary, or sleep log, is a tool used by doctors and patients. It is a useful resource in the diagnosis and treatment of especially circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and in monitoring whether treatment of those and other sleep disorders is successful.
In addition to being a useful tool for medical professionals in the diagnosis of sleep problems, a sleep diary can help make individuals more aware of the parameters affecting their sleep. This data alone can help people self-diagnose what helps them get a good sleep.
The information contained in a sleep diary includes some or all of the following points:
- The time the person had wanted or intended to wake up
- The time the person woke up
- Whether the person woke up spontaneously, by an alarm clock, or because of another (specified) disturbance
- The time the person got out of bed
- A few words about how the person felt during the day (mood, drowsiness, etc.), often on a scale from 1 to 5 and the major cause
- The start and end times of any daytime naps and exercises
- The name, dosage and time of any drugs used including medication, sleep aids, caffeine and alcohol
- The time and type/ heaviness of evening meal
- Activities the last hour before bedtime, such as meditation, watching TV, playing PC-games
- Stress level before bedtime, often on a scale from 1 to 5 and the major cause
- The time the person tried to fall asleep
- The time the person thinks sleep onset occurred
- Activity during aforementioned two moments (remaining eyes closed, meditating, ...)
- The presumed cause, number, time, and length of any nighttime awakenings and activities during these moments
- Quality of sleep
- Level of comfortableness of any recalled good or bad dreams
Sleep logs are often hand-drawn on graph paper, as a rule one week per page. Specialized software for creating sleep logs is also available; a spreadsheet or database software can also be used.