How to Use Your Sleep Diary (PDF)

Well done on sticking with me so far. It’s a lot to take in and we are only in the first session! In the next session, we need to really work on your sleep routine – we don’t know what’s right for you yet, because your current one isn’t working. Therefore we need to get some sleep-diary data from you to assess your routine (especially with these new rules you are going to implement), and create a new one. We then keep assessing your sleep quality by measuring what we call ‘sleep efficiency’. We will keep altering your routine to more favourable ones as long as sleep quality continues to improve – and it will! This will be up to you, and the effort you put in to committing to the course. It’s hard work, and life is going to get in the way. Just remember the sooner you can put all this into action, the sooner your sleep gets back on track. Then, just like a normal sleeper, you won’t have to follow all these rules.

In addition to the automated sleep tracker I explained in the previous video, we also make a paper version available. If for some reason the online version is not suitable for you, you may download the PDF version, and enter your sleep diary on pen and paper.

I strongly advise you to use the automated version if you can though. Mainly because it should be much easier to use and a lot of the work is done for you. Another benefit of this option is that it makes for easier sharing with the team if we ever need to discuss your entries.

There are two rules for filling out your sleep diary:

  1. Don’t try to be too accurate. The only things you will know with any degree of accuracy are what time you went to bed and what time you got up. Everything else is simply your best guess. DO NOT make notes in the night about sleep and DO NOT clock watch!
  2. Only fill in the diary once you have physically climbed out of bed in the morning – not in bed. Make sure you are using the diary and not scribbling other notes. 

Each morning fill in the diary for the night before

Last night I went to bed at: This is the time you got into the bed for the first time within your sleep opportunity – not lights out and not sleep time.

This morning I got up at: This is the time you got out of your bed to start the day – even if you got out of bed earlier, we are talking about the last time you left your bed.

So I was in bed for (minutes): This is easy – just work it out using the above two answers so for example if you went to bed at 23:00 and got up for the last time at 05:00 the answer would be 6 hours in bed (so 360 minutes).

It took me ? minutes to fall asleep: This is your best guess of how long it took you.

I woke ? number of times: This is your best guess of the number of times after your initial sleep onset that you then woke up. You don’t need to worry about the actual time of waking.

During the night I was awake for ? (minutes): This is all the minutes during the above wake times that you were awake for in total – it doesn’t matter if you’re in bed or out of bed. Again, no clock watching: this is your best guess the morning after.

In total I think I slept for ? (minutes): So, add the amount of minutes it took you to fall asleep with the amount of minutes you were awake for after this initial sleep onset, and then take this away from the minutes you spent in bed. This gives you your sleep time.

Other info: Record anything positive/negative impact on your sleep e.g. an argument, a relaxing bath, etc. Record your sleeping pills if taken.

Other fields on the sleep diary: there are total and average total fields on your sleep diary which you can fill out if you would like, but we can go through these together next week.

Once you have filled out your whole diary, you can divide your average total sleep time (column 3) by your average total time in bed (column 7) and multiply by 100 to get your sleep efficiency. We are aiming to get this above 90% by the time you have completed the course. If this sounds too complicated, use the automated sleep diary which will do all this for you ☺