Trouble falling asleep? Do you find yourself sleepy all day but is unable to sleep at night? Does the sleep you get feel un-restorative? Do you depend on caffeine to stay awake in the morning? If you no longer feel well rested in the morning despite getting enough sleep, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. If you suspect that you are suffering from a sleep disorder then it’s important to consult your doctor to discover the root cause of the problem.
Talking to a sleep specialist is a positive step towards overcoming your difficulties with sleep. And it’s likely that your doctor will ask you to keep a sleep diary for at least two weeks.
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What is a Sleep Diary?
A sleep diary is a daily log of your sleeping habits. From here, your doctor can check for symptoms and signs to make a proper diagnosis. Through your daily accounts, your doctor can also determine if a sleep study is needed.
Over the course of 2 weeks, you will record the following information:
- Your bedtime
- Amount of time it took for you to fall asleep
- The time you wake up every morning
- Number of times you woke up during the night
- How refreshing the overall sleep was
- Issues that caused you to wake up in the night
- Caffeinated drinks you consumed in the day
- Amount of alcoholic beverages you consumed in the day
- Drugs you took during the day
- Time you spent working out
- Activities you performed an hour before bedtime
The key to an accurate sleep diary is to provide detailed information. Stay committed to logging information on your sleep diary because every information you write is vital to your treatment and recovery. If you are unsure what other information you should include in your daily updates, you can always download a sleep diary online.
Benefits of Keeping a Sleep Diary
Learn Your Own Habits and Sleep Patterns
By being diligent in updating your sleep diary, you’ll learn certain habits that are upsetting your nighttime rest. You’ll also discover your sleep pattern and find ways to change your lifestyle to prevent sleep deprivation. Updating your sleep diary every single day seems daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, writing your day becomes less difficult.
Learn to be Proactive
Instead of waiting for your condition to worsen, keeping a sleep diary will nudge you to the right direction to improve your overall health and well-being. For instance, if you found out that your love for sports drinks is aggravating your condition, you’re more likely to reduce your caffeine intake to enjoy better sleep at night. Being proactive will be instrumental to your recovery.
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The main reason why you’re keeping a sleep diary is to help your doctor make a proper diagnosis. The fact is, misdiagnosis is common especially for conditions related to sleep. This is the reason why some women who have sleep apnea are wrongly treated for insomnia. Why? Most doctors have a preconceived notion of what a typical sleep apnea patient looks like: overweight, middle-aged male with a thick neck. Female sleep apnea patients are prone to misdiagnosis because they don’t look like your typical sleep apnea patient.
Track Your Progress
Dutifully updating your sleep diary before, during and after treatment helps track your progress. You’ll discover if a certain treatment is helping or if it’s ineffective. Keeping a sleep diary takes the guesswork out of finding out if you are getting better. And if you’re not seeing positive results, you’ll waste less time (and money) on treatments that don’t work.