Sleep Diary Template Helps

Sleep Diary Template Helps

Sleep Diary
Record your sleep data when you go to bed and when you wake up.

In my last blog I included recommendations to answer the question how much sleep do I need? So are you getting enough shut eye?  A simple way to help figure that out is to keep a weekly sleep diary or journal. I’ve included a sleep diary template in PDF below.

Why You Need This Sleep Diary Template

You may remember how well you slept last night, but recalling your sleep patterns from two or three nights ago may be a different matter. The best way to ensure you track your sleep data is to record it in a sleep diary right before bed. Also complete it right after you wake up.

What Should I Keep Track Of?

What time you went to bed and what time you woke up is key, but what you’re trying to get at is how much of that time in bed you actually slept. I typically look at the clock if I’m having a hard time falling asleep, or when I wake up in the middle of the night. Some experts advise you not to have a clock that you can readily see because it can make you feel anxious about NOT being able to sleep. But for the sake of the sleep diary, I’d recommend you have one and record how long it took to get to sleep, how many times you woke up and for how long.

Listing Your Meds is Important

It’s important to note what type of medications you took on any given day or night. Some meds can interfere with sleep, which is something you’d want to bring up with your physician/prescriber. Also note any herbal remedies you’re taking for the same reason. Watch for a future post on medications and sleep.

How Did You Feel?

No need to switch into psychoanalysis mode here. Plain and simple: Did you wake up sleepy, awake but tired or WIDE AWAKE?

What Did You Consume?

You’re probably aware that while alcohol can help you get to sleep, it also can wake you up in the middle of the night. Or, that caffeine can keep you up as well. Even drinking too much water at night can cause you to get up frequently to go to the bathroom. But what you may not have considered is what you ATE.

Interestingly, I didn’t find any sleep diaries online that included a section for “food eaten.”  Perhaps for dinner you had some extra spicy sausage or Thai food, or maybe some very rich French food lathered in butter sauce. In my experience, depending on your gut, these can negatively affect your sleep, especially if you eat dinner too late — especially if it’s a heavy dinner. While it may be normal to eat dinner at 9 p.m. in Spain, in the U.S., eating at 9 and going to bed at 10 or 11 can lead to poor sleep (and weight gain).

What About Chocolate Dessert?

For those of us who love dessert, it may not be a problem … unless you eat a lot of chocolate before bed and are sensitive to caffeine. The amount of caffeine in chocolate varies by the type you eat. White chocolate contains zero caffeine. Dark chocolate can have about 31 mg, which is almost as much caffeine as in a can of Coke, according to an article from That’s still less than the 100 to 200 mg in the average cup of coffee. But it’s something to consider. Did you know Americans consume 9.5 pounds of chocolate per capita annually. That’s still lower than compared to the Brits, who consume 24.7 pounds per capita annually, according to We’ll take a closer look at caffeine content in food in an upcoming post.

What’s Your Activity Level?

Did you sneak in some shut eye during lunch, or after a long day of work did you lie down for a nap? For how long? Or on the other hand, did you exercise? Again, for how long and at what time? You need to record this on your sleep diary template, because activities like naps and exercise could affect how well you sleep at night.

Last But Not Least

It will be very important before going to bed to note in your sleep diary template how you felt that day: Was it a struggle just to make it through the day? Were you just somewhat tired? Were you fairly alert or maybe even wide awake?

What to Do With Your Data

Once you’ve completed your sleep diary template for at least a week, you should see some patterns connecting sleep to your lifestyle choices. It’s also an opportunity to determine whether you show the signs of a sleep disorder.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute advises you consult with your physician if your sleep diary indicates any of the following:

  • It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep each night
  • You consistently awaken more than a few times for long periods of time each night
  • You nap frequently
  • You often feel sleepy or fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day
Sleep Diary Template
Onscreen Sleep Diary Template, above.                                      CLICK LINK BELOW FOR PRINTABLE TEMPLATE


This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

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