Do you find yourself having trouble falling asleep often?  One of the best ways to gauge what may be causing sleep disturbances is by keeping a sleep diary.  This can help you identify any patterns or abnormalities in your sleep.  You will also be able to determine if it is a lifestyle or diet aspect that is contributing to your sleep issues.  If you can identify a pattern, then you may be on the road to a more restful night's sleep.

However, before you start your sleep diary, there are some things you will need to know first.  Below are some helpful guidelines for writing an effective sleep diary:

Time:  This is a vital aspect to your sleep journal.  This will document the time you actually slept, as well as the times you woke up throughout the night.  This should also consist of the length of time it took you to fall asleep and how long you napped throughout day, if you did.  Capturing this information will help determine if you are getting enough sleep, and more importantly see if you are consistently going to bed at the same time every night.  This may dictate whether or not a more consistent bedtime is warranted, and perhaps a change in lifestyle.

Diet:  Tracking your diet is a very important facet of the sleep diary.  Being able to track when and what you last ate before you went to will point out if you are eating foods that are preventing you from getting the quality of sleep you need.  You should also include any medication you are taking and the times of which they are being taken.  Based on your sleep diary a medical consultation may be warranted to discuss alternate medications, which will not affect your sleep.

How Refreshed You Feel:  In the morning do you awaken feeling exhilarated and refreshed, like you never fell asleep, or somewhere in the middle?  You will want to chart this on a scale from 0 - 10, 0 feeling the least rested and 10 feeling refreshed.  You will want to watch this pattern to see if your numbers stay consistent or if you can see a gradual increase towards 10.  To help achieve a better nights rest, you will want to check out our Ten Tips To Getting A Great Night's Rest.  If you do not start to see improvement, seeking professional help would be advised.  From there they would want to perform a sleep study to narrow down the cause of your sleepless nights.