Anyone ever kept a sleep log or diary? Any suggestions for what I should include?

Hey guys. So, I’m finally fed up with the level of stressful dreams I’ve been having pretty much all my life but even more so lately, waking up several times throughout the night, having physically painful dreams, visually violent and graphic dreams, etc. I am going to talk to my doctor about it when I get off the boat but that won’t be for a few weeks. I am starting a sleep log where I document my sleep each night. So far, here’s what I’ve thought of to document:

Time Laying Awake In Bed (minutes), Time Slept (hours), Sleeping Aide Used?, # of times waking up during the night, Level of physical pain, Level of frightening visuals, Level of fear experienced, Level of overall stress, and Level of sexuality.

That data is stored in a spreadsheet that can easily be sorted, averaged, or whatevered. The “Levels of…” are just on a scale of 1-10, subjective.

I am also keeping a log of actual descriptions of my dreams as best I can remember them after waking up. So far, the dream diary itself is already 3 1/4 pages long and that’s only after 3 nights of sleep! I usually have multiple dreams per night that I can remember, so I’m just writing it all down, and keeping the data separate under each night of sleep.

So, is this actually going to be useful for a sleep specialist, counselor or doctor who might be able to help me? If it is useful, do you have any recommendations on what I should be documenting and quantifying? Obviously a lot of this is just my best guess based on memories, so when I am writing down the number of times I woke up in the night, number of hours I slept or minutes I laid in bed before falling asleep, those are just estimates.

Any tips anyone has at all for getting rid of stressful dreams, sleeping more soundly, not waking up throughout the night, falling asleep reasonably quickly, etc. I am familiar with most of the advice and try to adhere to it: exercise early in the day & not right before sleeping(I do), eat well (I try not to eat much junk food), read in bed if you can’t fall asleep (I do), etc.

I use the app Sleep Cycle to monitor my sleep. Although not always accurate it keeps a record that I can show the various people I see for my sleeping disorder. It has a function where you can select pre-sleep options, which I have things like: type/amount of sleep drug I’ve taken, mood, type of day (busy/lazy), amount of exercise done during the day, coffee/tea/alcohol … it asks you how you feel when you wake up (happy, neutral, sad) … I then add in a notebook to document where it doesn’t match up to my sleep (so it will miss a very quick wake up toilet break etc!) and to record my sleep issues (I have hypnagogic hallucinations)

I’ve found it really useful to monitor time in bed, number of times I awake, how much actual sleep time I’ve had. I can print off a number of days with the notes I’ve taken and take them to appointments.

I recently bought a Body Media armband and have been using it to track my sleep. It’s surprisingly precise about the time standing up, lying down and actually sleeping. What I have been surprised about is that when it feels like I’m awake for ever after waking up in the middle of the night it’s actually not long at all completely awake. It’s more often a long cycle of wake/sleep/wake/sleep. Still not ideal but not as horrible as I always felt it was.

Thanks for the suggestions on the technology solutions you two. I might look into those things myself :slight_smile:

I came in here to mention the Fitbit One (
It’s a pedometer that can measure steps, but also determine if you’ve gone up and down stairs, and more. It comes with a wrist band to wear when you’re sleeping; and it monitors your sleep. I’ve only used it for a couple of days; so I don’t think it monitors it except it detects movements. All non movements are ‘sleeping’ time; But I quickly found out I was turning and tossing 12 to 15 times a night. It also marks when you got in bed, when you fell asleep, etc. It’s around $99.00