Why are you sleeping badly? A step-by-step guide to tracking your sleep and figuring out what might be the problem.
If you've read our posts on sleep trackers and sleep journals, you probably know the truth about using data to getting better sleep: it's more than just a numbers game. So what's the best way to use these strategies together to improve your sleep life? Good news: we've gotten it down to a science for you.
It's more than just a numbers game. So what's the best way to use these strategies together to improve your sleep life?
How to Diagnose Sleep Issues in 5 Steps
1. Dedicate two weeks to collecting data. Ideally use a combination of sleep tracker (wearable or phone sleep app) and sleep journal.
2. Download/save your sleep data every morning - but DON'T look at your numbers! This data isn't highly accurate, but over a couple weeks it can paint a picture of how you're sleeping in general.
3. Spend 5 minutes every morning and evening filling out your sleep journal (either by printing & using the ones below, or making your own)
4. After two weeks, sit down with your tracker data & sleep journal, and look for patterns. Was your sleep the same every night? If you had nights of worse sleep, what was the problem - falling asleep? Staying asleep? Uncomfortable sleep? Can you find any reason in your sleep journal that this might be the case?
5. Write down a list of possible reasons you might be having nights of poor sleep. General anxiety? Caffeine too late in the day? Not enough activity/exercise to get tired? Chronic pain? The more you know about WHY you're sleeping badly, the better chance you have of fixing it. Use this list to make some immediate changes (ie. Stop drinking caffeine/napping after 2pm); Google tips and tricks; or, for more strategic help, take to your doctor or therapist and discuss possible solutions.