Why keep a sleep log?

Keeping a sleep log or journal is very important for a number of reasons.  One of the most important is helping to determine your optimal sleep schedule.

A typical log might include these items:

1. Time I went to bed.
2. Time I turned the lights off. (Sometimes different from #1 if you watch TV or read in bed).
3. How many times I was awakened in the night.
4. The approximate duration of each awakening.
5. Time I awoke in the morning.
6. Time I got out of bed in the morning (most people lie in bed, sometimes for quite awhile, before getting up).

There’s more, but this gives you a basic idea of what’s involved.

Getting a handle on how much time you allow for sleep and how much time you actually spend sleeping helps you determine your sleep efficiency, a key number in objectively measuring your sleep.

Normal sleepers average something like 85% sleep efficiency, meaning they are awake about 15% of the time in bed. Insomniacs, despite the widespread but often inaccurate perception of barely sleeping a wink, generally are asleep around 60% of their time in bed.  Good sleepers average up around 90% efficiency, so even they spend some time awake in bed.

Keeping a log is an essential step in helping to determine your best sleep timing.  By making progressive adjustments to bed time and wake-up time over a period of several weeks, you can discover what specific schedule works best for your own unique situation.  Having a disciplined, consistent sleep schedule is one of the single best things you can do to help yourself consistently sleep well.

Keeping a sleep log is also a part, a key part but just one part, of a comprehensive CBT-based sleep improvement program like the Sleep Training System (STS).  The STS, like most good CBT-based programs, also has components that address such issues as stress management, restructuring of negative sleep thoughts, and control of anxiety.

All of these CBT components work synergistically together to help produce better sleep, reliably and safely.  It would be a mistake for most people to think they could start just a sleep log and that would be enough to achieve better sleep.  Most people probably need a comprehensive approach such as the STS that apply all of these proven methods in one unified plan to overcome insomnia.

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Insomnia, sleep

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2 Comments on “Why keep a sleep log?”


  1. […] criteria we suggest for determining optimal sleep duration are largely your sleep efficiency, which the sleep logs help you calculate, combined with how alert you feel, your mood, and how well […]


  2. […] a consistent sleep-wake schedule that provides no more time in bed that you need.  Using a daily sleep log will help you both determine and customize your sleep schedule to best fit your personal […]


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