What is a Sleep Diary?

A sleep diary is a daily record of your sleep habits. Often also known as a ‘sleep log’ or a ‘sleep journal’, they are popular among parents hoping to get their children into a routine or adults who feel fatigued.

Over a period of time, a diary is used to evaluate a person’s sleep and identify any recurring bad habits or interruptions, helping to diagnose a sleep disorder.

What should a sleep diary include?

There are many different formats a sleep diary can take. However, most will simply be a notebook where the following details are noted down following each sleep:

  • Bedtime 
  • Wake-up time 
  • How long it took to fall asleep (roughly) or if you have a smart watch this can track your hours
  • Number of sleep interruptions, and the period if prolonged 
  • Number of daytime naps (if any) 
  • Medication, exercise and any caffeine taken

Are There Sleep Diary Apps?

If you think you may forget to fill out a sleep diary daily, downloading a sleep app could help – especially if your phone is permanently attached to your hip. There are many different free and paid sleep diary apps that can help monitor your snooze time, REM sleep cycles and provide tips for improving rest quality. Some of the most popular include:

Sleep As Android

This is primarily an intelligent alarm clock app that helps wake you gently in the morning. However, it also has decent sleep cycle tracking capabilities and is compatible with wearable tracking devices such as Galaxy Watches and Fitbits.

It can score your sleep on duration, deficit, deep sleep percentage, snoring, efficiency and irregularity. Should you want to, you can even record your sleep talking using the app.

Sleep Time

This is a sleep analysis app and an alarm clock in one. It tracks your sleep cycle and quality, measures your resting heart rate when you wake up, and provides soothing soundscapes, to name a few features.

Pillow

An Apple app that can sync up with your Apple Watch, Pillow is a smart sleep assistant and will automatically analyse your sleep cycles. 

Like the other apps on this list, it has audio recording technology and alarm options. It can also suggest an optimal bedtime based on your recorded data, show your sleep trends, and allows you to add notes should you want to track the influence of food, drink, medication or exercise on your quality and length of sleep.