Next to a nutritious diet and a consistent exercise routine, sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, it’s often the most overlooked. If feeling drowsy is your default, you may want to consider using a sleep diary. Not a dream journal, a sleep diary allows you to track when you go to bed and wake up, caffeine and alcohol consumption, exercise, and other factors that can impact your quality of sleep.
Whether you’re troubleshooting your sleep issues or even looking to track any improvements after starting CPAP therapy, here are a few of the surprising benefits of keeping a sleep diary.
You'll Be More Mindful of Your Sleep
Whether you’re having trouble sleeping or not, a sleep diary can take the guesswork out of understanding your sleep patterns. Most sleep diaries allow you to note the time you went to bed, how long it took you to get to sleep, how many times you got up during the night, and when you work up in the morning. Before you start your day, count how many hours you slept and note how you felt about your quality of sleep.
As interesting as the data you track is, all of it serves a more practical purpose. If you see that you’re not getting enough rest because you go to bed late or that you sleep better at night after you exercise, this gives you the information you need to adjust your daily routine. And if you suspect you have sleep apnea, this will also give you a clear picture of how you’re sleeping. Logging your sleep habits is a great first step to getting better rest. After all, knowledge is power.
You'll Have a Better Idea of What Affects Your Sleep
Morning runs, afternoon coffees, and sips of your favorite kind of alcoholic beverage. These things may seem routine, but each may be impacting your sleep in ways that you don’t expect. For example, it can take up to six hours for half of the amount of caffeine you’d get from a latte or a soda to leave your bloodstream, which can have an impact on your ability to fall asleep. Alcohol can also worsen your quality of sleep, even causing sleep apnea events in people who otherwise don’t have it.
Your daily habits can impact your sleep in surprising ways, and the only way you can figure out how is by keeping a diary.
You Won't Worry About If You're Getting Enough Rest
It’s easy to fixate on your quality of sleep, especially if you feel like you aren’t getting enough of it. The best way to ease your concerns is to fill out a sleep diary. Not only will you know how much sleep you’re getting, but after a week or two you’ll have the information you need to improve your nightly routine. Whether you need to go to bed earlier, get more exercise (or work out earlier in the day), or cut your alcohol intake, you’ll be well on your way to better sleep with a diary.
A Diary Can Be a Valuable Resource for Your Doctors
Although anyone can get a lot out of using a sleep diary, they are particularly helpful for doctors. If you are being evaluated for a sleep disorder, your health care provider may ask you to fill one out. Having an accounting of how much you’re sleeping, and how well, will go a long way toward you getting the treatment that you need. A sleep diary is only part of the picture, however. If you are being evaluated for a sleep disorder, you may also take a sleep study, which provides even greater insight into your breathing, snoring, and heart rhythms.
It's Easier to Track Improvement in Your Sleep After Starting CPAP Therapy
From lower blood pressure and improved weight loss to a greater sense of well-being, there is a multitude of life-changing health benefits of using a CPAP machine. Whether you’ve just started CPAP therapy or you’re curious about how you’re sleeping now that you’re using your device, a sleep diary is a great way to quantify where you’re at today. For all the ways a CPAP machine can help you get better rest, what you do during the day can still impact your sleep. Understanding what interferes with your sleep can go a long way toward becoming a happier, healthier you.
Looking for a CPAP machine, mask, or other supplies to treat your sleep apnea? Hiro Health offers the most advanced devices on the market, as well as all the accessories you need to get the rest you deserve. Browse our selection here.