How do you know if you are sleeping well? There are a variety of ways to tell if you are getting the amount and the quality of sleep you need. Usually you will know the obvious symptoms such as feeling extremely tired during the day and experience difficulty falling or staying asleep. These are symptoms of not sleeping well. There is an easy way to test if you are sleeping well and it involves keeping a sleep journal.
Your sleep journal doesn’t have to be expensive. Just get a small notebook that allows you to jot down notes easily. It is important that you are truthful with your entries because it may be a tool that you can provide to your physician regarding your sleep difficulties. There is important information that you will want to keep. In order to keep good record of your sleep habits, it’s wise to keep your sleep journal and a pen next to your bed for easy access.
- The time you went to bed.
- The time you woke up.
- What time you woke up in the middle of the night.
- How many times you woke up in the middle of the night.
- Total hours of sleep.
- The time of your last meal before you went to bed.
- Did you consume alcohol or caffeine before bed.
- The time you consumed the alcohol or caffeine.
- The type of medications and the dosage amount before bed.
- Your mood at the moment you are getting into your bed.
- Did you wake up choking, coughing or gasping for air.
- Did you wake up with a headache or other physical symptoms?
- Do you have allergy symptoms?
Keep your sleep journal on a daily basis for about four weeks. Then look back and see if there are similar activities that prevent you from sleeping well. For example, you may notice that on the nights you didn’t sleep well and woke up frequently were the nights you had a glass of wine right before bed. Once you pin point specific habits that are affecting your sleep, change or eliminate them and see if you experience a better night rest. If you find that you are experiencing chronic sleeping problems, contact your doctor immediately and bring your sleep journal with you to your appointment.
Self Assessment Questions
Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to three or more of the questions it is wise to consult with your physician to diagnose sleep problems.
- Do you snore?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Do you hold your breath while sleeping?
- Do you lack energy during the day?
- Are you irritable in the morning or throughout the day?
- Do you experience headaches first thing in the morning?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you wake up gasping for air?
- Do you frequently wake up with a dry mouth?
- Do you have a difficult time falling to sleep?
- Do you have a difficult time remaining alert during the day?
- Do your thoughts prevent you from falling asleep?
- Do you have trouble relaxing?
- Do you worry?
- Do you lie awake for more than thirty minutes before falling asleep?
- Do your muscles go limp when you are emotional?
- Do you fall asleep while diving or at social functions?
- Do you have difficulty staying awake?
- Does your body jerk with movement when you fall asleep?
- Do you experience a sensation of things crawling in your legs?
- Do you experience leg cramps at night?
Answering yes to these questions does not mean you have a serious sleeping condition. It only helps you realize that you are having difficulty sleeping and it will help your doctor diagnose you properly. Sometimes it just means altering your habits and lifestyle. If sleep issues such as sleep apnea are the cause of you not sleeping well, you doctor will provide you with detailed instructions on how to treat it as well as take measures to prevent the condition from becoming increasingly worse.
Sleeping well allows you to maintain good health, stay alert and enjoy your life to the fullest. Everyone deserves a good night sleep and it is up to you to determine if you need to see a doctor about your specific issues. Taking the responsibility to assure you are getting good quality sleep at night will guide you on a journey of living a happier, healthy life.