This is post three in a six week program aimed at curing your insomnia, not just treating it.
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This will turn out to be one of the most important aspects of relearning how to sleep, because it tells you how you’re doing.
We are notoriously poor estimators of our own sleep, and often our thoughts about the night are not accurate at all, but it’s the only place we can start. How we think we slept often drives our behaviour in a weird “self fulfilling” way. If you think you slept poorly – you did. If you think you got a great sleep – you did.
So whether it’s “true” or not, it’s important that we write it down.
Journaling can consist of something as simple as a notepad on your bedside where you comment on the night you’ve just had – maybe nothing more significant than
“3 out of 10″
or you could add a bit more detail
“went to bed at 10pm, didn’t fall asleep till 1am, and slept poorly all night”
Of course we could add a lot more detail to this short report. Use a ruler and add some columns to your notes. Then you could log things like bedtime, time to sleep, number of times awakened, and rise time. It’s also important to add how you feel the next day – are you tired and lethargic, zombie-like for the first hour or so, or mostly OK. Rate the day just like you would rate the night.
If you regularly use a computer, then this whole process logically brings you to use a spreadsheet. That’s what I do. It’s really very simple to log in every morning and spend 30 seconds filling in a spreadsheet. The more variables you want to track, the handier the spreadsheet becomes.
The significance of writing down what you do and how you feel is hard to overstress. You can’t tell where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Without a journal, you’ll have no real indication of what works and what doesn’t with regards to your sleep.
With complicated insomnia (like mine) it will be a combination of things that make sleep better, so defaulting to a spreadsheet at the beginning makes spotting trends that much easier. You’ll probably default to a spreadsheet somewhere along the line here anyway (if you’re able), so to avoid transcribing all your scribbles at the beginning, start the spreadsheet at the get-go.
Take a look at one of my older spreadsheets, and make one of your own with your individual parameters.
Note that if you’re fortunate enough to be using a Zeo Sleep Monitor, they have an online website set up for users that will actually keep a log for you. You log in to the website every morning and report on all the variables. I found it took a bit longer than simply filling in a spreadsheet, but the analysis tools Zeo gives you are first rate.
Step 3 is maintain a journal.
See you in three days with Step Four…