Have your sleep patterns changed recently? Or maybe you’re just someone who “sucks at sleeping“? Then it may be time for a sleep audit. When you do a sleep audit, you’re conducting a step-by-step systematic review of your sleep habits, and that can include a lot of factors. The good thing about a sleep audit is once you do it, it’s a lot easier to isolate the problem and make adjustments.
To do a sleep audit, you’ll need to grab a notebook or a journal, and put on your data analysis hat. Yes, it’s going to take a bit of time, but like I said above, it’s a process that you should only have to do once in order to figure out the issue. After you have your notebook, split up your page into the following sections:
Your personal habits have a huge impact on your overall sleep quality. Before you go to sleep, list out everything you’ve done that day and evening that could affect your sleep.
- How much caffeine did you consume? At what time?
- Did you work out today? What kind? How long?
- What did you eat? At what time?
- Are you on any medications?
- How much alcohol have you consumed?
- How was your stress level today?
- What time did you stop working for the day?
- Did anything positive or negative impact your relationships today?
- What time did you put your phone down for the last time?
- What did you do to fall asleep? Read/watch TV/etc.
Getting an overall picture of how you spent your day and how it impacted you physically and mentally will help you pinpoint any recurring patterns that might be messing with your sleep. For example, if you notice you sleep better on nights you meditate as opposed to read, make note of it.
- How does your mattress feel?
- Are your pillows lumpy or saggy? Do you have enough pillows or too many?
- What is the temperature of the room?
- What does the room smell like?
- How much light is in your room?
- What noises do you hear?
- Is the room tidy or cluttered?
Temperature and light play a massive role in the quality of our sleep. Creating the ideal sleep environment will help you get a higher overall quality of rest. Pay attention to how many times you wake up throughout the night and why. Are you feeling overheated? Does your neck hurt from a saggy pillow? It’s easy to ignore these things in a half-awake state, but reflecting on them will help you really figure out what’s causing your crappy sleep.
This is where you have to unleash your inner data nerd. Perform your sleep audit for a minimum of seven nights, longer if you can or if you have any abnormalities like a late night out.
- Review your recurring habits and routines. Make note of any common themes.
- Identify which habits could be potentially harming your sleep.
- Identify any habits in which you noticed you had better sleep when you incorporated them into your routine.
Identifying environmental factors
- Review your notes on your bedroom’s environment. Make note of any common themes.
- Identify which elements could be potentially harming your sleep.
- Identify any elements in which you noticed you had better sleep when these were in place.
If there are any habits or environmental factors that jump out at you as the culprit, start there. Eliminate or change those patterns first. It’s important to work in small steps here. If you try and change everything on your audit at once, you’ll have a much harder time identifying what is truly causing your bad sleep. But start with the most likely culprit and work from there. If you go a couple nights and don’t notice any change, move on to the next one. Like I said, it’s a process, but it’s one you’ll be so glad you did!