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What Is Sleep Diary?

Sleep Diary: what is it, how is it applied, and what are its benefits for sleep medicine?

Everybody has at least one or two episodes of insomnia or some other sleep disorder in their lifetime. It is absolutely natural, especially in times like this, to lose sleep or sleep poorly, perhaps because of anxiety or any other reason. But if you find it difficult to sleep frequently, you are well aware of the harm it does to your health. It is for these people that the Sleep Diary.

But what exactly is a Sleep DiaryWho should use it, how and why? What are its benefits? What types of Sleep Diary are available on the market? Our experts have carefully prepared this article to answer all these questions and eliminate your doubts. Keep reading to learn all about the Sleep Diarya very important tool that helps in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

What are sleep disorders?

No less than a third of the world’s population is affected by obstructive sleep apnea, or simply sleep apnea, according to data from the Sleep Institute published in Sleep Medicine. A very relevant and emblematic fact about this statistic is that between 85% and 90% of those on this list don’t even know it, also according to the medical entity.

In Brazil, specifically, this percentage is frighteningly higher. A survey promoted by the Sleep Institute of São Paulo, with comparative analysis carried out between 2007 and 2017, indicates that the number of Brazilians who are affected by apnea went from 38% to 69% of the population. In turn, the Brazilian Association of Sleep Medicine guarantees that one in three Brazilians suffers from insomnia.

Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are two of the most common sleep disorders, ao lado do sonambulismo, o terror noturno, a narcolepsia, o bruxismo e a síndrome das pernas inquietas. Os distúrbios do sono são doenças que afetam o nosso sono de forma regular, que podem nos trazer sintomas como cansaço, irritação, dificuldade de concentração e sonolência ao longo do dia e podem até caminhar para uma depressão, um acidente vascular cerebral (AVC) ou uma doença cardiovascular.

It is a serious matter, and when the quality of sleep harms the patient’s health, it is necessary to seek a specialist, such as a sleep doctor. Sleep medicine is a relatively new specialty of medicine, which emerged in the 70s and arrived in Brazil almost 20 years later, being recognized in August 2011. To be certified as a sleep doctor, the professional must be a neurologist, an otolaryngologist, a pulmonologist or a psychiatrist.

É para pessoas acometidas por algum distúrbio do sono que foi criado e existe o Sleep Diary.

What is a Sleep Diary?

Each sleep disorder has its own characteristics and symptoms, and it obviously affects people on an individual basis. Insomnia, for example, can make it very difficult for a person to sleep, it can interrupt their sleep in the middle of the night, or it can make them wake up long before the desired time. The consulted specialist will listen to the patient’s report and, often, this will be enough to point out the diagnosis.

O Sleep Diary is a subjective investigation of the quality and pattern of the patient’s sleep, and is considered the “gold standard” in the treatment of various sleep disorders. The patient will report and record all their sleeping habits and times, as well as how their sleep was. It is something very close to a personal diary, very common in adolescence, when we report how our daily life was.

Thus, the Sleep Diary helps people record all their sleep-related activity, which will be filled in day by day, continuously, so that the treating physician has more data to help in the treatment of the diagnosed sleep disorder. Most of the time, the Sleep Diary is used by people suffering from insomnia, but it is also very efficient in the treatment of several sleep disorders.

The ultimate goal of a Sleep Diary is, in fact, to help diagnose and treat a sleep disorder. However, it is through it that it will be possible to identify the severity and frequency of the disorder, acting on the understanding of the cause of the problem, such as routine habits that affect the quality of sleep during rest, a syndrome caused by insufficient sleep or a disorder of the circadian cycle. It is important to point out that the Sleep Diary Sleep Diary puts the physiological response of sleep in relation to the proposed therapeutic interventions in evidence, making it an excellent and accessible tool in non-pharmacological intervention approaches for sleep disorders.

How and where to keep a Sleep Diary?

As it is a personal and non-transferable diary, the Sleep Diary must be written exclusively by the person affected by the sleep disorder. They are the one who knows exactly how their night’s sleep was, and they will be able to report, in detail, everything that happened. There are no exact answers, so there is no hit or miss. The important thing is that the patient fills in all the questions proposed by the Sleep Diary, as detailed and honestly as possible. In other words, the quality of the Sleep Diary is a responsibility of the patient.

If desired, the patient can record all sleep-related daily movement on a paper, filled in manually. In other words, the Diary of Sleep can be produced by the patient in a notebook, for example. There is no problem with that, as long as the doctor has access to the Sleep Diary and can understand what is written there. In this case, organization is critical.

There are, however, several ways for the patient to fill in their Sleep Diary. One of them is in linear format, that is, the patient will write about everything that happened in relation to the previous night’s sleep, in a more or less free way. It’s like writing a chronicle, whose theme is: “how was my night last night”. Obviously, the blocks of time in which sleep took place during that day will be recorded.

O Sleep Diary can also be completed in a spreadsheet format. There are seven columns, one for each day of the week, and a number of lines according to the items you want to investigate. The attending physician will help formulate the items in these lines, such as:

• What time did you go to bed?

• What time did you decide to start sleeping?

• How long did it take to sleep?

• How many times did you wake up during the night?

• How long were you awake at these times throughout the night?

• What time did you wake up?

• What time did you get out of bed?

• How was the quality of your sleep?

• How was the three hours before going to bed?

• What was the time you last ate, and what did you eat?

• General comments.

The treating physician will guide you through their own conversation with you about your sleep habits, symptoms, and problems. Eventually, they will be able to guide you to write about habits such as napping episodes throughout the day, alcohol or drug consumption, caffeine intake, medication and stress level, among others.

Items related to daytime activities in the Sleep Diary

Your treating physician may also ask you to record items related to your day’s activities in your Sleep Diary. The main ones are:

• Degree of tiredness

• Sleepiness episodes

• Difficulty concentrating

• Irritability

• Physical activity (how much and what was done)

• Sexual activities

• Activities performed in the bedroom

• Stress episodes

• Episodes of malaise

• Presence of pain (where, when and intensity)

Sleep Diary app

O Sleep Diary doesn’t just need to be done on a pad of paper or a spreadsheet in your notebook. There are, on the market, applications that offer the Sleep Diary to be filled out, with all the convenience, on your own smartphone. There are several advantages, such as having the data automatically computed, the record of filling time and the ease of writing and accessing your diary.

The Condor Instruments, for example, offers this product,o download grátis de um Sleep Diary for Apple smartphones and Android operating system. The Condor Instruments Sleep Diary da Condor Instruments used as an accessory to the Condor Instruments voltado para profissionais que queiram aplicar TCC-I e outras terapias que necessitem o acompanhamento do sono de seus clientes. Entre as principais funcionalidades, estão: aplicativo com interface simples, controle de acesso realizado pelo profissional e dados enviados automaticamente para o servidor da Condor.

How long will it take to complete the Sleep Diary?

This is a decision your healthcare professional will make. In general, two weeks are enough for them to have enough data to support the diagnosis and guide the treatment to be proposed. But, as we’ve said, the quality of the information is critical. Completing a Sleep Diary is a serious commitment and deserves all your attention, because it is in fact a tool that will help you solve your problem.

The patient cannot forget, for example, to write down all the data for one of the nights. The filling is continuous, as long as this is established by the attending physician. But it must be made clear that the patient must commit, but that does not mean that they need to set an alarm on their bedside table, as well as a pad and pen, and write everything down instantly, in real time. This would interfere even more with an already impaired sleep. Filling in is done the next day, and you don’t need to put in such a precise time.

It is worth remembering that all questions related to the Sleep Diary There is no certain and definitive model, and depending on your problem, it may request more or less days and a more or less complete version. Of course, a more complete Sleep Diary will offer more subsidies, but it will also take more dedication. There are versions of Sleep Diaries that can be used in clinical practice that are validated in different populations through scientific research.

The importance of completing the Sleep Diary

Effectively, the Sleep Diary will offer the treating physician valuable information for the diagnosis and treatment of the sleep disorder that affects the patient. This is its purpose and, in itself, justifies its use. But there are numerous reports of patients who have improved a lot by simply filling out the diary, because this way they were able to become aware of what was happening and began to perceive the problem more objectively.

By completing the Sleep Diary, the patient will be able to become aware and, thus, re-educate themselves, avoiding, for example, the ingestion of caffeine at night or heavy foods before bed. Because of this, many doctors prolong the filling of the diary for more than the two weeks that, initially, would be enough to support the diagnosis and treatment.

The most important thing is that the patient starts to understand how their sleep works. It is about perceiving your sleep-related habits. This, perhaps, is the great advantage of using a Sleep Diary.

It is important to note that the Sleep Diary may complement an exam called actigraphy, which may be requested by the attending physician to analyze all sleep-related data.


The use and completion of the Sleep Diary is absolutely easy and simple, and is available to anyone. If you so wish, all you need to do is focus, goodwill, attention and a few sheets of paper and a pen, but there are free applications on the market that allow you to fill out your diary on your cell phone.

The treatment of sleep disorders, of course, is not such a simple task, and filling out a Sleep Diary can be fundamental and decisive, supporting – and a lot – the assistant physician in finding the diagnosis and proposing treatment. Often, simply filling in helps the patient.

. There is the ideal Sleep Diary: it is the one made in agreement with the attending physician and filled with focus, responsibility and commitment. Sleep Diary melhor do que o outro. Existe o Diário do Sono ideal: é aquele feito em comum acordo com o médico assistente e preenchido com foco, responsabilidade e comprometimento.