Sleep Diaries in Children:
Sleep diaries can be very helpful to understand the patterns of a child’s sleep. The use of a sleep diary is as much for the doctor as for the parent. Sleep diaries are also sometimes called sleep logs or sleep journals.
Most sleep diaries include basic information about the sleep period. They can often be constructed so that they are easy enough for older children and adolescents to use independently. Typically, a diary will show the days of the week, and for each day of the week, the 24 hours of the day are marked horizontally.
On this template, the child or parent will mark what time the child goes to bed and gets up each day. In addition, any time that is spent asleep is shaded in. This may include the long sleep period that occurs overnight, as well as any naps during the day. In addition, other nighttime events may be recorded, including:
It can also sometimes be helpful to record daytime activities to better understand their effects on sleep. The type and timing of medication use may be documented. Evening activities, such as involvement in sports or late meals, can be noted. Anything else that may be expected to impact sleep can likewise be recorded on these sleep diaries.
Sleep diaries are typically used over several weeks to get a good sense of the sleep patterns and habits that are occurring. They may help identify problems such as sleep deprivation, inadequate sleep hygiene, or patterns that suggest a circadian rhythm disorder.
Learn more about sleep studies in children.
Durmer, JS and Chervin, RD. "Pediatric sleep medicine." Continuum. Neurol 2007;13(3):153-200.