You might find recording what happens each night by using a sleep diary useful.
You can see if any patterns are occurring and this could help to understand what might be causing sleep problems or disruption and, in turn, help to find the right strategy to use to address them.
For children struggling to settle, you might find that recording the ‘goings on’ before bed can help you to establish a bedtime routine. Likewise, or in the case of night waking, you might want to record whether this is the same every night and if something specific is causing it.
A sleep diary might help you to see if your child is getting enough sleep overall (see Sleep Facts) - even if you’re not!
There are lots of templates and ideas for keeping a sleep diary and the links below are a selection of these. However, here are some suggestions for the things you might want to include if you are creating your own sleep diary:
- Time/length of daytime naps
- Time bedtime routine started - Any problems? What did you do?
- Time in bed - Any problems? What did you do?
- Time fell asleep
- Night-time awakenings - What did you do? How long did they last?
- Time woke in the morning
- Total hours sleep.
Have a look at the links below for more sleep help.
This is a booklet about sleep produced as part of the Early Support programme together with Vicky Dawson of The Children's Sleep Charity. Here you will find information about how to develop good sleep practices and on understanding sleep patterns, the impact of sleep deprivation and causes of sleep issues. The information on sleep diaries is on p16.
This information is aimed at families of children with autism and looks at how families can help their child to sleep well. The information applies generally to good habits about sleep.You have to scroll down the page to find a short section on sleep diaries under the title "What Can We Do?"