How much sleep are you getting?

Find out! I’ll show you a simple way to keep track. Before you gear up to strengthen your will-power and adopt better habits for epic sleep, notice and record how much sleep you are getting now. Good to know where you are before you consider your next steps. Also, in the future, it might be satisfying to look back at where you started.

Here’s a quick way to summarize your hours slept day by day. A quick mark on your calendar every morning will give you a bold visual of adequate sleep nights versus inadequate sleep nights. It will take more time to explain how to do it than it will for you to do it!

Part I. Gathering the data

Track your sleep by noting the following 4 things. Perhaps keep a pencil and paper on your night stand for the notes.

I was in bed at ___:_____
I feel asleep about ___:___
During the night I was awake about _______ minutes/hours
I woke up for the day at ____:____
I got out of bed at ____:___ (I only recommend noting this if it’s more than 15 minutes later than your wake up time.)
I slept for ______ hours. (Count the total hours in bed and subtract your awake time to get your total hours slept. Don’t worry about being perfectly exact with the time. Paying attention to a clock could interfere with sleeping!)

Part II. Charting your total hours slept

How many hours of sleep are likely to give you a fully rested and refreshed feeling? Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night to be operating at their best. Get your number in mind. Below you will use that number to create a marking system to chart your hours slept each night.

For the nuts ’n bolts of this you’ll need a calendar. If you don’t have a physical wall or desk calendar, you can print one at http://print-a-calendar.com. You’ll also need a green pen and a yellow pen or marker and a black pen or pencil.

Here’s what you do with the number of hours you slept.

Make a big green dot on todays date on your calendar, if you slept your desired number of hours. (If I sleep more than desired, I write that number next to the green dot)
Make a yellow plus sign on the date, if your sleep was an hour or so less than your desired number.
Make a minus mark with a black pen or a pencil if your number of hours slept was significantly lacking. As an example: For me anything less than 6 hours gets a minus mark with the pencil.

Counting “Green Dot” sleep days is a breeze. The green color “pops” especially well on a white paper calendar. Maybe you’ll want to chart your sleep for ongoing feedback. Comparing weeks or months. Seeing your progress is easy with this system. What we’re looking for is more green! Aim for your goal. Let anything other than your goal be out of focus.

Please note: Sometimes sleep studies are exactly what is needed. If you need sophisticated accurate sleep monitoring, see a professional. Sleep is at least as important to our health as diet and exercise. Take healthy steps to get the restful and restorative sleep you need for a vibrant, joyful and productive life. Your doctor or sleep specialist will want to know how many hours you have been sleeping each night, so take your calendar sleep chart with you to your appointment!

Let me know how this charting goes for you. Make a comment below or send me an email. In the next post I’ll be talking about journaling on your relationship with sleep.

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