How to Make a Baby Sleep Diary?

Before you begin working on your baby's sleep strategy, you should first determine whether or not he or she has any sleep problems. A sleep diary (also called a sleep log) can answer this question. It will give you a clear picture of your child's current sleep pattern.

Why do you need a baby sleep diary?

A baby sleep diary is important in many ways:

  • It can help you monitor how much sleep your baby gets in general. The sleep diary will answer an important question - does your baby get enough sleep or is sleep-deprived?
  • You will be able to understand how your baby’s sleep is divided into daytime naps and nighttime sleep. This can help you identify if there are any problems or irregularities.
  • A baby sleep diary can help you notice emerging sleep patterns fast. You can spot early signs of tiredness and put your baby to sleep. Instead of letting him become overtired. Why? Because an overtired baby is irritable and very hard to soothe to sleep.  
  • If your child has sleep issues, you will be able to identify all the patterns related to them. This will help you find the right solution. 

You can understand better the duration of your baby’s naps. Which ones are shorter or longer? And, the time your baby usually wakes up at night.   

Note that the number of hours your baby sleeps in a day remains relatively constant each day. However, your child can move his nighttime sleep to daytime and vice versa. 

For example - say, your 11-month-old daughter sleeps for 14 hours every day. Out of this, she has 2 naps, each about 1 hour. In this case, your baby probably sleeps 12 hours at night. But, if your baby naps for longer, his nighttime sleep duration will likely reduce.

How To Create a Sleep Diary?

Creating a sleep diary is simple and easy. It requires you to keep track of different aspects of your baby’s sleep:

  • The time your baby wakes up in the morning
  • Your baby’s bedtime and how much time it takes your child to fall asleep
  • The time you put your baby down for naps
  • How much time it takes your child to fall asleep for a nap and the duration of the nap
  • The mood in which your baby woke up. Was he happy, sad, or crying? 
  • The time(s) your baby wakes up at night

This may sound complicated at first but it is really simple. In the end of this blog post I will provide you with an example - there is a table that you simply need to fill and it will guide you through this whole process.

You will need to record the above for about 5-7 days. After a week, you will start seeing all the patterns in your baby’s sleep. This will lead you to the right solutions to your baby’s sleep problems.  

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to create a baby sleep diary:

1. Start by deciding on the date you can begin. Be consistent in keeping track of your baby’s sleep. 

2. Next, record the following;

  • The time your little one got up in the morning
  • The mood in which your baby woke up. Whether happy, sad, or irritable

3. Then, note down every information regarding your child’s nap (all naps). For the naps, you have to record: 

    • The time your child fell asleep
    • The place he fell asleep in
    • The time it took him to fall asleep  
    • Your baby’s mood when he woke up
    • Duration of his nap

    Why should you record everything about your baby’s naps?

    Daytime naps greatly affect nighttime sleep. For this reason, recording the information may better help you understand your child’s sleep patterns. This can help you solve his sleep issues by making the necessary changes to his sleep routines.

    4. Note down the time you lie your baby down for nighttime sleep. Then record:

    • The time it took your child to fall asleep 
    • The time he fell asleep

    5. Record all your child’s night waking for the night.

    How can you go about this? 

    To make night tracking easier, put everything ready when going to bed. Place the (tracking) piece of paper and a pen close to your bed - like, on a nightstand. Make sure you also have a watch nearby. Or your wall clock is somewhere you can clearly see from your bed. Then record:

    • Every time that your child wakes up
    • How he wakes you up – whether by crying, laughing, or just moving around
    • All activities you do to soothe your baby when he wakes up. Like nursing him, changing his diaper, rocking him, etc. 
    • How much time approximately your baby stayed awake. Another option is to simply record the time he returned to sleep.

    Free Templates (Google Sheets) - Sleep Diary Templates

    Sleep log example - 4 Naps sleep-wake rhythm

    Sleep log template & calculator - 1 Nap sleep schedule

    Sleep log template & calculator - 2 Naps sleep schedule

    Sleep log template & calculator - 3 Naps sleep-wake rhythm

    Sleep log template & calculator - 4 Naps sleep-wake rhythm


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