Thursday, October 06, 2011

How to keep a sleep log

While there is no exact science to sleep training, there are some things you can to do to set yourself up for success in teaching your baby to sleep on their own.
  • Break away from sleep crutches (nix the paci, swaddle, co-sleeping, feeding to sleep, etc...)
  • Stick to age appropriate wake times (see this google doc for recommendations)
  • Consider a bed time routine, and a mini-routine for nap times
  • Avoid naps on the go / skipping naps so baby doesn't get over tired
  • Keep an accurate sleep log
I've discussed them all, but I've never really explained how to keep a good sleep log.

When I started logging G's sleep, I started with a notebook, a black pen, a red pen, & 3 colors of hi-lighters. I used the black pen to record times/make notes, the red pen to calculate wake and sleep totals, and the hi-lighters to color the time G ate, fell asleep, and woke up. I was trying to find patterns for her natural sleep rhythm.
You don't have to be that precise, but it does help to break it all down visually!

Once you get your baby sleep trained...logging sleep gets a lot more simple. I now just use my iPhone stickies app to keep track of her meals, naps, and night sleep. I tried not logging for a while, but felt like her sleep started getting messed up, so now I always do it. I make sure she's getting what's normal for her (about 13 total hours of sleep) so that I can notice any big changes / predict issues.

Tips for logging your baby's sleep:
  • Pick a time to start your sleep log for each day. Choose either when baby wakes up for the day or when baby is asleep for the night. I do the latter--so when I write down G's sleep for Wednesday, it actually starts with bedtime from Tuesday night.
  • Write down when baby is actually ASLEEP, not when you put her down. Similarly, write down when baby is awake, not when you got him out of crib.
  • Decide if you want to be very specific down to the minute...or if you are okay with rounding to the 5's. Whatever you choose, just be consistent with rounding up or down, so that it balances itself out. I usually round.
  • Calculate wake times as you go, otherwise it's doing you no good.
  • Calculate total night sleep when baby wakes up, so you can predict how the day will go.
Example: Past two days' sleep log for G

NS: 6:50 pm - 3 am, 8 hours 10 minutes
Eat: 3:20 am
NS: 3:35 am - 5:20 am, 1 hour 45 minutes
Eat: 5:30 am
NS: 5:50 am - 7 am, 1 hour 10 minutes---TONS: 11 hours 5 minutes
Eat: 8:30 am
Nap 1: 9:05 am - 9:40 am, 35 minutes (shorter than normal, she is cutting teeth & that's affecting naps)
Eat: 11:45 am
Attempt at Cheerios: 12 pm
Nurse to calm: 12:50
Nap 2: 1 pm - 1:55 pm, 55 minutes
Eat a bit before we go to the gym: 2:45 pm
Eat: 4:10 pm
Dinner (plums & oatmeal): 6:15 pm
Eat: 6:30
Total: 12 hours 35 minutes
WT: 2:05/3:20/5 (I generally try for 2/3/4 but with shorter naps, it's a bit off)
Meals: 7 milk, 1 solid

Wednesday: (this day was all screwy)
NS: 6:55 pm - 5 am, 10 hours 5 minutes
Eat: 5:05 am
NS: 5:25 am - 6:30 am, 1 hour 5 minutes---TONS: 11 hours, 10 minutes
Eat: 7:50 am
Eat: 9:40 am
Nap 1: 10 am - 10:15 am, 15 minutes (I'm blaming her cutting teeth, but also the longer than normal wake time)
Attempt at Cheerios: 11:30 am
Eat: 12:20 pm
Nap 2: 12:50 pm - 1:15 pm, 25 minutes (again, not normal AT ALL...)
Eat: 4 pm
Nap: 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm, 1 hour (doesn't usually nap at this time, but with her crappy nap day, I let her sleep)
Dinner (plums/oatmeal): 6 pm
Eat: 6:45 pm
Total: 12 hours 50 minutes
WT: 3:30/2:35/3/2:05 (such a weird day for sleep)
Meals: 6 milk, 1 solid

NS = night sleep
TONS = total overnight sleep
WT= wake time, calculated from the time baby woke up until the time baby went to sleep next

Please contact me if you'd like any personal advice or need more help with logging!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! It is always interesting to see how other people keep track of things. Keeping track of everything can be overwhelming at times, but definitely helpful from time to time. I am also always intrigued to see what other 7 month old's schedules look like. :-)


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