Making a self-assessment is the first tangible step towards accountability and better sleep. And even if you go to meet doctor/expert, you are required to make a proper self-assessment before diagnosis and treatment choices can be made.
In this test, ticking just one box indicates that you might have a sleep problem. This is might be a bit over-simplified test but it makes us think.
Test your sleep now
Ticking even one box indicates about a problem of some level. If so, it makes sense to investigate a bit more. If you wish to know a bit more, going forward with the following test is really helpful: The BBC Sleep Profiler. It takes about 10 minutes and includes the Epworth Test – an assessment tool used by sleep experts worldwide. The test gives you a little report with a short overview whether you are lark or owl, how to boost your alertness, about your environment and lifestyle challenges & tips and also a psychological angle. I liked this one and the tips it gave me confirmed my own findings.
Test your stress level
The most typical cause for short-term insomnia is stress. Are you handling your daily life with all its challenges well? I didn’t and the combination of sleep sensitivity and poor stress management is toxic. In my case it led to long-term insomnia. Naturally good sleepers sleep well when the cause for poor sleep (like peak stress) has been passed. Sensitive sleepers can’t rebound in a similar manner. They lack resilience. Poor sleep remains. Taking good care of ourselves and learn to manage everyday challenges and stress is absolutely critical. We face multitude of stressors in our lives on daily basis covering work, family and personal aspects. Although some people cope well with daily stress (even very high levels!), others experience negative emotional and physical responses that can disturb sleep and overall well-being. Studies have revealed that those “who tended to focus on their emotions and anxiety during the high-stress period were more likely to shorten their sleep, while those who tended to ignore emotions and focus on tasks extended their sleep and shut themselves off from stress.
When we are under stress we might get blind to our own situation. Alternatively, it might also be that our lives are so stressful so long that we forget what ‘normal’ life is and as time goes by our stress management skills get weaker and we become exposed to its harmful side effects such as poor sleep.
In order to understand whether or not stress plays a role in our lives a following stress test is useful to do. This is a fast test with tips forward in case you are approaching or already are in the danger zone.
What else to track or test?
Keeping a sleep diary is a good idea. When I was having my worst poor sleep bout I started to keep a sleep diary. It gave me helpful information about the patterns that were disturbing my sleep. I guess I had slept so poorly so long that I didn’t see clearly the situation any more. Diary helped me a lot and put me on recovery path. There are several downloadable and reliable sleep diaries available:
Or you can download a sleep diary app .
If keeping a ‘strict’ diary feels too much work, just keep a ‘normal diary’ and focus on writing down sleeping times, awakening times (night, morning), feelings and thoughts, daytime activities, nutrition, quality of sleep. After some time you might find the idea of keeping a diary as lovely habit as I did. I love reading it afterwards. It’s amazing how easily we forget the (super-vital) everyday stuff that tells so much about us and our lives.
Test your depression.
Sometimes insomnia is related to mental diseases. The recent studies indicate that insomnia more often precedes depression than the other way round. New information shows that treating insomnia will help treat your depression. Furthermore, the relationship between insomnia and depression is far from simple. Most experts today agree that that insomnia and depression are two distinct but often overlapping disorders. In case you suspect that this is possible, do a test for example in here:
Am I depressed test (Depressed test)
Depressed? A test. (WebMD)
Depression screening test (Psych Central)
It takes time to get the benefits from tracking your sleep patterns, but to my experience it’s worth every minute. Better sleep starts by taking responsibility into own hands.
How did your testing go? Did you find this helpful?