I created the Sleep Self-Assessment, based on my sleep coaching experience, to help you identify why you are not sleeping and how to sleep better.
1 in 2 people are not happy with their sleep and very few people do anything about it. We are overwhelmed by the amount of advice out there and so we end up trying a few things, achieving nothing and concluding that “I’m just a bad sleeper”. Not true! Anyone can improve their sleep in just a few simple, consistent, changes to their life.
Use this template to complete your sleep self-assessment and find out what is stopping you from sleeping. You can keep the sleep self-assessment and review it later to see if you have made progress on any areas and to refocus your efforts!
Why is it helpful to me?
This simple tool helps you find out where you need to be focusing to improve your sleep. There are so many things that might be stopping you from sleeping…. but chances are there is just one thing (maybe two) that you need to tackle today to see significant improvement to your sleep.
From my experience as a Co-Active Sleep Coach, I made a list of all the things that stop people from sleeping. I then organised them by mental, environmental and physical factors and easier and harder to change.
How to do it?
Use the template above and the questions below to complete it. In each small box, give yourself a score from 0 to 10, where 10 is “YES” and 0 is “NO”. There is also a space for you to make some notes and remember why you scored yourself a certain way.
Once you have completed it, look back and see where your biggest areas to work on are. Choose just one for now. You can revisit your sleep self-assessment and repeat the exercise as often as you like.
Sleep self-assessment questions
Answer these questions to help you complete your sleep self-assessment. Spend some time reflecting on these areas of your life. Be honest with yourself and be kind. It’s important to take a step back and not judge yourself unfairly. Remember, you don't need to take action on all of these points now, by taking a bigger picture, you'll find it easier to decide where to begin.
Section 1: Environmental factors
Do you have a bedroom that is cool, dark and quiet?
Do you have a comfortable bed, sheets and mattress?
Do you consider your home to be a calm, relaxing place to be?
Is your bedroom free of technical devices?
Do you have supportive relationships with family, friends and colleagues?
Are your relationships free from conflict?
Do you have the same sleep patterns / needs as your partner?
Are you able to talk openly about your sleep needs with your partner, friends and family?
Is your daily commute less than 45 minutes each way?
Do you have regular, reasonable working hours?
Do you take regular breaks from work, for example having time between when you wake up and start work, a break every 1h30 and time to unwind in the evening?
Caring for others
Do your responsibilities towards others allow you to sleep when you need to?
Are you able to sleep through the night without being woken up by children, other family members that need your help or pets?
Section 2: Mental factors
Perspective and daily mood
Are you able to take perspective on the things that are within and outside of your control on a daily basis?
Are you aware of your mood and the factors that impact your mood on a daily basis?
Do you take daily action to safeguard your emotional health and to check in with yourself?
Long-term beliefs about sleep
Do you believe that sleep is important?
Do you value your sleep?
Do you believe that you are able to be a good sleeper / to get the sleep that you need?
Do you believe that rest is an important part of every day (as well as night)?
Do you have tools, that you use regularly, to manage your stress levels?
Do you have a manageable amount of stress in your life at the moment?
Are you familiar with the sources of excess stress and how to reduce/avoid excess stress?
Mental ill health
Would you consider that you have a good level of mental health generally? (Note: mental health and sleeping problems are often closely relate, so this question is simply about acknowledging if mental ill health may be impacting your sleep. While any mental health issue should be treated by a professional, you can work on other, easier to address areas in order to safeguard your sleep).
Section 3: Physical factors
Hydration and breathe
Do you drink sufficient water and liquids throughout the day?
Do you actively practice deep breathing every day?
Are you mindful of the quality of your breath in different situations?
Do you make sure that you get outside to see the sunshine in the morning?
Do you get up every day at a regular time?
Do you make time to unwind in the evening before bed, including avoiding screens?
Do you eat at regular times throughout the day and from day to day?
Nutrition / movement
Do you have a healthy / balanced diet?
Do you get enough movement every day? (Note: to sleep well, you do not need to be doing excessive sport, in fact regular movement is more important that sporadic, more vigorous exercise)
Do you avoid exercising and eating at least 2 hours before going to bed?
Do you avoid excess caffeine, alcohol and sugar?
Are you free from physical health problems and medications that might interfere with your sleep? (Note: Please consult your doctor if you are unsure)
Are you free from pain at night?
About the author
Dot Zacharias is a mother of two, Co-Active Sleep Coach and iRest Yoga Nidra teacher. Find out more via www.rest-fully.com.
On the Nourish app, Dot offers meditations to calm the nervous system, take a relaxing break, fall asleep and reconnect with yourself. Download the Nourish app.