Sleep-wake journaling

for people with idiopathic hypersomnia or narcolepsy type 1 or 2

You can use this journal to log your sleep, medicines, activities, and symptoms. Journaling can help you see patterns, such as how your energy and alertness change during the day and what may be making your symptoms better or worse. Finding the patterns may help you make changes that improve your quality of life. 

You may choose to share your journal with your doctor, therapist, or someone else you trust, such as family or a close friend. They can help you find patterns, set goals, and improve your treatment plan. 

We understand that journaling can be difficult for people who have idiopathic hypersomnia or narcolepsy type 1 or 2. Giving it a try for at least 1 to 2 weeks can help you decide how it is most useful to you. 

Some people like to journal regularly because it helps them stay on track with their routines and find patterns as things happen in their lives. Others like to journal only when they start a new medicine or they’re going through a lifestyle change. Tracking joyful activities can help make your journaling more encouraging. If this journaling tool doesn’t work well for you, you can make changes, take notes on your phone, or look for different tools.

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How do I get started?

Print a blank journal PDF form for journaling off-line

Download an Excel spreadsheet if you want to type your entries or customize the form

The first few columns track the date, your nighttime sleep times, nighttime medicines, and comments about your nighttime sleep experience such as disrupted sleep, hallucinations, or problems with your sleeping space.

As you go about your day, note what happens in the morning, afternoon, and evening. For medicines, write down the time, the name of the medicine, and the dose (example: 9a, modafinil, 100mg). For naps, write down the time you fell asleep and the length of time you slept in hours and minutes (example: 1h15m).

What should I put in the “Activities/events” spaces? 

Record any important events of the day, whether or not you think they may be affecting your symptoms. You can look for patterns later. 


  • Workload at your job or school
  • Medical or other appointments
  • Physical labor, mental labor, or rest
  • Housework, child care, or parental care responsibilities
  • Stress level
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition — did you skip any meals, have healthy foods, or alcohol or recreational drugs?
  • Menstruation — where are you in your cycle?
  • Social interactions — were you alone or with others, was the time positive or negative?
  • Feelings of anxiety or depression, or happy or fulfilling events
  • Any other activity or event that could be affecting your hypersomnia symptoms

What should I put in the “Symptoms” spaces? 

Record your symptoms and how strong they were that night or day. 


  • Disrupted or undisrupted sleep?
  • Did you wake refreshed or unrefreshed?
  • Sleep inertia — how long did it last?
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and wakefulness times
  • Brain fog — when did it start, and how long did it last?
  • Fatigue — when you aren’t sleepy, but your energy level is low
  • Cataplexy — when did it happen, and what was the trigger?
  • Hallucinations when falling asleep or waking up (during nighttime sleep or naps)?
  • Falling asleep unexpectedly while driving, working, in the bathroom, or elsewhere?
  • Headaches?
  • Any other symptoms that are important to your well-being?

What should I put in the “Notes” column? 

The “Notes” column is for your thoughts about what may be affecting your symptoms, questions and concerns to talk about with your doctor or therapist, and ideas for changes you might want to make in the future.

Is there a sleep-wake journal app? 

Unfortunately, we don’t know of an app that tracks the information in our journal. Some members of our community use the Daylio app to track their daily experience. However, HF had no role in creating this app, so we cannot formally recommend it nor take any responsibility for your personal experience when using it. 

Daylio is a mood tracking app, using 5 emoji faces. Use the emoji faces to rate your sleepiness or energy level by making your own 5 point scale to go with the faces, such as:

  • 1 = too fatigued to move
  • 5 = I feel good, and I’m being productive. 

Set up a schedule for entering ratings throughout the day. At each time, enter your emoji, activities, and notes. Use the notes to keep track of your sleep times, medicines, symptoms, and anything else that may be affecting your sleepiness or energy level. Get the app at

Published Dec. 5, 2022 |
Revised Jan. 29, 2024
Complete update Jan. 22, 2024 |
Approved by our medical advisory board