Home / Develop a plan to improve sleep

Several studies have found that having a broad, thorough plan can improve sleep and reduce fatigue, even for people with severe pain. Here’s how you can develop your personal plan:

  • Record triggers or causes of your fatigue in a daily diary. See tab “Sleep Diary” to download and print a sleep diary.
    • Find what triggers your fatigue: record your daily sleep and level of fatigue and what you did that day (activities, changes in your routine, activities that were stressful, etc.)
    • Include a food and beverage log: Note when you drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol,  when you eat dinner (a heavy or light meal?), when you drink fluids, and other related information.
    • Record when you exercise and nap: length of time and how long before bedtime.
    • Keep a record (log or diary) of when you start a new food or activity or make a change to your diet or schedule. An accurate day-to-day log will be an invaluable tool for you and your doctor to use to identify triggers that interfere with your sleep and increase your fatigue.
  • Once you have identified possible triggers, change one thing at a time to see if the change helps your fatigue.
    • For example, if you normally have coffee after dinner, skip that for a couple of days and see if it makes a difference.
    • It’s important to change only one thing at a time. That way you can identify if what you changed is causing the problem.
    • Sometimes even small changes can make a huge difference.
  • Make changes to your routine/diet based on what you learn from the keeping your daily log. Make these changes part of your daily routine and stick to the new plan.
  • In the end, your plan should include following the steps above to help improve your fatigue level. For example, identify your triggers so that you can avoid things that interfere with your sleep and learn new strategies to reduce stress.