Tracking sleep with Google Spreadsheets

I started a paper sleep log for Steven this week, but then I got kind of geeky and made a Google spreadsheet with color-coded cells to see more visually what his sleep patterns are like.

You can view the spreadsheet here: Steven’s sleep

I’ve only used Google’s spreadsheets for pretty basic stuff, so I learned two new things as I was making this:

  • How to add more columns
  • How to automatically color-code cells

To add more columns, you highlight x number of columns and then right-click in the column header grey area. A new option appears to add x columns to the right or left of your selection. This wasn’t very intuitive for me – I had to run a Google search to find out how to do this.

Automatically color-coding cells is pretty cool, though. Select all of your cells, then click the button for cell colors and you’ll see a checkbox for “Change with rules.”

When you check the box, a dialog box comes up that allows you to define rules. I used punctuation to represent different states:

  • period (.) – sleeping
  • hyphen (-) – awake in crib
  • comma (,) – crying in crib

By defining the text and background colors to be the same, the cell just ends up looking all colored, as you can see in the spreadsheet:

This makes it really easy to edit the spreadsheet and enter data. Instead of highlighting cells each time and changing the background color of the cell, you can just type the symbol and the spreadsheet automatically changes the color for you. Pretty nifty!

Other random notes about the spreadsheet:

  • I chose to let blank cells represent when Steven is awake, and used other symbols to represent feeding times (either “normal” feedings with an exclamation point (!) or “unsuccessful feedings” – lots of crying and fussing – with a slash (/).
  • After adding lots of cells to represent 15-minute increments, I merged the cells together in one row for the time headers.

Can you think of other applications for using the color code feature to track stuff?


3 thoughts on “Tracking sleep with Google Spreadsheets

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