Summary A brief diary instrument to quantify daily lifestyle regularity (SRM-5) is developed and compared with a much longer version of the instrument (SRM-17) described and used previously. Three studies are described. In Study 1, SRM-17 scores (2 weeks) were collected from a total of 293 healthy control subjects (both genders) aged between 19 and 92 years. Five items (1) Get out of bed, (2) First contact with another person, (3) Start work, housework or volunteer activities, (4) Have dinner, and (5) Go to bed were then selected from the 17 items and SRM-5 scores calculated as if these five items were the only ones collected. Comparisons were made with SRM-17 scores from the same subject-weeks, looking at correlations between the two SRM measures, and the effects of age and gender on lifestyle regularity as measured by the two instruments. In Study 2 this process was repeated in a group of 27 subjects who were in remission from unipolar depression after treatment with psychotherapy and who completed SRM-17 for at least 20 successive weeks. SRM-5 and SRM-17 scores were then correlated within an individual using time as the random variable, allowing an indication of how successful SRM-5 was in tracking changes in lifestyle regularity (within an individual) over time. In Study 3 an SRM-5 diary instrument was administered to 101 healthy control subjects (both genders, aged 20–59 years) for two successive weeks to obtain normative measures and to test for correlations with age and morningness. Measures of lifestyle regularity from SRM-5 correlated quite well (about 0.8) with those from SRM-17 both between subjects, and within-subjects over time. As a detector of irregularity as defined by SRM-17, the SRM-5 instrument showed acceptable values of kappa (0.69), sensitivity (74%) and specificity (95%). There were, however, differences in mean level, with SRM-5 scores being about 0.9 units [about one standard deviation (SD)] above SRM-17 scores from the same subject-weeks. SRM-5 scores also deviated more from a Gaussian distribution than did SRM-17 ones. In a study with a sample size of 101, the new SRM-5 instrument yielded scores with a mean of 4.11 and an SD of 1.13. Correlations between lifestyle regularity and age, and between lifestyle regularity and morningness appeared similar whether 5-item or 17-item SRM measures were used. When a gender difference in lifestyle regularity appeared, it was detected by both SRM-5 and SRM-17 measures.