By - December 24th 2014.

The following are general suggestions and may not apply to you specifically.

1. Eat several small meals throughout the day.

Large meals require a lot of energy to digest and often make you sleepy. Eating several small meals and snacks gives you ongoing energy. Plus, your body doesn’t have to work so hard to break down the food.

2. Stay active—physically and mentally.

Sometimes, you may drift off because you’re inactive and/or bored. Go for a walk. Invite a few people to play cards or a board game. Put together a puzzle. Read a book.

3. Exercise.

Ask a physiotherapist or personal trainer to put together a simple exercise routine for you and do the exercises every couple of days.

4. Make a habit of chatting with family, friends, and fellow residents.

It’s usually harder to nod off when you’re talking to someone. And sleeping during the day can make it hard to do so restfully at night.

5. Do what you can to minimize stress.

Pay particular attention to those things that cause you stress—and avoid them as much as possible. Do what you can to develop a genuinely positive attitude. This goes a long way to fighting stress.

6. Check with your doctor if you think your medication is affecting your sleep.

If you suspect that something you’re taking is making it difficult to rest through the night, arrange to talk to your doctor and see what he or she can do for you.

7. Determine whether an afternoon nap revitalizes you or makes you more sleepy.

An early afternoon nap may be just what you need to prevent you from falling asleep too early. On the other hand, it may have the opposite effect. If you feel groggy for an extended period after your nap and find it interferes with your sleep at night, it would be good to do things differently. Instead, you could do your exercises or visit with a friend.

8. Don’t consume too much liquid in the evening.

Having to get up in the night to use the washroom leads to a broken sleep, and not everyone can fall back to sleep quickly after they’ve been up even for a few minutes.

9. Avoid foods and beverages that give you energy—or agitate you—especially at the end of the day.

It’s definitely best to avoid refined sugar and caffeine in the evening—most anytime actually.

10. If possible, have a warm bath or shower in the evening.

This isn’t always practical, but a warm bath can be just the thing to relax and get sleepy.

11. Choose the right pillow.

If your pillow is too hard or too soft, too fluffy or too flat, it can affect your sleep. Some people rest well with no pillow. And others need two.

12. See to it that you’re not too hot—or too cold—when you’re in bed.

Some people like a nip in the air and enjoy having their window open all year round. Others need to be warm and toasty. Perhaps having several layers of blankets is the best option for you. That way you can pull them up or toss them off accordingly.

13. Listen to relaxing music or purchase a white noise machine.

Music can be very soothing, especially instrumental music that doesn’t bring lyrics to mind. If that doesn’t work for you, you may want to purchase a white noise machine that will mask other sounds while you sleep.

14. Keep reading material on your night table.

Reading at night makes many people drowsy. There are backlit electronic readers (Kobo and Kindle, for example) that are lightweight and may be the perfect solution. It isn’t always practical to keep the light on and try to hold a physical book while you’re trying to fall asleep.

15. You may also want to keep a pen and notepad by your bed.

If you think of something you don’t want to forget, simply jot it down and the note will be waiting for you in the morning.

16. Make the room as dark as possible.

Many people sleep most soundly if their room is totally dark. You may want to purchase room-darkening blinds and ask that your door be shut when you are in bed for the night.

17. Don’t wait until you’re overtired to head to bed.

Being too tired can have the same effect as not being tired at all. Try to get to bed before you reach this stage.

18. Give yourself time to wind down.
If you’ve had an especially busy day—mentally and/or physically—give yourself time to decompress before trying to get to sleep. Watch a little television. Listen to some music. Read a chapter or two in your favourite book.

19. As much as possible, follow the same nighttime ritual every evening.

Routine can be very helpful. It trains your body and your mind to know it’s time for sleep.

20. Keep to a fairly strict sleep schedule.

Whenever possible, go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning.

21. Count your blessings.

And instead of counting sheep, why not count blessings as you nod off? Talk about a great way to develop a positive attitude, de-stress, and rest peacefully.