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Sudoku And Sleep

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In middle school and sometimes in high school, falling asleep was not easy for me. While my sister could go upstairs, climb into bed, and be asleep in no time, I’d stare at the ceiling for a good thirty minutes to an hour before finally nodding off.

I tried everything: Warm milk, trying not to exercise right before bed (although my soccer coach wasn’t about to change our 7pm practices just for my sleep problems!), counting sheep, lavender on my pillow, etc. etc. etc.

Thankfully, I don’t seem to have the problem anymore.  Perhaps it was just a teen-hormone thing; maybe it was due to the fact that I didn’t keep a similar schedule on weekends. Whatever the case, I’m glad to finally be like my sister and doze off within 10-15 minutes of “lights out.”

Today’s post is not about food, unlike the My Morning Routine post.


Here’s how my nighttime routine goes down:

1. Get into comfy pjs

2. Brush teeth, etc.

3. Climb into bed with Killer Jigsaw Sudoku.

I highly recommend jigsaw sudoku.  It’s a really fun challenge (especially the diabolical ones).  And focusing on numbers is a good way to quiet my thoughts and lull me to sleep. Halfway through a puzzle, my eyes can hardly stay open.


Lazy Henry has no problem falling asleep.


What’s his secret?? Henry’s not sharing.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. McKella says:

    I usually fall asleep easily, but I like to read while I’m sitting in bed. Reading homework for Early and Romantic American lit last semester did it every time!

  2. I used to have major sleep anxiety! I could rarely sleep, especially the night before a big event. Reading knocks me out, tho!

  3. Nicky says:

    I’ve had sleeping problems ever since I can remember…I cannot fall asleep on my own 70% of the time :( but drinking tea is something I always do before bed, I love the Sleepy Time Extra Tea!!

  4. Kara says:

    Henry is just precious!

  5. I LOVE your quilt! So pretty! I have an orange one from my grandmother’s house that I wrap up in whenever I’m feeling blah and it cheers me up. Unfortunately, I can’t bring it out all of the time because it’s falling apart pretty badly. :(

    I love to crawl in bed and read, but unfortunately if the book is too good I’ll stay up half the night reading it! 😛

  6. Aimee says:

    I wish I could say I don’t still have trouble falling asleep at night. But I do. Sometimes it’ll take me more than an hour, and by that time I’m so wired up that when I finally do get sleep, I toss and turn.
    Kudos to you for the killer sudoku! I can’t even do the easy ones!

  7. vegangal says:

    yes i am with keri, i like a good book before bed, but if its too good, it keeps me awake because i can’t stop reading!

  8. Kate says:

    I love tea to help me wind down, but can’t do the Sleepytime…the chamomile makes me sneezy! Zhena’s Gypsy Tea makes an awesome Lavender Rooibos tea that always does the trick for me!

  9. Mary says:

    I will have to try sudoku before bed. Thanks for the tip! I knew about keeping your room cold. But as one of the many people who finds it hard to sleep, I’ve tried everything!
    Oh and YES I did very much sleep til noon as a teen. Didn’t everyone ;)?

  10. Brandi says:

    I have actually suffered from sleeping problems pretty much my entire life. Generally it’s either I cannot GET to sleep or I cannot STAY asleep. I have tried pretty much everything – lack of caffeine, hot tea, melatonin, etc.. Really the only sure fire thing for me is something chemical, sad to say. Boo! It’s been the bane of my existence.

  11. I always have trouble falling asleep. Reading before bed does help though :-)

  12. Sarahishealthy says:

    If I really can’t get to sleep, I’ll take tylenol pm as a last resort. I know it’s not good to take it all th time, but once in a while can’t hurt.

  13. Jessica says:

    I love your posts because they’re always so informative and full of great tips. How do you know so much for such a young girl?!
    Happy Friday, Katie :)

  14. Inspired says:

    Hahaha don’t drink TOO much tea before bed 😉

  15. jcd says:

    Reading by the fireplace knocks me our in ten minutes. I think it’s the blanket, the warm fire, and the soft light that do it.

    Summertime is another story. When the sun is shining from 4 AM to 11 PM, blackout curtains are the only refuge.

  16. I have trouble sleeping sometimes…it happens off and on. I try not to go to bed until I’m really tired, otherwise I just lay there thinking about what I have to do the next day. It really helps when I block my thoughts and breathe deeply.

  17. loveelisa says:

    loooooove tea! and that puppy. so cute.

  18. no matter what i do to fall asleep, my upstairs neighbors are guaranteed to get up at 3 am and make a huge racket! i think they have a boxing kangaroo up there, a la bugs bunny cartoons.

  19. Liz says:

    That sudoku looks awesome.

  20. My routine, for years and years, is simply to change into pajamas, get into bed (usually with the dogs, sometimes with both the dogs & Simba — but not with DH who stays up later than me), and read for about 20-30 minutes.

    As long as I’ve been exercising and the room is cool enough, I rarely have trouble falling asleep.

  21. Susan says:

    My nighttime routine includes a cup of tea too! Funny, since my morning routine includes a cup of coffee ; )

  22. ilanalala says:

    As a kid I used to have reocurring nightmares about giants eating my house (I know..) so I would do everything I could to stay up as long as I could to prevent the dreams. Ever since, I’ve had trouble falling asleep. I’ve even experienced periods of day-night reversal (and then I watch House where that’s a symptom of a patient dying of liver failure and I start to freak out and wonder if I’m okay…House is so bad for your health) but I’m finally getting my sleep schedule under control. Except last night – coulda used these tips then!

    My nighttime routine – I change into sweats, I do a sweep down of the kitchen, do all the bathroom things like face and teeth and whatever else, then make a cup of tea (usually chamomile) and get into bed. I need sound when I sleep so usually I’ll pick something on Hulu that I’ve seen a hundred times (like House…which is probably why I try to self-diagnose a hundred times a day)…

    Katie I love these posts of yours. So smart and cute.

  23. joy says:

    I left this on the other link too but I think EVERYONE should try my favorite tea so I am going to put it here too

    I am telling you YUM!

  24. I love the word “ablutions”!

    I’m lucky – I’ve never had trouble sleeping. I like to do crosswords before bed – they help me unwind enough to fall right asleep.

  25. haha love the photo of you with the sleep mask. I have one similar with me cuddled up with Samantha. I’m going to write up a whole post on sleep thanks to Susan (greatbalancingact)- she’s having a sleep challenge and it’s really helping!!

  26. PS love me some sudoku but you must be a brainiac if the black belt ones are too easy. I love the easy ones ’cause I feel smarterer. 😉

  27. Cara says:

    Unfortunately, my problems lately involve staying asleep! SO frustrating to wake up restless in the middle of the night :(

  28. Thankfully, I’ve never had problems getting to sleep. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out. In fact, I’m such a busybody that I tend to nod off ANY TIME I’m sitting still. At home, I rarely sit down, and watching an entire movie is a huge challenge. If I’m at work (at my desk) or on the computer at home, I’m typically okay. But when I sit on the couch, it’s over.

  29. I have problems sleeping sometimes. The way for me to get a good night’s sleep is to be TRULY exhausted. I will sleep like a dream :)

  30. I usually have a cup of tea and then lay in bed a read magazines or a novel until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore…being in college, though, I really don’t have a problem falling asleep, haha.

  31. Jenny says:

    I have sleeping problems- either I can barely function or I’m awake all night!

  32. Kristie says:

    Mmm… I almost never have problems falling asleep. As in, the lights go out and I’m out 2 minutes later 😛 If I have a headache though my MIL bought me this lavender/vanilla scented pillow that goes over my eyes and it helps my loosen up a bit and fall asleep.

  33. janet says:

    i can NEVER fall asleep until like 2am :(

    but i live in a LOUD dorm haha and that might have something to do with it

    my evening routine is usually brush teeth, read blogs, gossip with my roomie and then go to bed lol, but i need to try drinking tea or something before because maybe it will get me to SLEEEEPPPPP

  34. Stefanie says:

    I usually eat a bowl of hot cereal of some sorts. It is usually oatmeal/bran or spelt. Bulgur has made it into the routine as well as toast. The meals are an hour before bed time and help me fall asleep faster.

  35. Justine says:

    I wear an eye shade, too. They are just so nifty!

  36. Katie says:

    I have to have a fan on or I can’t fall asleep. Something about the noise puts me to sleep. And I always read for a bit before laying down.

  37. Katie says:

    Oh dear….I have MAJOR sleep problems. For some reason, I MAKE myself stay up past midnight on MANY a night….why? I have no clue. Do I think I am going to be missing out on something? Oof!

    The nights I am a grandma and asleep by 9:30 are HEAVENLY to me. I work a few early mornings throughout the week, so these are usually after going nonstop for a full day starting at 6am :)

    I used to have a nighttime routine, but lately, it’s been a little nonexistent. Must reestablish one, for sure!

  38. Erica Rose says:

    Ditto on the cool temperature. I also take a chewable melatonin, it really helps w/ my insomnia. And I try to read before bed, as opposed to staying on my laptop checking up on blogs, lol.

  39. glidingcalm says:

    HAHA counting sheep BOOOOOOOOOOORRRRING. you are hilar! and i agree. whoever came up with that was LAME-O.

    i luckily have a gene where I can fall asleep fairly quickly after lying down………as long as I am on my stomach and not too cold! 😀

    lurveeeeeee the puppy pictures!!

    HUGS TO YOU BEAUTIFUL CCK! :) (i still will ALWAYS say ccv!)

  40. BroccoliHut says:

    I am fortunate enough to sleep like a log, no matter what. As soon as I hit the pillow, I am OUT. I was never able to sleep til noon though–I am amazed when I can sleep past 9!

  41. Tiffany says:

    I am more of a morning person, so sleeping in past 9AM is considered late for me haha. I’ve had sleep issues pretty much since high school and through college, so for awhile I’d stop consuming caffeine by like 4PM and tried to clear my mind of any worries, etc. before going to bed (theoretically so that they wouldn’t keep me awake). It was difficult because I drank a lot of tea and coffee and was focusing on school, but I’m sure it helped when I was really disciplined about it.

  42. Quix says:

    I love sudoku but I’m not that great at it. 😉

    I used to have issues sleeping, but never anymore. I attribute it to 1. running/vigorous exercise and 2. giving up caffeine.

    My weekday bedtime routine is getting my lunch packed, my clothes and workout clothes set up for the morning, brushing teeth/flossing, taking my vitamins, and turning on some sci fi or fantasy tv. I fall asleep best to sword fights or alien laser guns! :) On the weekends, I just fall into bed and deal with it all in the morning.

  43. Allison says:

    For about the past 6 months my routine has changed, but the year before that, I used to do Sudoku every night before I went to bed until I was so sleepy I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I like doing even the easy ones simply to give my mind something to do. I used to also not be able to sleep in high school. I would go to bed and lay there for hours sometimes. I would create very detailed fantasy stories about my life and imagine what it would be like to say, meet the bassist from Everclear and fall madly in love. Usually that would keep my brain focused enough to fall asleep. Now I have almost no problems what so ever. Strange how that happens.

  44. Marianne says:

    Okay, I’m 30, and I’ll still sleep until noon on the weekends if given the chance. LOL. I am not a morning person. I would completely shift the standard “work day” if I could, so I could stay up at night. Night owl all the way!

    I’ve never tried the jigsaw sudoku. I’m currently working through a giant word puzzle book. Nerd alert! LOL.

  45. Antonia says:

    I have trouble sleeping some nights but that’s because my sleeping habits are really inconsistent and unfortunately I don’t do much to fix it. Some days I’ll pass out super early but some nights, I’d go to bed at 4am even when I have work the next morning. I only have myself to blame.

    As for my bedtime routine, I just need to use my eye drops because I have dry eyes and go to the washroom… I can never sleep without going to the washroom first or else I’ll be thinking about it all night and get anxious that I have to pee soon. Lol.

  46. I do sometimes have trouble falling asleep and I’m a very light sleeper. I’m always thinking way too much, or worrying, and I’m pretty high-strung. 😉 So, relaxing and turning off my brain can be a chore, but luckily I work from home so I can usually sleep in the next day to make up for any missed hours of sleep.

    It drives me crazy because no matter what is going on in our life, how much noise there is, where we are, whatever, Cody can fall asleep in 5 minutes flat, no problem. ARGHGHGHG!

  47. Emily says:

    usually i’m so tired these days that i fall right asleep. if not, i’ll count backwards from 100…usually works. :-)

  48. I think the sudoku would only keep me up later! my night routine is brushing teeth and waiting 30 mins like the old you I guess

  49. Caroline says:

    Being in college, sleeping peacefully can be difficult if the people around you are making disrupting noise. I turn off my computer 30 mins before bed and wind down with a good book. Just relaxing helps me fall asleep much better.

  50. I’m so the same way Katie. I could never fall asleep right away when I was younger but could sleep in like no other. Now, I fall asleep pretty quickly, but then again, I get up fairy early everyday.

    Before going to bed, I wash my face, brush and floss and take out my contacts. Also, the room has to be freezing…I cannot sleep at all if I’m the least bit hot.

  51. Bekah says:

    You are too funny Katie. :)

    My falling asleep ritual as of late is being SO tired, that by the time i get up to the top bunk in my dorm.. i completely fall asleep instantly. but seriously, i almost like going to bed at the last minute until i am so tired that i just fall asleep. it is nice.

  52. I’m long past my teenage years but I sometimes (umm.. quite often!) sleep until noon on weekends 😀

    I’ve never had trouble falling asleep (well, maybe sometimes but very very rarely) and I sleep like dead. I have fallen asleep at movies (The Simpson Movie and Batman, haha), airplane, bus, train, school and so on… sometimes this is NOT a very good habit, because of it I have missed the ending of movies, driven past my stop and so on.

    About the night time routine.. I climb to bed with a book and fall asleep in 5-10 minutes :)

  53. classicrockfreak says:

    I have the same problem, I can hardly fall asleep quickly. Before sleeping I shower. brush my teeth, blah blah and put my pjs on, jump into bed with my book ( currently eclipse) and doze off. But I do have a hard time retrieving the book from under my bed in the morning =]

    A very cute blog, nice recipes too!

  54. fartygirl says:

    Hey Katie! I love the color of your bed sheets. They are so bright! They look neat next to the purple flowery comforter too. I like how you pick your colors.

    Bed time routine… okay… so I’ve struggled with insomnia and sleep paralysis since I was four years old. My routine has changed quite a bit since then. I’ve tested and failed several different methods. Here’s what works for me.

    1. Stop consuming caffeine by 2-3 pm.

    2. Eat a carb-filled dinner. Either a potato or some beans and rice.

    3. Put on pajamas that are specifically for sleeping.

    4. Make lavender and lemon balm tea.

    5. Drink tea while reading a book in bed.

    6. If the tea and the book don’t work, take valerian.

    Sometimes the tea can backfire – as I’m running to and from the bathroom, instead of sleeping. But I conk out eventually. The herbs are truly wonderful!!! Lavender and valerian work as well as NyQuil for me.

    I hope this helps you!

  55. fartygirl says:

    Oooops… I forgot to mention that I’ve started forcing myself to make my bedroom as dark as possible. This is not easy for me. Thanks to the sleep paralysis, I have this CRAZY fear of the dark. But when I blacken my room real good, then I don’t have sleep paralysis. So… yeah… darkness is NECESSARY for a good night’s sleep.

  56. Kelsey says:

    that’s crazy sudoku! i love those puzzles, but, like you, i find them to be really easy at times. i must find those!!

  57. Hey, hope it’s okay if I link to this post

  58. Catherine says:

    Oh man do I have trouble falling asleep!! I usually try to tackle some kind of verbose novel a la Tolstoy or something before bed to help myself wind down. That and peppermint tea definitely help, although it’s so easy to forget wind down time… which I need!!!

  59. My favorite tea is chamomile. So soothing :)

  60. B. says:

    Oh I am so addicted to Celestial Seasonings Tea… the factory is right near me, but I must book a tour! the whole place smells like Mint Tea.

    Your carrot cake pizza idea is scrummy… love your blog!

    ~:o) B.

  61. Swiftie22 says:

    I usually never have trouble falling asleep. In fact, my younger sister sometimes tells me: “I was talking to you last night and you didn’t anwser. You fell asleep in less than a minute!” And I usually get 8-9 hours of sleep per night. But… that past 3 days have been differently. I go to sleep early, but CAN’T fall asleep. Last night, I fell asleep at almost 1:00 in the morning. And the worst thing is, I ALWAYS wake up at 6:30AM. :-/ By the way, I’m 13, so I just hope it’s something age-related.