Counting Sheep is Not a Way to Get to Sleep

Posted on December 17, 2013

Most have tried imagining one sheep at a time jumping between a clean white picket fence and a crescent moon in perfect arcs. After sheep #1, you are still wide awake, but by sheep #25 you earn a yawn and by sheep #50 you are having trouble keeping track

Fall asleep? Good luck. The prospect that sheep could bore you into a peaceful slumber isn’t impossible, but studies suggest the folk technique is far from the best way to catch some shuteye.

For a 2001 study, Allison Harvey, a cognitive psychologist at Oxford University, split a group of 50 insomniacs into three groups. She asked one group to focus on tranquil scenes like waterfalls, another to dream of ewes jumping a stile and left a third control group to their own devices. There was a clear verdict when the results came back. “Counting sheep is just too mundane to effectively keep worries away,” said Harvey. The waterfall insomniacs got to sleep 20 minutes faster than the others.

Instructive as that study might be, Dr. Jack Edinger at the National Jewish Sleep Clinic in Denver, Colorado cautions against trusting imagination to treat sleep disorders. “The problem is that there really is no trick to knock yourself out,” he says. It’s much better to focus on the real world, changing habits to reduce stress and quell worries.

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Category(s):Sleep Disorders

Source material from Modern Farmer