Sheep and Sleep


Anyone that has been stuck in bed, unable to catch some “Z’s”, can tell you – being stuck awake at night really stinks! You might have heard at some point to “imagine counting sheep” to help you drift off into slumberland. While this sounds more like a cartoon suggestion than reality the truth is there’s really something to it!

A 2002 psychological study on sleep found that insomniacs can “break” their sleepless ways through “imagery distraction”. By focusing on an imagined set of images the time between getting to bed and falling asleep can drastically shorten. Not only does this method help ease that “racing mind” feeling people often experience but it can also help train your brain to fall asleep faster in the long run. So go ahead and count sheep (or puppies if you’re anything like me) for a better rested tomorrow!

Harvey, A. G., & Payne, S. (2002). The management of unwanted pre-sleep thoughts in insomnia: distraction with imagery versus general distraction. Behaviour research and therapy, 40(3), 267-277.

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