Having trouble sleeping? Tried the counting sheep method? Don't bother. It doesn't work.
Sleep enthusiasts over at Modern Farmer have unearthed an Oxford University study from 2001 that found this method doesn't work at all.
They tested 50 insomniacs and split them into three groups, had them visualize different things before going to bed. One group imagined waterfalls, another imagined sheep, and one did their own thing and acted as a control group.
The first group got to sleep 20 minutes faster than they did on other nights, while the group that counted sheep took longer than usual.
Allison Harvey, one of the study authors, noted that, "Picturing an engaging scene takes up more brain space than the same dirty old sheep. Plus it's easier to stay with it because it's more interesting."
Bret Taylor, who works at the USDA's Sheep Experiment Station told Modern Farmer that, "I tried counting sheep once and no, it did not help me fall asleep. It's hard to imagine sheep jumping a fence because it is not something they do unless you don't want them to."
So there you have it. If you want to sleep faster, don't be counting sheep. [Modern Farmer]
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