Counting sheep

According to Wikepedia:

Counting sheep is a mental exercise used in some cultures as a means of lulling oneself to sleep.

In most depictions of the activity, the practitioner envisions an endless series of identical white sheep jumping over a fence, while counting them as they do so. The idea, presumably, is to induce boredom while occupying the mind with something simple, repetitive, and rhythmic, all of which are known to help humans sleep.

Although the practice is largely a stereotype, and rarely used as a solution for insomnia, it has been so commonly referenced by cartoons, comic strips, and other mass media, that it has become deeply engrained into popular culture’s notion of sleep. The term “counting sheep” has entered the English language as an idiomatic term for insomnia. Sheep themselves have become associated with sleep, or lack thereof.

According to an experiment conducted by researchers at Oxford University, counting sheep is actually an inferior means of inducing sleep. Subjects who instead imagined “a beach or a waterfall” were forced to expend more mental energy, and fell asleep faster than those asked to simply count sheep.

Sleep, by the same token, could be achieved by any number of complex activities that expend mental energy.

It’s almost two o’clock in the morning and I cannot sleep.

I am not sure why – perhaps my brain in over drive.

Counting sheep is not as soporific as I might have hoped.

Today I got back home at eleven thirty in the evening, having spent from five-thirty until nine-thirty in the office completing paperwork.

Why did I do this?

Some sense of responsibility?

The need to get out of the flat?

I am now officially on annual leave and there should be more creative ways to spend my evenings.

Now I am listening to the Fleetwood Mac album – Rumours and staring at my feet.

My feet encased in smart wool socks. Merino wool socks – which are incredibly warm and comforting in these subzero temperatures.

I guess I might try turning the music and lights off and closing my eyes- it might just work.


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