Do Sheep Sleep?

What is Sheep Counting? How many hours do Sheep Sleep? When did the Sheep Count Originate? Is it Useful? What are the Ways to Improve your Sleep? How does Sleep Deprivation affect your Health?
do sheep sleep

Counting sheep is something that we all try whenever we need to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Sleep count is beneficial for some, while others consider it useless because concentrating on something in order to sleep may distract the mind from sleep. But at the same time, I wonder do sheep sleep by counting sheep, or do they count humans. 

1. What is Counting Sheep?

It is a mental exercise practice putting a person to sleep. The person imagines the sheep jumping over the fence while he counts them. It is very useful when we are sleep deprived or are unable to sleep due to many reasons. (See How Do Fish Sleep with Their Eyes Open?)

2. Do Sheep Sleep?

A lamb sleeping and smiling: do sheep sleep 1

Yes, sheep do sleep in a place where they feel comfortable and safe. The place they prefer for sleeping depends on the weather conditions. They will sleep out in the open, inside their shelter, or on the high ground. But in general, they can sleep anywhere they feel safe. They huddle together in a group while they sleep. A sheep in a full coat of wool can easily sleep out in the winter. (See 12 Catfish Whiskers Facts)

3. How many Hours do Sheep Sleep?

A sheep is a diurnal animal, which means they spend their day grazing and sleep only during the night. On average, a sheep spends 4 to 5 hours sleeping at night. Their habit of grazing and eating during the day keeps them away from lying down and sleeping. (See 8 Tame Wolf Facts)

4. How Sleep Count Works?

A flock of sheep.

All you need to do is lay down in your comfortable position, close your eyes, and start imagining a huge flock of sheep, and they are one-by-one jumping from the fence to the other side. As the sheep jumps, you have to count, keep counting without thinking about do sheep sleep, and when your mind feels exhausted, it will get to sleep. In this way, sleep count works to put you to sleep. (See Why reading makes you sleepy?)

5. When does it Originate?

So, do sheep sleep related to a story? Well, there is. Disciplina Clericalis, a Spanish text which was published somewhere in the 12th century, has a story about counting sheep to sleep. People at that time believed it was a recognized and popular practice and began to follow it.

  • According to experts, the shepherds during that time count their sheep before going to sleep in order to make sure that none of their animals are missing. Knowing that the number is correct, they return to bed with a calm mind.
  • Then another reference to counting sheep was found in Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes in 1605.
  • Another reference to counting sheep for sleeping was the illustrations by Harriet Martineau published in Political Economy in 1832.
  • Towards the late 19th century, writers began to mention sheep counting. Some works from that era mention this term in Through Flood and Flame by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1868 and Alexander William mentioned this technique in his book Insomnia and its Therapeutics in 1891. (See Why most Egyptians sleep late?)

6. Is it Effective to Sleep Count the Sheep?

The effectiveness depends on the mental power of the person. According to the experiments conducted by the researchers at Oxford University, the mind of a person becomes tired after any such exercise which includes the use of mental energy. It may include sheep, waterfall, or any such scenarios. You can achieve a good sleep if you involve your brain in any complex activities which include excess usage of mental energy. (See The 3 Most Common Sleep Positions And Their Health Effects)

7. What was the Counting Sheep Sleep Study?

In certain research, fifty insomniacs were considered and divided into three groups for this study, which was conducted by Oxford University in 2001. The motive of this study was to find out the effectiveness of various techniques in putting a person to sleep.

  • The 1st group visualized calming scenes like a waterfall during their attempt to sleep.
  • The 2nd group was asked to follow their usual routine, and
  • The 3rd group visualized sheep counting while they went to sleep.

In the result of performing the test, the 1st group fell asleep approximately 20 minutes faster than on their usual nights. But the 3rd group was unable to sleep for a long time while they were counting sheep. (See 13 Best Types of Pillows to Get Comfortable With)

8. Why is it Hard to Sleep?

A girl covering her face with a blanket: do sheep sleep 2

Sometimes you are tired but cannot sleep because of various reasons, like:

  • Underlying health issues,
  • Unwell mental health,
  • Stress, tension, depression, anxiety,
  • Worried about something, trying to remember something,
  • Sleeping during the daytime,
  • Sleep disorder. (See Is Sleeping Late Bad for Health?)

9. What are the Sleep Disorders?

A mental, physical, or psychological condition that influences the sleep cycle of a person can be considered a sleep disorder. The real factors include jet lag, restless leg syndrome, night terror, insomnia, sleepwalking, narcolepsy, and obstructive sleep apnea. These are types of sleep disorders that will influence your sleep timings and will make you wonder, what is sleep count, do sheep sleep? (See Uses of EMDR for Anxiety Reduction)

10. Are there any Effective Methods to Sleep?

Sleep cycle application icon in the smartphone.

In order to improve your sleeping patterns, you need to make some changes to your habits.

  • Fix your sleep time and track your sleep time because you should fall asleep within 30-minutes after you lay down.
  • Try to stop using any gadgets and dim the house lights at least 30-minutes before your bedtime.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a pleasant place wherever you feel like, for example, a beach, hill station, etc.
  • Consult a therapist if the problem persists because a bad sleep schedule is not good for your physical and mental health. (See Significance of CBT Anger Management Therapy)
  • Set a fixed wake-up time and make sure not to look at the clock if you wake up before this time. Instead, try to get back to sleep.
  • Control your caffeine and alcohol intake. Do not think that alcohol induces sleep because it does not. Must read the 30 interesting facts about alcohol and your health.

11. What Effects does Sleep Deprivation have on your Health?

A girl sleeping on the terrace: do sheep sleep 3

Short term impacts are:

  • You will not be attentive and alert during the daytime. Now, do sheep sleep or not, will become the least of a concern for you.
  • It affects your mood which can cause conflicts in your relationship.
  •  Your quality of life will be hampered since you will not be able to participate in daily events.
  • In the worst-case scenario, you might lose control of your vehicle while driving. 
  • You will feel sleepy the whole day. (See How to Have a Good Night Sleep?)

Long-term effects are:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart-related issues.
  • Obesity.
  • Reduced immunity.
  • Depression.

Now you know about do sheep sleep and its method and effectiveness of the sleep count. Try out the techniques and share them with your loved ones. Comment and share your reviews. (See 15 Pressure Points To Relieve Body Discomforts)

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