No, Counting Sheep To Fall Asleep Doesn't Actually Work, Says Expert

You can't trust everything your parents tell you.
You can't trust everything your parents tell you.

You can't trust everything your parents tell you.

If you find it hard to drift off at night, it’s likely that you’ve tried every single trick in the book to fall asleep.

However, one sleep expert has shared the biggest myth about dozing off quickly – and it turns out we need to retire a traditional method we thought would help us nod off.

In the Zoe Study’s latest episode of their podcast ‘Science and Nutrition’, the team spoke with sleep expert and author of Why We Sleep, Professor Matthew Walker to learn about improving the quality of our shut eye.

In the interview, Prof. Walker is asked”what is the biggest myth about sleep that people still believe?” and his answer has completely changed everything we knew about falling asleep quickly.

“There are so many myths, but I think one of the fun myths that has been busted, is that counting sheep will help you fall asleep,” Prof. Walker told the Zoe Study.

Yup, it’s all a LIE.

Prof. Walker explained that a study had been done by a colleague of his at UC Berkeley, where he is a professor of neuroscience.

The study found that not only does counting sheep not make you fall asleep faster, it actually will make you take longer to fall asleep.

However, researchers did find an alternative mental strategy that can help.

“That strategy,” Prof. Walker explains, “is taking yourself on a ‘mental walk’.

“Think about a walk you know really well, maybe it’s a walk in the woods or a hike or a walk on the beach, and then try to really visualise that.

“Focus to the point of thinking ‘this is me leaving my front door, I’m walking down the steps, off I go’ – and if you do it in granular detail, the next thing you’ll remember is your alarm going off the next morning because you’ve fallen asleep.”

You can listen to the full podcast here.