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Insomniacs: Stop the Sheep!

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Counting sheep doesn't help you nod off to sleep after all, say scientists at Oxford University

Counting sheep doesn't help you nod off to sleep after all, say scientists at Oxford University. They conducted a study on 50 people with insomnia, trying different methods to help them sleep. One group went with the traditional sheep-counting technique, another conjured up blissful scenes of tranquil waterfalls and sunny holidays, and another was left to ruminate on their own. The results? Those who pictured a relaxing scene fell asleep 20 minutes earlier than usual, and the others were awake longer than ever. "Picturing an engaging scene takes up more brain space than the same dirty old sheep," says scientist Allison Harvey. "Plus it's easier to stay with because it's more interesting."

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