Sheep jumping over a fence to represent sleep under Devon Duvets UK bedding.

There is a long-held belief that counting sheep will help you to fall asleep – but do you know where this idea came from?

One thought is that shepherds who used communal grazing land in medieval Britain were obliged to keep a headcount of their sheep each night. So, before they went to sleep, they counted their sheep to make sure they were all still there.

Another theory goes back further and is based on a chapter in Disciplina Clericalis – a 12th century book of fables – which suggests that counting sheep had already been a cultural trope in Islamic culture for centuries.

Does counting sheep work?

Although engaging the brain in a relaxing, repetitive task slows the mind and can help stop stressful thoughts from interrupting us whilst we fall asleep, counting sheep is not the most effective. According to researchers at Oxford University, when they put it to the test, they found that subjects who pictured running waterfalls and rivers were able to fall asleep much more quickly.

What else can help you go to sleep?

Breathing techniques are also recognised as an effective way to help you fall asleep. One such technique involves inhaling through the nose for a count of 4, hold for 7 and make a whooshing sound out for the count of 8. This breathing technique can reset the body, lowering stress and anxiety. Another factor that can help is to try and keep your bedroom temperature consistent. The optimum temperature for sleep is around 16°c – 18°c. Overheating can also stop you going to sleep or cause you to wake up through the night.

From Sheep to Sleep

Our award-winning duvets are very strongly connected to sheep and sleep…and that’s because we handcraft them from gorgeous, fully traceable British wool, certified by the British Wool organisation! Our wool is gathered from live sheep who live in British flocks, cared for by farmers with the highest standards of animal husbandry. We only ever use Spring and Summer shearings, so that the sheep get to keep their fleeces when they need it in the colder months. Cleaned without chemicals, and needled to our exacting specifications by British mills, the wool then arrives at our Devon workshops, where each duvet is individually handcrafted by our seamstresses.

Wonderful wool 

Wool is a wonderful fibre that is breathable and temperature regulating. It works with you and the ambient temperature of your bedroom to help keep your core body temperature balanced during the night, so aids a more restful sleep. Wool is also naturally dust mite resistant too, which makes it hygienic and hypoallergenic. Not only that but, because our duvets are natural, sustainable, and chemical-free, they’re better for you and our planet.

So, whilst counting sheep might not work if you are trying to fall asleep or get back to sleep, sleeping under our wool duvets can.

Always consult your doctor if you are experiencing continued problems with sleeping.


Ref:  Mental Floss, Readers Digest