phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The Phrase Finder

The meaning and origin of the expression: Counting sheep

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

Counting sheep

Other phrases about:


A distraction technique used to combat insomnia.


Insomnia has probably always been with us. We have evidence of this particular technique, of counting sheep as they are imagined to jump over a fence, being used from 1854. That's from Seba Smith's Way down east; or portraitures of Yankee life:

"He shut his eyes with all his might, and tried to think of sheep jumping over a wall."