There’s so much going wrong with the world that keeps me awake at night. How do you get to sleep when you’re worried about stuff – and do you do it by counting each other? Do you have any advice which would help me to drop off and sleep soundly?
No Sweet Dreams For Me
The Flock has selected LILY to answer this question. Lily is the current flock matriarch, so nothing much happens on the farm that she isn’t in charge of. (This is Lily on the left of the picture.)
I am sorry to hear that you are kept awake by worries of what may happen. Sheep are creatures of the moment, but we do still think about what might occur, or about bad things which have happened to us in the past and might happen again. This doesn’t usually disturb our sleep, but we can get quite worried if we are all brought into a pen, say, in a place where we have had our vaccinations, or been sheared. Our humans help us then, by being there, and being confident, and being with us if we are concerned. It is amazing how much confidence we can get then.
But on to your problem of a lack of sleep caused by worry! I have noticed that humans have a very, very useful trick available to them which might help you in this issue – writing. Now, we all know that humans have far too many thoughts buzzing around in their brains. In fact, they have so many thoughts and ideas competing for their attention that they so often forget where they are, or what they are doing right now! (This, of course, can be really useful for us sheep, because your distraction may mean that we get extra food, or can escape into a nice lush field of new grass. But I do not think it is very good for you.) Now, a human head is only so big, and I am sure that it can get so stuffed with ideas that there’s no room in there for anything else. So what you need to do is to take some of those ideas out, and write them down in a book. They have to stay still when they are in the book, and not fly around distracting you all the time. Then, you can think about them some more when they are nice and still and you can see them.
So, say it is the middle of the night, and you have woken up worrying about a Thing. Perhaps it is a Thing which is happening in your life, or perhaps it is a Thing which is happening across the world. You can’t stop thinking about it. Write it down in your little book, and then it is pinned down and you can have a good look at it. When you are the flock leader, it is important that you know what YOU personally can do about an issue, and so I usually think to myself, what are the three things I could do about this Thing which would mean I was taking it seriously? For example, if you are worried about people being cruel to sheep, you could say to yourself, I will only buy wool from places where I know sheep are well treated, I will pay attention to sheep in fields to make sure that they are all right, and I will buy a big bag of carrots and give them to Lily’s humans to feed to their flock so SOME sheep can be well treated. It is important that, once you have thought of those three things and realised that they are feasible for you to do, you should DO THEM (especially the carrot idea). This will make you feel as if you have some power over a difficult situation.
Then, you can lie down and shut your eyes. If the worrying thoughts return, you can say to yourself, well, I know what I am doing about that issue now, and I can’t do any of those things in the middle of the night, so I might as well go to sleep. In the morning, I will look at it again. Then try concentrating hard on your breath, feeling the air go in and out. You could count some sheep if you like – it is particularly effective to count Cotswold sheep, I believe.
We don’t count one another, nor do we count humans – but we do feel the closeness of our family and friends, and that lulls us into slumber. You can imagine us peacefully in our field if it will help!
P.S. Our human always says that the best piece of advice she was ever given was ‘don’t believe what your mind tells you at 3 am’.
Disclaimer: The sheep will select an email from their inbox to answer. (You can send them a message via our Contact page.) They cannot enter into personal correspondence, and can’t guarantee to answer everyone’s queries. The flock answers your questions to the best of their ability. However, you should note that they are sheep, and therefore we recommend you seek a second opinion from a member of your own species.