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Counting sheep... everything you need to know to get a proper night's sleep

By Rebecca Dufour Partanen

Photo: Abate

Is a peaceful slumber the ultimate way to stay happy and healthy? Experts say yes so here's how to achieve it

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We have all been there. It’s finally time to hit the sack, you’ve been looking forward to it all day, your head lays down on your soft silky pillow, and… nothing. You twist and you turn, stare at the ceiling, and you try to count imaginary sheep in a desperate move to get knocked out for the night. Still nothing. In that frustrating moment, you wish there was a magical way for you to fall asleep in seconds and wake up refreshed the next day.

This is a familiar scenario for many of us. In fact, we, as a society, might have reached peak exhaustion. Survey results published by the Swedish Health Agency suggest that about 40 per cent of Swedes report regular sleep problems making lack of sleep a veritable public-health crisis. Not only do we become grumpy from a bad night’s sleep, but long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Making sure you sleep well at night seems to be one of the most important investments you can make in your health and wellbeing.

Why is sleep so important?