Good morning everybody, I was wondering about this sentence: "I can't sleep for a while" the other person answers: "Try to count sheep / try counting sheep". Is there a real difference in this kind a sentence, or is it irrelevant?
There is a slight difference. "Try to count sheep" suggests the person find out if they are able to count sheep. Maybe they are a child and are still learning how to count. Maybe they're so tired they may not be able to count well. "Try counting sheep" suggests the person find out if the act of counting sheep (which we assume the person is capable of) helps them go to sleep.
The difference is where the focus lies: "try to X" focuses on X, while "try [X]ing" focuses on the effects of [X]ing (where [X]ing is a gerund as in "try counting...").
The difference isn't really concrete though and both versions are completely understandable in context.