The Importance of Accepting: Insomnia Addition

Much of the time, we are unhappy, get anxious, and beat ourselves up when there’s a difference between where we are in life and where we want to be. Accepting is hard, and is especially true when it comes to insomnia.

Insomnia is no different – we want so desperately to sleep a full night, but we’re not there.

We ruminate about how badly insomnia will affect us tomorrow and get mad at ourselves for not sleeping yet again. We become dejected when we don’t sleep perfectly, or become hopelessly sad that we have to suffer through another day of sleep deprivation. At times, maybe we come to terms with being perpetually tired.

To overcome the strong, negative connotations associated with inadequate sleep, you need to accept where you are right now. 

Let me be clear – acceptance is not resigning yourself to insomnia.

Acceptance is compassion for yourself and knowing that you deserve better. When you accept yourself and your situation, you are making the active choice to make space for the unpleasant experience of sleep deprivation to exist without getting furious or defeated. 

It’s just where you are – right now – and welcoming the opportunity to improve. You don’t want to try to beat it down with pills or substances – this is simply something you have to deal with for the time being. 

Acceptance means self-soothing if you go off course, and fostering an inner dialogue that is understanding and encouraging when you do. It’s taking responsibility for your life and forgiving yourself when you are being hypercritical and harsh on yourself. Acceptance brings mental peace and the personal fortitude that is required to continue on a path to good sleep.

By accepting, you take power away from insomnia. It’s something in your life right now, just as a plane flying overhead or an ant walking by on the sidewalk. You notice it, but it’s not something you are transfixed on. 

If you don’t accept who you are and where you are at the present moment, you can’t heal yourself from insomnia. 

A spray painting of two stick figures, one of which is white and the other is black in front of a red background. This denotes accepting insomnia.

What does a lack of acceptance look like for insomnia? 

Any strong emotional charge shows a lack of acceptance, whether that be anger, frustration, sadness, or anything in between. It’s like getting furious at the plane for existing, or deeply disturbed about the ant crossing your path. 

When you don’t accept yourself and where you are right now on your journey, you become almost obsessive. It’s now about about what you want but don’t have. And when you do get what you want (sleep), you are far more likely to sabotage your progress. Why?

Because when you don’t accept insomnia, you have an overcritical voice in your head. It says that you need to have a good sleep again tomorrow night. “You did it last night, so why can’t you do it tonight? What the hell is wrong with you?!”

It makes you feel like you’ve failed, you’re deficient, and you’re hopeless. This lack of acceptance is “negative motivation” (berating yourself) and opens you up to a high risk of returning back to old habits that made insomnia possible in the first place. 

The aim is for you to accept that this is how you are at this moment in time. You know you are going to work to overcome these flaws now and into the future. Not because you are deficient in some way, but because like all humans, you have flaws that need to be dealt with.

Deal with insomnia from a place of acceptance and compassion rather than by reprimanding yourself. You are far more likely to succeed in making the necessary changes and create a positive feedback loop for sleep.