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Self-help program

13. Core values and self-compassion

The exercises featured in this self-help program are designed to provide fast relief from insomnia. Getting over insomnia for good, however, takes patience and hard work.

Sticking with the program requires motivation, and motivation can be hard to find at times. At those times it is good to remind yourself what your priorities are and why you started this journey in the first place.

Core values act as a compass

Staying motivated starts with knowing what your core values are, i.e. what matters to you and what you are prepared to make sacrifices for.

Every day you make choices based on your values. Values are not targets that can be checked off. They are more like a compass that sets the course for the choices that you make in life.

The key to finding the motivation to combat insomnia or unhealthy habits may well lie in your core values.

Dealing with frustration

Your core values lay the groundwork for change and help get you through difficult times, such as moments of frustration. Repeating sentences that remind you about your core values can give you the strength that you need in a difficult moment and ensure that the choices you make are actually what you want.

The sentences below are some examples. Read them and think about a sentence that you could choose that could help you when you are running low on motivation, or faced with a choice between activities that promote sleep or discourage sleep.

Example of a self-affirmation mantra

“It is important that I keep fighting insomnia and reduce my alcohol consumption. These changes will make me more energetic for my children and allow me to make the most of those precious moments with them, and live the life that I want to live.”

It is not all up to you

Reflecting on your core values helps to maintain motivation and make choices that promote good-quality sleep. Insomnia is not always just about the choices you make. Bad nights can happen even when you do your exercises exactly as instructed and make all the right choices.

This can feel very demoralizing and frustrating. You may find yourself wondering whether all your hard work has been for nothing, or whether you could have done more.

The importance of self-compassion

One final practice worth taking up is the art of self-compassion and fostering a sense of self-acceptance. Most people feel compassion for other people, but many forget to extend that same courtesy to themselves and are instead harshly self-critical.

Self-compassion means recognizing your own hardship and pain and wanting to help yourself. In the case of insomnia, self-compassion means being kind to yourself when you are tired and cannot sleep.

Self-compassion is a skill that involves, for example, not judging yourself, being open-minded and accepting the sometimes difficult feelings that insomnia can bring.

Exercise: My core values


Identify things that are important to you and that can help you to stay motivated and on course.


Answer the questions below and think about how your answers could improve your motivation to overcome insomnia.

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