Since the late 1950s a host of formal relaxation therapies including progressive muscle relaxation training, autogenic training, imagery training, biofeedback, and hypnosis have all been used to treat insomnia. Common to these approaches is their focus on such factors as performance anxiety and bedtime arousal, which often perpetuate sleep difficulties. Regardless of the specific relaxation strategy employed, treatment entails teaching the insomnia sufferer a formal exercise or set of exercises designed to reduce anxiety and arousal at bedtime so that sleep initiation is facilitated. Typically multiple weekly or biweekly treatment sessions are required to teach relaxation skills that the patient is encouraged to practice at home in order to gain mastery and facility with self-relaxation. The goal of all such treatments is that of assisting the insomnia sufferer in achieving sufficient relaxation skills so that insomnia resulting from sleep-related performance anxiety and bedtime arousal can be minimized or eliminated.
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