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Stress-busting techniques - Part 4

To learn how to slow down and enjoy your food, take a small piece of dark chocolate and take a full five minutes to eat it. You may think that it can't be done, but it can. Take time to smell it, really chew it, and let it melt in your mouth, small bite by small bite. It's amazing how satisfying just a small portion of food and sweet treats can be if we just slow down and really taste them!

SLEEP

Did you know that having the right bedtime ritual can help you fall asleep faster, improve your quality of sleep, and leave you more refreshed in the morning? It's true! And sleep is definitely something you don't want to skimp on.

A good night's rest is an essential part of your well-being. It helps your body and mind rest, repair, and process information from the day. When you don't get enough sleep, it can make you distracted, moody, stressed, and angry. Studies have also shown that skimping on sleep can make your skin break out, make you crave unhealthy foods, and make you more forgetful, thereby hurting your performance at school.

As a teen, your biological sleep patterns shift, so it's likely that during this time of your life, you may not feel like going to bed before 11 pm. This is where creating a bedtime ritual comes in. By winding down with the tips below, you'll be more relaxed and ready for sleep. Be sure to do these things for an hour or so before bed, and you'll be dreaming in no time.

Play the Right Music

High-energy music is great for workouts, but before bed you want to play something more low-key. Pop on some Coldplay or a ballad by Katy Perry. Choose music you like, but pick tracks that are calming. Also, be sure to play your music a little more quietly than usual. Remember, the goal is to relax.

Shut Off the Computer and TV an Hour Before Bed

Powering down all of your electronics an hour before bed gives you and your brain a chance to slow down. If you like to read before bed, choose a real book instead of an e-book on your iPad. It may seem strange at first, but it works.

Use Deep Breathing to Release Tension

You may have a million things running through your head when you lie down at night: homework, boy drama, parents on your case. But in order to fall asleep, you have to quiet your mind. Taking nice, long inhales and exhales helps to slow down your nervous system, pump oxygen into your cells, and calm you down. So before bed, whether you do it standing, sitting, or lying down, slow down and take five deep breaths. That's all it takes to relax, thereby helping you to fall asleep faster.

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