Tiffany, Week 16: My Sleep Apnea Is Gone!


Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep is more complicated than turning off the TV and giving up caffeine after 2 p.m. My problems with sleep go back many years. I had sleep apnea and had to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Basically, you put on a mask connected to the machine it increases the air pressure in your throat so the passageway doesn’t collapse when you’re asleep. Then, two years ago, I had my tonsils removed and I stopped using it. Felt better but never 100%.

Before this sleep challenge, I did a sleep study because I knew with weight loss, working out, eating the right foods, etc. I should feel less tired. I’m happy to report that my sleep apnea is GONE, that I hardly snore at all and I don’t have any episodes where I stop breathing.

I also found out that a medicine I’ve been taking in the morning really should be taken at night because it can cause drowsiness. Now with me taking my medicine at the right time of the day and getting at least 7 hours of sleep, I truly feel like a new person!

If you feel like your sleep issues are more complicated than quick fixes, definitely talk to your doctor. It can make a world of difference.

Have you ever seen an M.D. for sleep troubles? Post a comment and tell me!

Tiffany, Week 15: The Hardest Summer of Our Parenting Lives

the lehmans

As I’ve shared, our son, Jack, is autistic. His formal diagnosis is PDD-NOS. Jack is a very normal 6-year-old boy. He loves all things sports, loves to ride his bike, loves to get dirty. He has two speeds: fast and sleep. There is no middle ground. Jack also talks all the time. While his vocabulary is vast, his ability to communicate is delayed which causes a lot of frustration for him. He gets so frustrated at times that he becomes very aggressive and violent.

Jack just finished his first year of school and did well. He thrives on set schedules and one-on-one attention. This now being summer break, it’s really been hard on him to adjust. What’s hard for him is hard for us. Without diving into to many details (although if you want to know more or you just need support and a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate in the fun milestones, know I’m here for you), this has been the hardest summer of our parenting lives.

The old Tiffany would dive into self doubt, blame, anxiety and shame and face plant into candy bars from the vending machine, pizza, Chinese take-out, too much beer, too much wine, etc. The new and improved Tiffany still had a lot of self doubt, blame, anxiety, bitterness, etc. However, I wouldn’t turn to food and drinks for comfort. Instead, I turned to the gym and my personal trainer. I have had some tear-filled sessions with Lass and have let out a lot of aggression on a giant tractor tire and a heavy lead pipe. I did slip a few times with the food, but all in all, I ate very healthy and it’s almost funny in an ironic way how when you’re out of the bad food mode that you don’t just stop, drop and roll back to it. It’s all a slow progression. Weight gain, weight loss, fitness is all a slow progression. You know the saying: “Slow and steady wins the race”? Well it’s true.

I’m happy to report that school is going to be starting back up soon. Jack is excited, we’re excited, we’ve learned much better parenting techniques through this process. I’ve gone from having an angry and bitter heart to a heart of love and appreciation for Jack. I have gone from “Why me?” to “Thank you for giving this to me.” I put myself in his shoes and I think if I’m this frustrated, I can only imagine what he is going through. We have also learned that in order to fully help Jack (Anna too) that we have no choice but to be the healthiest we can be. We have a legacy to lead.

Has a struggle with your kids made you turn to food or drink for comfort? Post a comment and tell me the healthy ways you’ve found to handle tough times.

Tiffany, Week 15: How I Got My Daughter To Sleep In Her Own Bed


My 10-year-old daughter, Anna, recently has had some issues with sleeping. Before telling more of her story, which is personal, I did get her permission. Our hope is that it will help others with young children who have sleep issues.

Anna has been a great sleeper since we brought her home from the hospital. Always slept contently in her crib and her regular bed. But about six months ago, our neighbor’s home was broken into and thousands of dollars of stuff was taken. Andy and I realized that most break-ins happen in the daytime and didn’t really think a ton about it other than how unfortunate that was for the family. Anna, however, became Ms. Homeland Security of Lehman Land. She would make sure all doors and windows were locked and she always made sure the garage was shut so no one would come and take anything from our garage.

Then she started having nightmares–about someone kidnapping her or coming home from school and finding all of our possessions gone. She would wake in the middle of the night crying and asking to sleep on the floor in our bedroom. So of course we told her yes and we would nightly pray with her that her bad dreams be taken away and give her peace.

Fast forward to a month ago. It was starting to get so bad that she would just sleep on our bedroom floor rather than trying to go to sleep in her own bedroom. We knew this wasn’t healthy for her but we didn’t know how to fix it either. That is, until we met Dr. Robert Oexman. He did a phone interview with us, asking multiple questions about our sleeping patterns, and we told him about Anna. He talked to her like a father talks to his child. He was so nice and caring for her! You could really feel over the landline how he wanted to help her.

So what we did is we would go into her room with her at bedtime per Dr. Oexman’s advice. I have an iPod touch that has some ocean wave sounds and a timer. I’d set the timer for a couple of hours and put the iPod on the docking station. We’d listen to the calming waves, talk about the day, pray, talk about anything she wanted to talk about. After 15 minutes, we left the room and checked on her in 5 minutes. If she was still awake and needed us, then we’d sit in her room with her again for 5 minutes this time not saying much of anything and same thing, leave after 5 minutes and then come back.

Most nights she was out by the 1st 5 minutes. Also in the middle of the night rather than just sleeping on our floor she would have to wake Andy or me up (who ever was on duty that night) and we’d go with her in her room, not talk at all and do the same thing (in her room for 5 minutes, out for 5) until she was back to sleep.

We did have a couple of set backs but really she did very well. She’s sleeping all night in her room alone and in her bed. Her quality of sleep has improved so much, so has ours and we have noticed our bedroom is much bigger now thanks to not having a child laying next to our bed in the morning!

Have you had any problems with your kids taking over your bedroom? Post a comment and tell me! 

Tiffany, Week 14: Sleep and The Scale


Did you know that lack of sleep could be making you fat? That was a, well, wake-up call for me. I’m not getting enough sleep and I’m considered morbidly obese. I need to listen to the experts. They might know a thing or two.

As I’ve shared in the past I wasn’t the best sleeper. I would take the evening and, like millions of other women, spend way too much empty time online or watching mindless television. In this challenge I’ve learned how truly important it is to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

Stephanie, the nutritionist we’ve been working with, sent me a link to an article about how the lack of sleep may cause obesity by affecting the brain’s ability to choose healthy foods. Which totally makes sense. I know in times past when I didn’t get enough rest I’d crave a lot more sweets and want more sugary foods to help keep me pepped up.

Same with drinking too much. You’re sluggish the next day because your body passes out but you mind doesn’t. You deprive it of the rest it needs to truly come down and get into REM sleep. Hence a hangover. I don’t know about you but when I’ve had a night of a little too much celebration, I feel tired no matter how much I’ve slept and napped. Plus then I know I want nothing to eat but food that is so bad for me.

I’m so happy to say that’s behind me. I’m sure I’ll slip here and there but rather than make bad sleeping habits a recurring theme, they will be a one off here and there. Knowing what I know now about how much better I feel when I’ve had a good night’s sleep….Why would I want to go back?

Have you ever tried getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night to see how it impacts your health? Drop me a line and let me know.

Tiffany, Week 14: What’s Your Wind-Down Plan?


It’s week two of the Sleep Challenge and we’re trying to get as many points as we can. One way to do that is to take 30 minutes to unwind before going to bed—without the TV, iPad, computer, video games or anything electronic. What can you do? Some ways Dr. Oexman (the sleep expert who helped design the challenge) suggested for relaxing were to read a real book (not an e-reader), talk to your spouse about your day, spend the time in prayer…you get the gist.

As I mentioned in my last post, we’re also trying to get points for getting 7 or more hours of sleep per night. This was hard in the beginning because of the list of things (surfing the internet, watching TV) I like to do at night after the kids have gone to sleep and I have a moment to myself. I would oftentimes go to bed still not fully ready for bed but knowing I had to at least turn in by midnight so that I wouldn’t be so tired. I used to always think that if I stayed up late then I could have extra coffee to help keep me alert the next day. Not so much.

I have to admit, the wise Dr. Oexman knows his stuff. I still am not going to bed by 9:30 on a Friday or Saturday night. But Monday through Friday we try really hard to get to bed by 10pm at the latest so we can get in at least 7 hours of sleep and I’m shocked at how much better I feel the next day. I don’t get as sleepy as often as I used to and I know Andy loves it too. He feels so much better and with him being on his feet all day everyday he really appreciates a good night of sleep. In the past I wouldn’t go to bed with him because he liked to go to bed where I wanted to stay up. Now I know he loves it that we go to bed together and we both get a good nights rest together.

Could you give up electronics before going to sleep? No last-minute emails, online shopping or clearing off of the DVR. Give it a try tonight and post a comment and let me know how it went tomorrow.