challenge 4

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! 

A Hidden Benefit Of Working Out: Better Sleep

Woman walking

A good sweat season may boost your mental health, help you slim down and even prevent illness. Plus there’s one more benefit to add to the list: Giving you a good night’s sleep.

Even though research supports a correlation between exercise and sleep, there is no set formula for seeing the benefits. You’ll need to experiment to know what works best for your body. For busy moms, the best time for exercise is when you can fit it into your day. You may find a morning boot camp class is ideal for squeezing in fitness, while others prefer a good run during their lunch hour. Or perhaps days are too hectic and the after-work Zumba class is when you’re revved and ready to go.

One word of caution: It’s probably best not to pop in an exercise DVD right before bed. Working out so close to lights out can make you feel energized when you are trying to come down from the stress and pressure of the day. And who wants to be up until 2 a.m.? A workout can also make you hungry. That’s fine during the day when you need the calories for energy, but at night, you don’t want to overeat before sleeping because it may interrupt your zzz’s.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Peggy, Week 15: Resisting Temptation At Family Gatherings

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Although we often get together with our brothers, sisters, and parents, the extended family typically only gets together for special events; weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Family get-togethers usually revolve around food.

My father-in-law is an awesome chef! He runs a Saturday “soup kitchen” for an organization called SHIP, Summit Helping Its People, in Summit, NJ. He makes everything from hot wings to peanut butter pie, rack of lamb to Oreo cookie cheesecake. Not only does it look as if it came off the cover of a cooking magazine, but it tastes like he was a Top Chef! Dad A. typically makes the menu for any family get-together; I simply lend a hand–even when hosting the event at our house!

Peter’s cousin, Mark, was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, a stage IV brain tumor. Glioblastomas are not known for being tumors that you can live with for many years.  He had surgery and his first round of chemotherapy and radiation, and he decided to scratch off a few items from his bucket list. On Tuesday, he married his girlfriend, Carla and they embarked on a whirlwind tour of NY-NJ. His honeymoon trip was shared with his son, Nick and his brother, Ricky, and sister-in-law, Jo-Ann. They used my in-law’s house as their home base, and took a trip to NYC. Mark has always been a Mets fan, so they planned a trip to the game. Ricky’s wife called ahead, and the Mets gave them the VIP treatment. They got pressroom seats, and an opportunity to go on the field and meet the players. The Mets even won the game!

We live near Atlantic City, and Mark wanted to go to the casino, so we hosted a party at our house. My father-in-law brought four desserts: rice pudding, peanut butter pie, cheesecake and a chocolate cake. The desserts followed: sausage, steak, baked beans, green salad, potato salad, pasta salad and watermelon!

NOTE: Everyone knows what I should have eaten: watermelon, green salad and a little steak. I would have felt satisfied, and still stayed on my new life plan. That is what Peter did; well, that plus one little slice of cheesecake. He made good choices. I did not.

After everyone left, I should not have stood with the refrigerator door ajar and a knife in my hand, taking just a small slice of peanut butter pie. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, right?

What did I learn? I cannot resist temptation! I took the leftover cake to work; something I have not done before this challenge began, so maybe I am changing–just a little slower than I would like.

How do you avoid giving into decadent foods when your family gets together? Post a comment and tell me.

Categories: Peggy's Updates | Tags: , , ,
Comments Off

Challenge Yourself: What You Should (and Shouldn’t Do) to Get More Sleep

For the past two weeks, you’ve read about how Peggy and Tiffany are trying to get more sleep. If you’re also struggling to catch more zzzs, it’s important to know what’s beneficial–and what’s counterproductive–to achieving that.

For example, did you know that exercising after dinner won’t keep you up for hours? Or that you should never use your snooze button? Learn why, and read more ways to get better sleep here.

What’s the most interesting change you’ve made to achieve better sleep? Share in the comments below.

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.