Sleep and Your Waistline

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Here’s another article from Shape magazine where I talk a bit about the links between sleep and body fat. There’s an interesting body of research showing that when we don’t get enough sleep, several hormones are thrown out of whack (leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol), and our body responds with increased appetite (for junk food) and accelerated belly fat storage. We see this same relationship between less sleep and more belly fat in under-slept moms, stressed business people, overtrained athletes, and anxious students – it’s about as close as you can get to a true modern health epidemic when you make the links between lack of sleep and – diabetes – obesity – heart disease – cancer – and depression.

Take a read and let me know your thoughts…

Thanks for reading,


About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultramarathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and with high vigor.


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My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

?                Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

?                The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

?                Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at

?                The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at

?                The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at

?                Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at

6 Reasons You Need More Sleep

And how to put yourself on snooze control—tonight!

By Ysolt Usigan
woman eating cake

Sleep Curbs Unhealthy Cravings

Although most people get around five to seven hours of sleep a night, experts caution that number should really be somewhere closer to eight hours of sleep. “The problem with being chronically sleep-deprived (as in, missing one to two hours nightly) is that the body perceives the sleep loss as a “stress,” which increases levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol (which interferes with insulin function),” says Shawn Talbott, nutritional biochemist and author of “The Secret Vigor: How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy.”

That means blood sugar regulation is compromised and you’ll crave more sweets and junk food. The increased appetite for unhealthy snacks puts you at risk for abdominal weight gain, diabetes and obesity. Yikes!


Sleep Repairs and Rebuilds Cells

When we sleep, our body helps repair and rebuild cells more efficiently, says Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit. “This will also help strengthen our immune system to fight sickness and disease,” he explains.
Sleep Improves Memory

Sleep Improves Memory

The right amount of sleep can improve your memory, creativity, and awareness. “Another job our body performs more effectively while we sleep is repairing neurons in the cerebral cortex of the brain, which is related to improving memory and concentration,” Saunders explains.
woman blowing her nose

Sleep Prevents Illness

Not only can enough sleep keep you at a healthy weight, it can also help prevent medical illnesses. “Sleep deprivation is often derived from an untreated sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea or snoring and can cause serious medical illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart failure,” says Dr. David Volpi, Founder of Eos Sleep (formerly Manhattan Snoring & Sleep Center).
Sleep Improves Energy

Sleep Improves Your Energy Level

Some of the most obvious benefits of getting enough sleep are improved energy, vitality and endurance, says Randy Ganther, weight loss expert. With enough sleep, you’ll be able to function the best of your ability at work, during your workouts and even during sex.

Sleep Helps Beat Depression

If you get an adequate amount of sleep, you improve your mood. Insomnia increases your risk for depression and anxiety, says Elizabeth Lombardo, psychologist and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. But Lombardo cautions that there is such a thing as too much sleep. For instance, people who are depressed often sleep 12 or more hours a night.
How to Get More Sleep

How to Get More Sleep Tonight

Daniel Cohen, a holistic health and wellness counselor, suggests the following tips to help you get more sleep:

Get into a routine. Try going to bed half an hour earlier each week or set a bedtime. This will get your body used to a schedule.

Relax before bed. Turning the television off and taking some time out for yourself before bedtime, whether it be relaxing with a good book or meditating. This will help reset your brain and get it into sleep mode.

Cut out the caffeine! As we all know, caffeine keeps us stay alert and ready to start the day. If you are the type of person that gets a jolt from caffeine, cutting it out four to six hours before bedtime can help ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep.

Eat a high-protein snack before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan your body needs to process melatonin and serotonin.

Avoid alcohol You may think that having a drink before bed might make you sleepy, but the effects are short lived. You will often awake several hours later, unable to fall back to sleep.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

  • I have sleep apnea, which basically means I don’t get enough deep sleep. I can tell you firsthand that these things Dr Talbott speaks of are true…

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    Solve the 3 Main Sleep Problems
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