It’s Not the Turkey That’s Making You Tired After Thanksgiving Dinner 

Everyone knows the feeling, the excitement of Thanksgiving dinner, eating the delicious food, plopping yourself on the couch after, and feeling this wave of sleepiness rush into your body. Before you know it, you’ve passed out on the couch in a deep sleep. Many people blame the tryptophan in turkey for the reason behind the sleepiness, but it’s a myth.     

Why You Feel So Tired After the Thanksgiving Feast 

In a Science Insider video, Dr. Daniel Barone, a neurologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and assistant professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, explains why you feel tired after having a large meal on Thanksgiving.  It is because of the colossal amounts of food you have eaten.  After eating a big meal, you experience postprandial fatigue, which is when your body goes into shutdown mode so you can get some sleep.

Many countries have “siestas” taken after lunch because that’s another time your body goes into postprandial fatigue, and a nap can help with that. Falling asleep or being relaxed helps the body digest the food you just ate and uses the nutrients to heal the body.  

Don’t Blame the Turkey!  

In an Orlando Health article, Dr. Rodolfo Torres explains why it’s not the turkey’s fault that you’re feeling sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal. Turkey contains tryptophan, a hormone that helps you relax and makes you drowsy, but turkey has 250-310 milligrams of tryptophan in one 3-ounce serving, which is a minimal amount. 

Another culprit of the drowsiness is carbohydrates. Mountains of food are involved in a Thanksgiving meal, and there are always loads of carbs. From the stuffing to the potatoes to the mac and cheese, carbs are everywhere. Eating carbohydrates causes insulin to dip, which makes you feel tired. Your body will make you feel like you’re ready for bed after your meal because your digestive system wants to break down all the food you just ate.     

Avoid the Fatigue 

Sometimes it’s not too fun to feel stuffed and tired after your Thanksgiving meal. If you want to avoid that post-Thanksgiving nap, here are some ideas:   

  • Eat a little throughout the entire day. You won’t be starving when dinner comes, and it will help you avoid loading up your plate. 
  • Take small portions of everything and try only to have one serving. 
  • Eat slowly to let your brain catch up with your stomach. 
  • Stop eating once you feel full. 
  • Get active before or after your meal; Go for a walk or throw around the ole pigskin. 
  • Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast this year, in moderation, and be thankful for everything you have! 

Check in with the QDME Journal for new blogs and interesting topics! 

Sleep Foods, Thanksgiving, Sleep Health, Turkey

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