Why Do You Feel Tired and Sleepy After a Meal?

Sleepy man having coffee

If you usually feel sleepy or drowsy after a meal, you may be wondering if this is normal or something you should be worried about. In general, the sudden urge to take a nap after eating is normal and is not usually a cause of concern. You should take note, however, that a number of factors can still affect what you are feeling after consuming a meal.

What you eat matters

While food is digested the same way, they don’t have the same effects on your mood and body. Protein-rich food (especially turkey), for instance, contain amino acid tryptophan that aids in the production of serotonin (a natural mood stabilizer). It can make you feel calmer, happier, and less anxious, which can then induce sleepiness.

The same can also be said about carbohydrates, which can make people sleepier than other food choices. Certain fruits like banana may also have the same effect, as this contains minerals that can relax your muscles. Studies suggest that banana aids in promoting sleep, as they contain carbs and natural muscle-relaxants like potassium and magnesium.

You don’t need to stop eating these food items to avoid feeling sleepy, but it is still best to maintain a balanced diet with a mix of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Family doctors in Salem also recommend drinking lots of water and avoiding sugary and fatty food.

The amount of food you eat

Postprandial somnolence (also known as food coma) or feeling sleepy after having a meal is more likely if you consume a large meal. This is the reason why those who eat larger lunches usually experience an afternoon slump than those who eat less. This can also cause your blood sugar to rise, which may then be followed by a drop in energy, causing you to feel tired or drowsy.

You can benefit from eating smaller yet frequent meals, instead of consuming larger servings. It is also advisable to avoid drinking alcohol with a meal (particularly during daytime), as this can only increase your sleepiness and make you less alert.

Amount and quality of sleep

Apart from your food choices and the amount of food you eat, your sleep quality can all affect how you feel after eating. Not getting adequate quality sleep can lead to low energy levels throughout the day, increasing your risk of experiencing a post-meal slump. This is because being full and relaxed may make your body feel more tired if you didn’t get enough rest in the first place.

This only makes it important to stick to a regular sleeping schedule and minimize stress to get an adequate amount of rest you need. You can benefit from including exercise in your daily routine, which helps reduce fatigue and increase energy levels. It will give you the energy to go through your tasks and lower the risk of post-meal sleepiness.

Feeling a bit tired after a meal is normal. It is your body’s way of responding to the biochemical changes that happen during digestion. Incorporating the tips mentioned above can help prevent post-meal drowsiness. If your sleepiness is disruptive or if adopting positive lifestyle changes does not help, it is best to talk to a family doctor.

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