Feeling sleepy after eating is a common experience, especially after lunch. It can make it difficult to stay awake and focused when you have a long day ahead of you and you need to focus.
So why does this happen? And how can you solve or reduce this sudden attack of tiredness?
8 reasons why you feel sleepy after eating
Here are 8 reasons why you feel sleepy after eating and how to prevent it in 7 ways.
Feeling sleepy can sometimes be traced to a very simple root: not getting enough sleep in an obvious way. If you normally feel a little sleepy during the day and it seems worse after meals, the first thing you can do is review your sleeping habits. Your problems may be due to:
- Not getting enough sleep the day before
- Poor quality sleep (sleeping without sufficient deep restorative sleep)
- Maintain an uneven sleep schedule
2. Eat a lot of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates give you energy and are good for you. But eating too much can contribute to many health problems, and on the tip of the iceberg is the drowsiness you probably feel after eating too many carbohydrates in one sitting.
Why did this happened? Well, carbohydrates help the body produce higher levels of serotonin. On the one hand, serotonin can stimulate positive thinking and regulate mood. On the other hand, it balances your sleep cycles, so eating too much will make you drowsy.
While all carbohydrates can make you sleepy, refined ones tend to be the worst, so try to opt for whole foods. Carbohydrates that can cause drowsiness, including the following:
- Baked goods
- White bread
- Sugary foods and drinks
3. Consume a lot of tryptophan
Tryptophan is a type of amino acid found in certain types of protein-rich foods. You can associate the drowsiness you feel after a Thanksgiving dinner with positive memories. Still, it’s a lot less convenient when it gets in the way of your everyday life, not your relaxing vacation!
Like carbohydrates, tryptophan facilitates serotonin production, so it will likely make you feel drowsy after ingesting it. Regulating the consumption of these foods should reduce the severity of their effects somewhat. Here are some examples of foods rich in this amino acid:
4. Your levels of physical activity
Do you tend to feel tired throughout the day, only to become critical after meals? You may want to blame your activity levels rather than your food!
Exercise can be exhausting when you do it, but regular exercise makes you stronger and more enjoyable. positive days and higher energy levels. This can help avoid the worst of tiredness after meals.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. This means half an hour of exercise five times a week!
5. High food consumption
Have you ever noticed that you feel more sleepy after a large meal? This is due to the sudden increase in blood sugar due to large meals. This spike in glucose levels means your energy sinks soon after.
This happens twice when those heavy meals involve carbohydrates or the protein tryptophan. Since most heavy meals tend to be high carbohydrates, you’re essentially making you so sleepy, after you’re done, it’s almost inevitable!
6. Consume specific foods that promote sleep
Many foods inadvertently promote drowsiness. The Sleep Foundation lists some of the following recommendations to help you get more sleep, so it goes without saying that they are also likely to make you sleepy when you don’t want to.
Tart cherries are a bit different from typical sweet cherries, and while both can be sleepy, tart cherries are especially potent. The juice from these cherries can help you sleep faster and longer, say studies, thanks to the high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin they contain.
Walnuts contain a variety of minerals and components that promote sleep. Zinc, magnesium, and even melatonin are found in different amounts in nuts such as pistachios, walnuts, cashews, and almonds. This combination has been found to have positive effects on insomnia and may make you sleepy.
Kiwifruit is rich in minerals and vitamins, which include folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. They are also packed with antioxidants. Some combination of these components is believed to help people feel drowsy more quickly, either due to promoting serotonin or correcting deficiencies, but more investigation necessary.
7. Medical problems
It is rare, but sometimes drowsiness after meals can be a symptom of a medical condition. Usually this is accompanied by general fatigue on a chronic or constant scale. Some examples of these medical problems are:
- Celiac Disease
- Food intolerance or food allergy
- Sleep apnea
- Underactive thyroid
If you are concerned about these problems, you should speak to a doctor, especially if you have other symptoms of these diseases and disorders.
The natural digestive cycle is such that it is almost natural to feel a little sleepy after eating. To better understand this, let’s go through each step of that process quickly and easily.
- Step 1: You eat food for energy.
- Step 2: The digestive system breaks food down into glucose, which feeds the body.
- Step 3: Individual macronutrients are selected and provide different benefits to the body. For example, calories from protein can be used for energy.
- Step 4: As blood sugar or blood glucose rises in the body, the body produces insulin to help cells absorb glucose. When this process ends, blood sugar drops, lowering energy levels.
- Step 5: The digestion process triggers other bodily responses. Hormones are released in the body that promote satiety or fullness, such as glucagon, amylin, and cholecystokinin. Another hormone released is serotonin, which regulates sleep and causes drowsiness, especially when combined with foods that contain the sleep hormone melatonin.
As you can see, the digestive process produces hormones that can make you feel drowsy, and glucose changes in the body add to that tiredness. Basically, if you feel sleepy after eating, it could be because this is how your body handles its digestive process!
How to prevent feeling sleepy after eating
1. Control your portions
Eating smaller meals does a few things, namely:
- Slows digestion, reducing the resulting sluggishness
- It prevents you from feeling bloated and uncomfortable, which can make you drowsy.
- Makes you hungry more often, leading to more frequent meals, balancing high and low blood sugar levels
In other words, by controlling your portions, you are helping your body to handle the digestive process in a more positive way, avoiding the associated drowsiness that can arise from it.
2. Take a walk
Taking a walk helps you feel more energetic by increasing the oxygen levels in your bloodstream. It also helps ease circulation, which in turn speeds up the digestive process.
A short ten-minute walk can also boost your positive thinking, making you more likely to feel able to overcome sleepiness after meals.
3. Drink enough water
Did you know that even very mild dehydration can negatively affect your positive thinking, ability to concentrate and energy levels? This is why you need to make sure you are getting enough hydration.
You should consume about eight glasses, or two liters, or water a day, but in general, you should also drink whenever you are thirsty. Drinking enough fluids can help your body overcome depression after meals, especially since water is crucial in almost every function of the body, including digestion.
4. Chew gum
Chewing a moderate amount of gum for a reasonable period of time can help facilitate wakefulness, alertness, mood, and memory, according to studies.
This happens because chewing is an activity that helps your body feel like it is in the middle of an action. This allows you to maintain energy levels or regain them if you have lost them. Mint-flavored gum is beneficial, thanks to its refreshing taste.
5. Avoid unhealthy foods
Junk food, food high in sugar, and food high in bad fats can increase drowsiness. This is because they often facilitate a higher and sharper blood sugar spike, making the subsequent drop much more drastic and noticeable.
Eat healthy, lean meats, whole foods, vegetables, healthy fats, and other nutritious options to help you feel more awake and energized after meals.
Keep in mind that alcohol is also considered an “unhealthy” option in most cases. While a little alcohol is fine in moderation, you should limit the amount you consume if you are trying to avoid drowsiness.
6. Spend time in bright light
Light dictates the body’s natural circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycles. In low light, the body begins to produce the sleep hormone melatonin, which makes you more tired.
On the contrary, exposing yourself to bright light, especially bright natural light, will help you feel more alert and awake if you can get anything done.
7. If all else fails, take a nap
As a general rule of thumb, you should do your best not to nap in the middle of the day, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night. But when it comes down to it, if you really can’t keep your eyes open after a midday meal, a quick nap might be your best solution.
Studies have indicated that a nap after lunch can positively affect performance, both physical and mental, while helping you stay more alert. If this is how you are going to survive the day, then it is as good a bet as any!
After eating, feeling sleepy can be a major inconvenience when you have work to do and have several hours of light ahead of you. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent this or help you recover again if it happens. So all you need to do is understand what may be causing it and work from there!