Why are we so Tired After Thanksgiving Dinner?
Could it be the turkey or the other side dishes that make us so tired?
Thanksgiving, a day for family, giving thanks, and of course wonderful food. Many wait all year for this day, not eating anything the day of to save room for the delicious meal that will be served. Why is it though that post-meal everyone becomes lethargic?
For years, many believed that the reason for this post-meal tiredness was due to the tryptophan in the turkey; however, there is not much more tryptophan in the turkey than in other poultry. It seems that the post-meal tiredness could actually be due to high amounts of sugars and carbohydrates in the delicious sides. As people tend to overeat on this holiday, the large amount of carbs and sugars can cause a spike in blood sugar, leading to a crash in blood sugar which can leave one feeling tired. Since eating a big deal also redirects blood flow to increase at the stomach, as it is now needed in digestion, there is now less blood flow to the brain which can also be the reason for being tired.
Tryptophan is needed to make serotonin (the happy hormone). The by-product of turning tryptophan into serotonin is melatonin. Research shows that it may be the serotonin in one’s brain from the excitement that becomes metabolized into melatonin as the protein and carbohydrates are digested. Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone, so as the meal is digested the serotonin in one’s brain is turned into melatonin making individuals so tired after this big meal.
Everyone may be affected by this post-meal; tiredness for all different reasons, but some helpful ways to avoid this post-meal tiredness would be to eat smaller portions, slow down while eating, and stop eating once full. These can all help reduce the chance of a massive blood sugar spike. Taking a walk before or after the meal may also be beneficial as the movement can help your digestive system work through the meal you ate as well and it might even increase your energy.
This blog was written for Healthy Young Nevada by Morgan, an intern at Immunize Nevada.