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Why Eating Makes Us Sleepy?

We’ve all experienced the infamous post-food drowsiness. This feeling actually has a name; postprandial somnolence. It’s quite common to feel an urge to take a nap after eating, but why exactly does this happen? There are a few factors that can affect how tired you may get after eating.


As you may have already realized, the type of food you eat plays a big role in just how fatigued you may be after a meal. Food that tends to be richer in macronutrients such as carbohydrates and protein are usually the foods that will tire you out more. This is because they promote the absorption to a protein called tryptophan. Tryptophan leads to the production of serotonin, which is a chemical involved in mood and sleep patterns. Some foods that are high in protein are salmon, poultry, eggs, spinach, seeds, milk, soy products, and cheese. A few carbohydrates high foods are pasta, rice, white bread and crackers, cakes, cookies, donuts, and muffins, corn, cobs, milk, and sugar. Drinking alcohol with meals has also been shown to increase later drowsiness.

Meal Size:

The amount of food you eat is also important to consider. In general, eating more food equals a greater amount of fatigue.

Timing :

Have you ever noticed feeling especially sleepy after dinner in specific? This is likely due to your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is your body’s natural sleep schedule. Research has shown that you have natural lulls in your activity around the evening as well as midday. This decrease in activity can combine with the relaxedness of eating a full meal to in turn make you quite sleepy.

Physical Exercise:

Exercise plays a role in postprandial somnolence as well. Exercise has been proven to help people on average sleep better at night. This makes it a lot less likely for you to succumb to fatigue after meals throughout the day

Various Health Conditions:

While the occasional fatigue after a meal is fairly normal, some people may have underlying problems causing postprandial somnolence. These conditions can be but are not limited to diabetes, food intolerance or food allergy, sleep apnea, anemia, an underactive thyroid, and celiac disease. Please talk to your doctor if you expect your post-meal fatigue is related to something else.

What can you do to help alleviate postprandial somnolence?

Here are a few strategies you can use to help combat fatigue after eating :

- Eat less and often

- Take a short nap in the day

- Avoid drinking alcohol with meals

- Get a full night of rest

- Increase daily exercise

Works Cited:

Butler, N. (2018, April 19). Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating? Retrieved from HealthLine:

Weatherspoon, D. (2018, October 18). Why do people feel tired after eating? Retrieved from Medical News Today:

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