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Why do I Fall Asleep After Meals?

Nov 11, 2017

Do you feel sleey after eating meals? If yes, then have you ever wondered why? Whatever you call it mid-afternoon dullness, sleepiness, drowsiness or tiredness,this phenomena happens for a reason. If you're not clear about the reasons, you must read this article to find out them and to know if you should be alarmed about it!

Why Are You Falling Asleep After Eating?

It gets difficult for most people to keep their eyes open after eating; this is not due to laziness. In fact, you may find it interesting that there are clear biological reasons that may explain why some people experience absolute fatigue after eating.

1. Natural Body Function

Some healthcare professionals and experts associate the types of food people eat with the after-effects on the energy levels. However, the sleepy feeling after eating has more to do with the increased tendency towards the sleep naturally. The two most important factors that are directly affected are the sleep drives and the circadian rhythm.

  • ŸThe chemical accumulation in our brains controls the sleep drive which further determines the time a person stays awake or asleep after the meal. The more time a person stays up, the more adenosine builds up.Then the individual ends up having extreme craving for sleep. This happens more in the afternoon than mornings and the peak time is just before bedtime.
  • ŸCircadian rhythm is a signal of keeping your body and nervous system alert. It also restricts us from getting asleep for the whole day and reacts against the adenosine levels. In early afternoon, there is a glitch and the sleepiness uncovers itself, which becomes one more reason for falling asleep after eating.

2. Food Causes

There are certain foods that may result in increased tendency to fall asleep as we have mentioned above, especially the foods that contain high amount of carbs or sugars. Generally, the foods affect the sleeping after eating because of the changes of the following aspects.

  • Ÿ  Blood sugar

The cells in our body get most of the energy from glucose molecules which are formed by starch and sugar carbs. Even both of them are important for the body to get fueled, sugar metabolizes in human body faster than starch and transforms into glucose alone. This glucose increases the body’s blood sugar levels rapidly, causing the release of large amount of insulin to pick up and utilize extra glucose. Then your blood sugar drops much quickly, draining the energy of body and making you feel tired.

  • Ÿ  Carbs

Each type of carbohydrate requires a specific enzyme to degrade the long molecules into smaller units of glucose. If there is a relative or absolute deficiency of certain enzymes in your body, the degradation process of carbohydrates get slow. You may also face gastrointestinal problems other than feeling of sleepiness and drowsiness. So, you must keep an active update of the foods that may cause such problems.

  • Ÿ  Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid responsible for draining the energy levels of your body. It has been found in turkey. Carbs that have been talked above can ease the utilization of tryptophan for our brain. Therefore, the increasing level of tryptophan can increase the likelihood of falling asleep after eating. That is also why foods having proteins and carbohydrates are known as best snacks before sleeping.

3. Medical Causes

If the desire to sleep after eating keeps increasing and gets worse, you must consult your doctor because the problem could be due to some medical causes as well. These medical problems could be anemia, diabetics, kidney issues, hypothyroidism or an infection. The increased problem of falling asleep can also be due to imbalance of electrolytes, allergic reaction or lack of sleep at night. If you are on a medication, then it could also be a reason for increased desire of sleep and cause severe sleeping disorders. So if you notice any other reasons, rather than foods of increased sleepiness, get yourself checked by your doctor as early as possible.

Can You Stop Falling Asleep After a Meal?

It is difficult and sometimes impossible to halt this sleepy feeling after eating, but it can be reduced by following techniques.

  • You can minimize the fatigue after eating by changing your eating habits and switching to healthy foodswhich have increased amount of fiber, such as beans, fresh fruits and whole-grains.
  • Caffeine or tea can be used to fight against the sleepy feeling after lunch.
  • You may also take a nap of 10 to 20 minutes after the lunch.
  • Changing timings of your meals by having the dinner in early evening will also be helpful.
  • Walking or small exercises just after the dinner might also help. Gather your family for a walking and make it fan. These activities not only restrict you from falling asleep after eating, but also provide with other health benefits including weight loss and better outlook.
  • ŸMake changes in your schedule and make sureto have complete sleep for the body.