Why is it that when you get back to work after lunch, you could put your head down on your desk and fall fast asleep? And that same feeling hits us double-time after Thanksgiving dinner? Aren’t calories supposed to provide energy? So, why do they make us sleepy? Here’s some science behind this counter-intuitive sleepy after eating phenomenon.
Certain foods, in particular high-fat, high-carb, and high-sugar foods seem to trigger the sleep-induced food coma more than others. And there’s a real reason for this, at least according to Scientific American, who explains that these types of foods trigger a response, called the parasympathetic nervous system response, once they reach the small colon. In laymen terms, this means that the response tells your body to focus on digesting these high carb, fat, and sugar foods, and to slow down other things, like our mental energy.
Further, according to researchers at the Department of Dermatology, San Mateo Medical Center, glucose levels spike in many people after a large meal, and neurons found in the brain which moderate our wakeful state are very sensitive to the body’s glucose level.
It’s also thought that individuals that lead a sedentary lifestyle, don’t get enough quality sleep, or have an underlying medical condition, such as insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, nutritional deficiencies, sleep apnea, or even food allergies may be more prone to feeling sleepy after eating. If you are physically active and are getting enough sleep at night, then you should consider consulting your physician to see if you have a medical condition that could be contributing to your sleepiness after eating.
By following the above tips, there’s a good chance that you’ll feel less sleepy after eating than you used to. However, if this problem persists, definitely consult with your doctor.
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