Few things are as appealing as the siren call of sleep after lunch But why do we get sleepy after eating? Food serves as an energy resource, and not a energy source, right?
The human body isn’t so easy, with a variety of elements that come into play to determine how tired an individual feels.
“When we eat food and eat it, it triggers a chain of digestive actions as well as throughout the body.” Claire Shortt, a nutritionist who has background in microbiology explained to Live Science. Claire Shortt is a nutritionist and chief scientist at the health technology firm FoodMarble(opens within a a new tab). She is a specialist in microbiology, and has an undergraduate degree in the field of University College Dublin and a doctorate from the same university in the field of infectious biology.
According to Shortt her research, fluctuating levels of blood sugar(opens in a new tab) levels could possibly be among the major causes of the tired feeling you feel after eating. “When we consume high-sugar food, it could cause blood sugar levels to rise, and then drop rapidly,” she explained. The crash that follows can result in sudden fatigue.
However, this isn’t necessarily the sole thing to think about in order to prevent an afternoon 3 p.m. depression, since our hormones also have a role to play. When we eat, we occasionally notice a rise in the release and production of serotonin. While it is commonly referred to as the “feel good hormone’, it may have other consequences too.
“Increased amounts of hormonal substances could make us feel somewhat drowsy,” Shortt said. “Some scientists suggest that the increased levels of serotonin, a hormone, could causes this.
“Serotonin plays an important role in our sleep and mood cycles. If levels increase after eating it may cause you feel tired.”
A review of studies published in the href=”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17004850/#:~:text=Serotonin%20has%20been%20linked%20to,drowsiness%20and%20loss%20of%20motivation. “>Sports Medicine(opens in a new tab) journal says:
While it’s impossible to be confirmed the serotonin levels following a meal could cause that awful sensation of being groggy.
Shortt said on Live Science that some foods tend to trigger fatigue than others.
“Eating foods that are rich in amino acids like tryptophan could cause sleepiness. It is due to the fact that it is involved in the creation of serotonin. Tryptophan is present in a variety of proteins-rich foods, including eggs, cheese turkey, tofu and so on.
“Some other food items, such as cherries, could alter the levels of melatonin in your body that could improve your sleep. You can also purchase milk that contains the highest levels of melatonin aimed to improve sleeping quality.”
A study in 2015 that examined its physiological consequences of the hormone melatonin(opens in a new tab) was released in the Neurochirurgie journal confirms the link between the levels of melatonin and sleep. It says: “There is some evidence that melatonin is a stabilizer and enhances the the coupling of circadian rhythms particularly of sleep-wake cycles and core temperature.”
It’s difficult to give an exhaustive list of the ingredients you should use for a more relaxed mood after eating. According to Shortt the reason is that the reaction of a person to specific types of food could also be due to intolerances or allergies.
“Feeling exhausted or fuzzy after eating, also known as brain fog, is a common occurrence in people who suffer from food intolerances and allergies as well as those with an illness known as small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO can be identified using the breath test for glucose or lactulose. test. Talk to your physician if that you be suffering from SIBO.”
HOW TO AVOID FEELING SLEEPY AFTER EATING
While the research has yet to come up with a definitive solution to the reason why people experience a feeling of sleepiness following a meal, Shortt advised that there are steps people could take if they’re looking to boost their productivity levels in the afternoon.
“Including high-fiber foods in your meals can help you maintain your blood sugar levels and help avoid crashing which means you’re less likely to fall asleep,” said Shortt. “Try to eat a regular diet and stay away from eating large portions. It can cause a lot of stress on your digestive system and make you feel exhausted and slow.”