Why eating too much makes us sleepy

Ever felt exhausted after eating? Like you could just fall into a deep sleep right where you’re sitting? Well, it’s a natural response that can be explained due to a myriad of factors. And now that it’s holiday season, you’ll more than likely be eating a little more than usual over Christmas, loading up on plate after plate of food. All your relatives have brought their own dish and you have to try everything so that no one gets offended. After eating such a big meal, you may find yourself ready for bed – and here’s why.



The way that your body digests food is one way of explaining a response like tiredness. Foods are used by the body to create energy and keep us active. As glucose enters the bloodstream, hormones are also released. Insulin is released as a response to this increase in glucose in the bloodstream, but other hormones released during digestion include serotonin, which is linked to drowsiness.



You are what you eat, and in this case, you’re a big, sleepy monster with a Santa hat on. The foods that you eat are more often than not associated with your body’s response, due to the nutrients and hormones they contain.

To get a little scientific, a study shows that “excessive secretion of insulin, which is the body's way of trying to balance blood sugar levels, causes tryptophan to move into the brain, where it is metabolised into serotonin and melatonin. These neurotransmitters have a calming effect and help regulate sleep.”

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in cheese, eggs, and other forms of food that promotes sleep. A study found that feeding infants formulas differing in tryptophan concentration produced differences in sleep latency, which could influence neurobehavioral developments.

Foods like cherries also naturally contain melatonin, which promotes better sleep. Consuming these foods can be connected with feelings of wanting to sleep due to the increase of this hormone in the body.

Thus the combination to tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin, all play in role in inducing your drowsy state of mind.


Your Sleep Schedule:

You could generally feel tired because you haven’t been getting adequate sleep. After eating, people normally rest to let their food digest, so if your sleep cycle is erratic it makes sense then that while at rest your body responds by wanting to fall asleep.

Getting adequate sleep depends on your diet and your level of activity, which is going to be dealt in the next point. A combination of this will promote a healthy sleep cycle that will ensure that you are active during the day, and able to sleep without trouble at night. 


Physical activity:

The more physically active you are, the more likely that you’ll be alert during the day. Many of us live sedentary lifestyles whereby we always feel exhausted because of lack of energy production in the body. By staying active, like a well-oiled reindeer, you’ll be able to conquer the day and get a good night’s sleep when you want.

Regular exercise and working out is necessary for everyone who wants to get a better night’s sleep, while being alert during the day. Everyone needs to remember to lower their online activity, glued to screens, and to increase the amount of times they spend outdoors, or use a few extra seconds to take the stairs. Whatever you do, slowing down to a halt is not beneficial to your health.


It’s A Perfectly Normal Response:

In general, feeling a little hazy after eating a big meal is nothing to worry about, because it’s a natural response. You shouldn't feel worried that you feel a little tired, because it’s also important that you give your body time to digest food before getting back into the intensity of life. And because it’s Christmas time, why not to advantage of your tiredness and have a well-deserved nap. Everything in life needs to be done in balance, and balancing your work, eating, and sleep schedule is no different.

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