Why do I fall asleep after I eat?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “why do I fall asleep after I eat?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Why do I fall asleep after I eat? 

The composition of the meal is the main reason why you fall asleep after you eat along with many other reasons. The tiredness and sleepiness sensation after meal consumption is known as postprandial somnolence.

So, eating meals high in proteins is one of the reasons why you feel tired due to the high concentration of tryptophan in protein. Tryptophan can be converted in the body to serotonin, which is involved in the regulation of the sleep cycle. 

High serotonin levels will lead to tiredness and fatigue sensation after the meal. Foods that are high in protein and thus in tryptophan are eggs, chicken, fish, soy products, and cheese. Also, other hormonal changes can occur in the body after meal consumption, especially when ingesting carbohydrates.

As it is well-known that blood glucose is affected by the quantity of carbohydrates ingested. Insulin is the only hormone that is involved in the glucose-lowering process. When you excessively eat carbohydrates, your blood glucose will increase at a rapid rate.

This rapid rise in glucose will stimulate excess secretion of insulin which in his turn will lower the blood glucose. This quick process and the rapid decrease in glycemia will make the person more fatigued and tired due to the hypoglycemia. This is mostly felt after consuming refined carbohydrates. 

Also, the heavier your meal the more you will feel tired mostly when consuming fatty meals like junk food, burgers, and pizza. Because heavy meals need a long time to be completely digested and when digested and absorbed your blood sugar will rise leading to extra somnolence. 

Generally, large meals are coupled with alcohol which worsens the case and will increase your risk of fatigue and sleepiness. More than that, consuming a large quantity of nuts like almonds and walnuts will lead to a drowsiness sensation due to their high melatonin levels.

When the levels of melatonin increase in the blood, the person will feel more tired. In natural cases, melatonin is involved in the sleeping cycle. At night, the levels of melatonin will increase in the blood which will make you more relaxed and relieved when sleeping.

One of the reasons why you feel the postprandial somnolence is because you are not getting enough sleep and you have some disturbance of the circadian rhythm which is the process of the sleep-wake cycle during the 24 hours.

Few people can feel sleepy after a meal due to several health conditions. Both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia in diabetes are a few of the reasons one person can experience dizziness and fatigue after a meal. 

Older adults can suffer from postprandial hypotension, which is a drop in blood pressure that leads to some fatigue after food ingestion. Also, hypothyroidism is a decrease in the activity of the thyroid that will make the patient more prone to fatigue after the meal and during the day.

How to avoid fatigue after eating?

Many steps and tips can be followed by the patient to reduce and avoid his postmeal somnolence of fatigue after a meal. One of the steps is to eat small frequent meals instead of one heavy meal. For example, eat half of your meal and take a snack before and after it.

This way will make digestion easier and will prevent blood sugar fluctuation like hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Some snack ideas can be apples with peanut butter, cheese and whole wheat bread, and nuts like almonds but in moderation because as previously stated it is high in melatonin.

Another tip to follow is to get enough sleep during the day. Try to sleep early at night and do not stay up for a long time. Also, if you feel tired during the day consider taking a short time to refuel your energy thus being productive for the rest of the day.

Physical activity and exercise are the keys to fighting fatigue after a meal and during the day. Walking for 10 to 15 minutes, for example, can stimulate digestion and can regulate your blood glucose thus reducing the risk of sleepiness and tiredness after a large meal.

Moreover, one of the main concerns to take into consideration is the quality of the food you are eating. As mentioned earlier, refined carbohydrates will increase your risk of hyperglycemia followed by hypoglycemia. So, consume whole wheat grains and carbohydrates.

And a tip to follow is to fill half of your plate with vegetables, one-quarter with carbs, and the remaining with proteins. Like that you will feel full due to the fibers in vegetables. Additionally, be attentive to your caffeine intake because despite its capacity to make you feel awake it can have some drawbacks during the day.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “why do I fall asleep after I eat?” and other queries related to this topic.


References

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/why-do-i-get-sleepy-after-eating

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323379#how-to-stop-feeling-tired-after-eating

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