Why Does Turkey Make You Sleepy? Unraveling the Mystery of Post-Turkey Slumber

Ah, Thanksgiving A time for family, friends, and, of course, a heaping plate of delicious turkey But why, oh why, does that turkey always leave us feeling so sleepy afterwards? Is it just the sheer volume of food we consume, or is there something more to this post-turkey slumber?

Fear not, fellow turkey enthusiasts, for we’re here to unravel the mystery of the sleepy bird. Buckle up as we dive into the science behind turkey’s snooze-inducing effects and explore some tips for staying awake after your Thanksgiving feast.

The Science of Sleepiness: Tryptophan Takes the Stage

The culprit behind our post-turkey drowsiness is a sneaky little amino acid called tryptophan. This protein building block plays a crucial role in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, and appetite.

When we gobble down that juicy turkey our bodies get a hefty dose of tryptophan. This tryptophan then competes with other amino acids for a ride on the bloodstream’s protein highway. And guess who wins? Yep, tryptophan takes the express lane leaving its competitors in the dust.

Once tryptophan reaches the brain, it gets busy converting itself into serotonin. This surge in serotonin sends a signal to our brains that it’s time to wind down and catch some Z’s.

Beyond Tryptophan: Other Factors Contributing to Sleepiness

While tryptophan is the main suspect in the case of post-turkey sleepiness, it’s not the only factor at play. Other contributors include:

  • Carbohydrate Overload: Thanksgiving meals are often laden with carbs, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. This surge can lead to a subsequent crash, leaving us feeling sluggish and tired.
  • Digestive Distress: All that food can put a strain on our digestive systems, leading to bloating, discomfort, and, yes, you guessed it, sleepiness.
  • The Calorie Conundrum: Thanksgiving feasts are notorious for being calorie-dense. Consuming a large amount of calories in one sitting can make us feel lethargic and ready for a nap.
  • The Ambiance of Relaxation: Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is a time for relaxation and family bonding. The cozy atmosphere and the lack of pressing commitments can naturally make us feel more inclined to curl up on the couch and take a snooze.

Tips for Staying Awake After Thanksgiving Dinner

So, how can we resist the siren call of the post-turkey slumber and stay awake to enjoy the rest of our Thanksgiving festivities? Here are a few tips:

  • Go Easy on the Tryptophan: While it’s impossible to avoid tryptophan altogether, you can minimize its intake by focusing on leaner cuts of turkey and opting for other protein sources like fish or tofu.
  • Balance Your Plate: Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your Thanksgiving meal to help balance out the carbohydrates and prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Move It or Lose It: Get your body moving after dinner with a brisk walk, a game of touch football, or even just a dance party in the living room. Physical activity can help boost energy levels and combat drowsiness.
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, including during and after your meal, can help keep you feeling alert and energized.
  • Skip the Nap: Resist the urge to take a post-meal nap. A short power nap might seem tempting, but it can actually make you feel more groggy later on.
  • Enjoy the Coffee: If all else fails, a cup of coffee or tea can provide a much-needed caffeine boost. Just be mindful of your caffeine intake later in the day to avoid disrupting your sleep.

So, there you have it, folks! The mystery of the sleepy turkey is solved. While tryptophan plays a significant role, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. By understanding the various factors that contribute to post-turkey drowsiness and implementing a few simple strategies, we can stay awake and enjoy the rest of our Thanksgiving celebrations.

Now, my friends, go forth and feast, but keep in mind to do so mindfully and in moderation. And don’t worry if you do end up falling into a post-turkey slumber—we’ve all been there. Simply inhale deeply, savor the occasion, and know that you’ll soon return to your vibrant self.

Does Turkey Actually Make You Sleepy?


Why do you fall asleep when you eat turkey?

A mainstay on the dinner table at this time of year, turkey contains tryptophan, which is widely believed to be responsible for the uncontrollable yawns and sudden snoozes common after huge family feasts.

How much turkey does it take to make you sleepy?

About 3 ounces (oz) of turkey breast contains between 180–244 mg of tryptophan. 2 You would have to eat about 61–84 oz of turkey to get 5,000 mg of tryptophan. That means it’s very likely that tryptophan alone is not solely responsible for your sleepiness.

Is there melatonin in turkey?

Here’s the lowdown: turkey contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which produces sleep-promoting serotonin and melatonin. But turkey has about the same amount of tryptophan as other meats.

Is turkey high in tryptophan?

Poultry. We can’t have a list of tryptophan-rich foods without mentioning poultry, particularly turkey and chicken, which are high on the list. Per pound, turkey contains somewhere between 303 mg and 410 mg of tryptophan, and chicken contains a bit less, somewhere between 238 mg and 256 mg.

Why does eating turkey Make you Sleepy?

Dr. Naidoo added that tryptophan “helps support the healthy production of neurotransmitters including serotonin, which plays a role in producing the sleep-supporting hormone melatonin —which helps explain why eating turkey makes us sleepy.”

Can turmeric affect sleep patterns?

The first benefit of drinking turmeric before bed is that it can help liver detoxification. Turmeric has been shown to be beneficial for the liver. In your body, turmeric will act as a cleanser and prevent the buildup of fatty acids in your liver. It also had anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. The main component of turmeric is a substance called curcumin which helps in reducing inflammation in the body and fights bacteria, viruses and fungi. That would make it a great remedy for treating colds and sore throats. Turmeric also acts as an antioxidant in the body. Research shows that turmeric can reduce oxidative stress that can generate free radicals in your body. Several components of turmeric are known to stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, thereby making the digestive system more efficient.

Why does one feel tiered and sleepy after eating when they have anemia?

Anemia is a diseased condition where your red blood cell levels are low. RBCs carry oxygen to various tissues in our body. Thus when their number is reduced, oxygen carrying capacity of blood will also reduce. Digestion is a process which requires lot of energy production which points out the need of tremendous oxygen molecules. Due to low levels of oxygen in the blood in an anemic patient, he/she feels tired after eating when digestion process is taking place inside digestive system.

What are the health benefits of ground turkey?

Ground turkey has multiple benefits. It is a good source of minerals, and B vitamins, rich in proteins, low in fat and it is lower in calories than common turkey.

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