Many people feel sleepy after eating their lunch and it is considered normal. But have you ever thought why a person feels sleepy after eating. While feeling sleepy and tired after eating may be a normal physiological process in most cases, it can also be a symptom of heath related issue.
While most people may need to take a nap after eating their lunch especially after eating a heavy meal, there are few individuals who are not able to keep their eyes open, no matter of the quality of food they have eaten.
Let us understand the basics of why we feel sleepy after eating.
Our brain and intestine are the two organs in our body that require lot of energy to fulfill their task. After eating a meal there is a surge of blood in the gastrointestinal tract for the purpose of digestion. During this period rest of the organs of the body take time to relax or work slowly. As a result you may feel slight tiredness and laziness after eating.
If you have eaten too much of sweets and sugary food or foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as potato, bakery products etc they are converted into glucose during the process of digestion.Due to excess of glucose in food, the brain releases large quantity of insulin to balance the glucose level in blood. Excess of insulin acts upon a protein called tryptophan to produce serotonin a compound in the brain. This chemical serotonin generally decides when you should sleep. Most of the times the chemical cycle works in order, but sometimes the brain may misinterpret and release excess of serotonin, making you feel sleepy.
You may also feel sleepy after eating foods that are high in tryptophan such as milk, sesame seeds, chicken, egg etc. This is the reason why drinking a glass of milk is advised before bed time.
Why Do I Get Sleepy After Eating?
Sometimes health issues besides making you feel sleepy have additional signs after you eat your meal. Below are given few important health concerns.
Food intolerance: many people besides feeling sleepy may also have to rush to washroom for bowel movement. Even if in a milder stage, a person who has food intolerance to a particular product may complain of diarrhea and constipation.
In some people insulin is not produced in sufficient quantity or in some people it is produced in excess. Those who have excess of insulin are at a risk of developing diabetes. If the insulin issue is not markedly present it can give rise to symptoms such as headache, dizziness etc.
How To Avoid Feeling Sleepy After Eating?
If you want to avoid sleepiness after eating, you can follow some ways that can help you to do so.
- Avoid foods that make you feel sleepy. So do not eat foods that contain too much of sugar. If you have an important meeting to attend after lunch avoid food that contain too much of sugar.
- Eat foods that recharge your brain, instead of making it drowsy. Eat diet that contains green leafy vegetables, salads, fish, lean protein, nuts etc. These foods do not cause instant rise in sugar level. They take time to digest and therefore there is gradual rise of blood sugar. This means there is no surge of insulin from pancreas and you may not be forced to have an afternoon nap. On the contrary these foods are refreshing and will keep you alert.