Why Do I Get Sleepy After Eating?

Many people wonder about "why do I get sleepy after eating?" Feeling sleepy after eating is disturbing when you are supposed to work after lunch. Some people blame it on fatigue, drowsiness and tiredness. Feeling sleepy after a meal is normal. However, you may require medication attention if you end up sleeping after every meal. The reasons why you feel sleepy after eating and their remedies are outlined below.

Why Do I Get Sleepy After Eating?

1. Digestive Pattern and Brain Hormones

We require energy to perform normal functions such as breathing. Food provides this energy, which is broken down by the digestive system into glucose or fuel. The body releases hormones such as amylyn, glucagon and cholecystokinin (CCK), which increase blood sugar levels, satiety, and produce insulin, which move into cells to provide energy. At the same time, brain also increases its hormones like serotonin, which leads to drowsiness. Besides, food is also indirectly related to the production of melatonin, another hormone that leads to sleepiness.

2. What You Eat

The body digests all foods in the same way but they affect your body differently. Your diet answers your question, "Why do I get sleepy after eating?" High proteins such as turkey, eggs, fish, spinach, tofu, cheese and soy contain tryptophan which is used by the body to produce serotonin. A balanced diet combined with lots of water and frequent, smaller meals sustain energy.

3. Sleeping Habits

Your sleeping pattern affects your body's response after a meal. It is difficult to stay alert after a meal if you did not get enough rest at night. Your body's automatic response is at rest and you tend to feel sleepy when you are full and relaxed, especially if you had a bad sleep the night before.

Have a regular sleeping pattern and avoid stress. Do not take a midday nap if you have difficulties sleeping at night. However, taking a nap after lunch will keep you alert and improve your physical and mental performance.

4. Not Exercising Enough

You do not reserve any energy in your body by staying inactive. On the contrary, being physically active ensure that you have enough energy throughout the day. Exercising consistently helps you to get better, quality sleep at night and stay alert during the day. It minimizes your chances of feeling sleepy after taking a meal. In addition, regular exercises increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue levels.

5. Underlying Health Conditions

If you fall asleep or feel tired every time you take a meal, chances are that you have underlying medication condition, like celiac disease, anemia, food intolerance, sleep apnea and underactive thyroid. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from any of these conditions and often feel tired especially after a meal, or if your post-meal slump is accompanied by other symptoms. Your doctor will identify the cause of your drowsiness.

6. Food Allergy and Intolerance

Allergies and food intolerance offer additional answers to the question, "why do I get sleepy after eating". Mild allergies cause post-meal drowsiness and alternating bowel movements. For instance, you can alternate between diarrhea and constipation. You can also experience bloating and excess gas.

7. Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiency leads to undigested foods in your stool because your body fails to digest them. Consequently, you won't have enough energy to support you throughout the day and feel sleepy all the time even after meals.

8. Insulin Problem

Some people can't regulate insulin production and use in the body, which lead to diabetic conditions. Mild insulin problems will lead to dizziness, headaches and weakness.

9. Skipping Meal

Breakfast is the most important meal. Skipping breakfast or any other meal may lead to weakness and tiredness. You will end up eating unhealthy foods during the day to compensate that. Unhealthy foods such as fast foods make the condition worse.

How to Deal With Sleepiness After Eating

You can reduce sleepiness after eating by changing your diet and eating habits. The following tips can help you overcome this problem.

1. Eat Nutritional Breakfast

Breakfast sets the energy standard for your day. Hence, your breakfast should include healthy foods such as fruits, whole grain, cereals, bread and yogurt. You won't turn to unhealthy foods during the day if you had a good, healthy breakfast. In addition, a healthy breakfast improves your mental and physical performance throughout the day.

2. Choose Complex-Carbohydrate, High-Protein Foods for Lunch

Take a balanced, healthy lunch and avoid starchy and processed foods. Some of other foods that will improve your energy levels include green beans, chicken breast, avocado, whole wheat bread, pasta, lean meat, crackers, lettuce, broccoli, eggs, tofu, cucumbers, sea vegetables, mustard greens, brown rice among, etc.

3. Eat Frequently in Small Amount

Large meals are likely to make you feel drowsy because they take more energy to digest. Eat smaller meals throughout the day helps. Take a mid-morning snack, small lunch and mid-afternoon snacks to meet your daily calories requirements. Good snacks should not deplete your energy. Do not go for more than three hours without eating.

4. Other Tips

After answering the question, "why do I get sleepy after eating?" these tips will help you overcome drowsiness:

  • Do not take fast foods and high-fat foods for lunch. They contain preservatives, fats, flavor enhancers, sugars and salts. They add calories without nutrients and provide unhealthy fuel.
  • Avoid beer and wine at lunch. Alcohol's sedative properties increase fatigue levels.
  • Take less caffeine after lunch. Caffeine increases alertness, but has diminishing returns because its effects reduce over time. You have to increase your amount to stay alert.
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