Most people will often have experienced a food coma before.
That feeling of needing a nap after a particularly big meal. So why do we feel sleepy after eating?
But why do we experience these so-called food comas?
The lethargic feeling you get after eating is technically called postprandial somnolence.
You experience this after eating meals rich in protein and carbohydrates.
This is because in protein-rich foods there is an amino acid called tryptophan.
This amino acid helps the body produce serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mood and sleep cycles.
Carbohydrates will help the body to absorb tryptophan increasing the production of serotonin.
Serotonin will decrease arousal, so you’re more likely to feel relaxed and even lazy.
Eating a lot of proteins such as salmon, poultry, eggs, along with a lot of carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, and bread will greatly increase serotonin levels.
The size of the meal you eat can also affect how sleepy you feel after.
You are more likely to experience a food coma after a large meal.
If you eat a large lunch you are more likely to feel sleepy in the afternoon compared to those who eat a smaller portion in the middle of the day.
This is because when you eat your blood sugar rises.
If your blood sugar spikes a lot you will likely experience a dip in energy afterwards.
Feeling a small dip in energy after eating is normal but if you want to avoid this, try to eat smaller portions more frequently.
Instead of eating one big meal it is better to eat smaller portions more often.
By doing this you will avoid spiking your serotonin and sugar levels.
Getting some light exercise after eating can also help you avoid fatigue.
Let us know if you get sleepy after eating!