After stuffing yourself with turkey, mashed spuds, gravy, veggies and all of the Thanksgiving Day feast sides, do you find yourself draped over a lounger, drooling down your shirt? Are you snoring loud enough to make it difficult for guests to hear the movie? It’s not just Thanksgiving Day meals that make us tired.
The chemical, tryptophan, is usually blamed on turkey day as being the culprit for putting us to sleep. While that is correct, there are other foods that house this amino acid and can have the same affect on you.
· Peanut butter
· Pumpkin seeds
· Sesame seeds
Ever begin your traditional holiday meal with nuts, crackers and cheese or with deviled eggs? These foods may be why you are lying your head on Uncle Joe’s shoulder, snoring away.
The turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing all have tryptophan. Add the foods on the list to ordinary meals on any day of the year and you can be cuddling with the pooch on the couch after work.
Those vegetarians who thought they would escape the traditional turkey coma on the holidays better think twice. You may want to bring your favorite blankie to the party too. Tofu and a regular veggie diet can often produce as much tryptophan as a meat eater’s diet.
Tryptophan is the culprit for the sleepy feeling after dinner, however, it is an amino acid our bodies need. Tryptophan naturally produces melatonin and seratonin. Melatonin and seratonin are two elements that are vital to good sleep and to help the brain regulate stable moods.
Any of our meals that are rich in fats will help the digestive system slow down. An ample supply of blood is sent to the intestinal areas of the body to help us digest. The process can also make us feel less energetic.
If wine or an alcoholic beverage was served before, after or during the meal, it will bring on the feeling of tiredness too. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.
When we eat a large meal, we begin to feel sleepy. Again, it takes time to digest the fats from the food. The blood rushes to the digestive system and can put us into the sleepy mode.
A euphoric or happy feeling is associated with the security of having friends and family around us or in having a large meal. When our bodies are happy and relaxed, we feel more tired. In today’s fast-paced world, when our bodies have a chance to relax, we do.
The combination of all of these factors make us lethargic or less energetic. The heat from the kitchen, combined with the body heat of people attending the dinner meal will add to the relaxation.
The turkey coma doesn’t only exist during the holidays. It’s a normal, natural process. We need those amino acids that come with eating the fats found in these foods. So, snuggle up with Aunt Jane. Enjoy you meal, your company and your nap.