Have you ever felt like sleeping after you had a nice meal? You probably have, and if you wonder from where does this feeling come, there is a perfectly rational explanation. We will be talking about this topic in this article.
Process of digesting food
Our body needs food to function and produce energy. We need to consume just enough calories so we can go through the whole day. Our body works in a way that we consume food which then by our digestive system, gets turned into energy. Glucose is the main component in this case, and glucose keeps our blood sugar in order. Macronutrients in our body create calories from glucose and they provide us enough energy.
Food has a very important role in body, so not only energy making. Our bodies are very complicated, and besides energy we need a lot of different nutrients that will keep us healthy. Those nutrients also come from food.
Hormones have a very big effect on our actions as well. They control our appetite and even sleep, so increase of certain hormones like cholecystokinin that makes us feel full and melatonin makes us feel sleepy. Some of these hormones react to food consumption and others, like ones conected to sleep, are only influenced by food or their production.
When it comes to eating and sleeping, certain foods make us feel more tired and others less. This is due to their consistency. For example, high protein foods can make us feel more sleepy. Those foods are eggs, meat and fish. They contain a substance called tryptophan which makes us feel more sleepy. Milk also contains tryptophan, and if you love to nap after your meal, than try drinking a glass of milk.
Foods that will not make you fall asleep after eating are all the foods that are included in a balanced diet. So, whole grain foods, a lot of vegetables and fruits. Sometimes our body reacts to food we eat, by feeling a lack of energy instead the opposite. Perhaps your diet is not suitable for you, and you need to include more healthier food options instead the high protein or high carb foods.
If you don’t get enough sleep every night that can be a problem, and a cause of your post meal sleepyness. Sometimes you feel too relaxed after a meal, and the lack of sleep gets to you. This can happen throughout the whole day, but it is most common when we finish our lunch or dinner and rest for a while. The big problem with sleeping after a meal is that we feel really bad afterwards.
It is recommended to actually do some activities after a meal, and not rest. When we are asleep, our body processes food more slowly than when we are awake, and it slows down our metabolism so we might actually gain some weight by sleeping after a meal.
Sleeping after a meal can also cause us problems at night. Our sleeping routine might get affected by these short naps, so we won’t feel as tired at night like we would if we haven’t slept earlier.
To stop yourself from sleeping after a meal, try including exercises and other activities to your daily plan. Our body can often feel exhausted by all the sitting, looking at the computer screens and other similar activities. Physical activity is very important for staying healthy. Exercising on daily bases, or at least for few days a week can really make a difference. It decreases the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, and also reduces stress and depressions. Besides these factors it also keeps us healthy, and more resistant to outside infections and diseases.
So, physical activity can only help you have more energy, and not the opposite.
Conditions that cause after meal naps
There are actually health conditions that cause this behavior. Your body might be having trouble with an underactive thyroid gland or you might be anemic. This means your blood doesn’t contain enough red blood cells, and you struggle with low blood pressure which comes hand in hand with this condition. You might feel exhausted more often than others, and you need to eat a certain meal plan to stay energized throughout the day.
Another very important condition that can be shown through this behavior is diabetes. As an autoimmune disease, diabetes causes lack of beta cells that fight with attacks from intruders in our body. So, when our body lacks these cells, insulin levels rise after food consumption and we feel tired, sleepy and very big lack of energy. To stay healthy in this case, a special diet plan is recommended. This means lower amounts of sugar and a balanced healthy diet with a lot of fiber, fruits and vegetables.
You can also consider food intolerance. Your body might be intolerant to a certain type of food, and this manifests itself by this drowsie feeling after a meal.
If you know about these conditions then certain types of foods can affect your feeling after a meal. if you don’t know about any conditions, or you havn’t had them examined, than you should ask for advice from your doctor, and do all the necessary medical examinationes to find out the causes.
This feeling is perfectly normal
Feeling sleepy after a meal is a perfectly normal feeling. Sure, it can also be caused by a health problem, but mostly it is just normal. If it continues to happen regularly, you can go and check it out with your doctor by doing medical examinationes. If it happens to be caused by a medical issue, then simply adjust your diet and include more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits or whole grain foods.
It has also been proven by some case studies that naps can be very beneficial. They can increase our concentration levels and helps to restock our brain energy after a hard day. This means that after exhausting activities thoroughout the day, it is recommended to take a short (half hour) nap to help your body rest just enough so it can continue through the rest of the day.
If you are struggling with weight, then instead of taking daily naps try to include activities, sport or other physical activity to help your body feel good again. Too much napping can be a sign that your body needs a change, and regular activity will only make that exhaustion go away, and not make it worse. In the end, it is up to you to decide how you want to organize your daily routine. If you enjoy that short after-meal nap, then go for it. There is nothing bad in giving yourself a break from time to time.