You’ve been looking forward to a delicious lunch all morning. Lunchtime comes and you dig into your meal. It tastes so good. But then afterward you suddenly feel sleepy and drowsy…
Getting tired after eating is also called “postprandial fatigue,” “postprandial somnolence”, or “food coma” and is totally normal. Her we discuss what can cause post-eating fatigue, which foods can cause feelings of sluggishness, and how to avoid fatigue after a meal.
Tired After Eating: Most Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why am I extremely tired after eating?
As food enters your digestive system, blood flow to the stomach and intestines increases. As such, the supply of blood (and oxygen) in the brain decreases, making you feel sleepy after eating.
2. Which foods make me sleepy?
Foods that contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan(1) are very likely to make you feel sluggish after eating them.
Integrate these foods into your dinners for a restful sleep, but use them sparingly at lunchtime:
- Meat: pork, chicken, beef
- Fish: tuna, mackerel, salmon, halibut, trout
- Cheese: Parmesan, Emmental, Edam, Brie, Camembert
- Cereal products: oats, products with spelt flour/ millet/ (buck)wheat
- Nuts: hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts
Are you desirous for more scrumptious lunches? Have a look at these top 5 quick and easy recipes.
3. Why does sugar make me feel sluggish?
What you eat influences the way you feel! When you eat foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, like white-flour pasta and white bread, your body releases more insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that lowers your blood sugar level quickly. Eating these foods will cause an initial bloog sugar high and quick insulin response. So if your body releases a lot of it, it can make your blood sugar crash. This leads to uncontrollable sleepiness after eating, low energy, and inability to concentrate.
What can that leave you wanting? More sugar! If you want to be more active and productive throughout the day, you should try reducing your sugar intake. If you eat more nutrient-dense, balanced meals, you’re less likely to feel sleepy after eating.
4. How do I avoid fatigue after eating?
6 Tips to Avoid Feeling Tired After Eating
1. Have breakfast in the morning
Breakfast in the morning elevates blood sugar levels and staves off hunger pangs throughout the day (which can also make you tired). Plus, if you eat breakfast, you may not eat as much at lunch. Eating more food than the body can easily process at a time can cause post-dining fatigue. So eating more in the morning and smaller portions throughout the day can help you feel perkier after eating.
2. Hydration is key
Did you overdo it at lunch because you were simply too hungry? Be careful: many people mistake feeling thirsty for being hungry.
Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day. You can calculate how much water you should drink here:
3. Exercise to prevent feeling sleepy
A short stroll outside can work wonders after lunch. The fresh air and exercise supply your brain with plenty of oxygen. If you can’t go outside, open the window and take some deep breaths. Or do 20 squats – they won’t take long and they will get your blood pumping.
Remember: exercise on an empty stomach or without enough nutrition can deplete energy in the muscles and mind. Be sure to get adequate nutrition, especially if you workout!
4. Limit you caffeine intake
If you think you have to drink five cups of coffee to finally wake up, remember this German saying: “Viel hilft nicht immer viel” (a lot doesn’t always help a lot). One or two caffeinated drinks are okay because they stimulate the release of adrenaline. But more has the opposite effect: you’ll likely feel so amped up that you struggle to focus, and as soon as the adrenaline wanes, you’ll be triggered to search for more adrenal input.
Many people experience a “caffeine high” for up to five hours after ingestion. If you are looking for a boost of energy, don’t wait too long after lunch to have your cup of joe. Otherwise, you might have trouble sleeping at night.
5. Take a power nap
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of taking a short power nap. But, many companies nowadays have quiet rooms where their employees can rest for 10-20 minutes. This is the maximum length of time you should sleep in order to wake up refreshed. If you sleep longer, you might end up feeling more tired than you did before. Learn more about the healthy benefits of power naps!
6. Have tasty lunch
Just because you’re sleepy after eating doesn’t mean you should stop eating. Try eating smaller portions of well-balanced meals throughout the day to keep energy levels stable.
Are you looking for a tasty lunch that won’t sit in your stomach all afternoon? You can prepare this fruity quinoa salad in the evening and eat it the next day for lunch at work.
- Why Am I So Tired? Top Causes of Fatigue
- Tired After Running: 5 Tips to Recover From Running Fatigue
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