Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?

Does turkey make you sleepy? Sure there’s nothing better than an nap after a Thanksgiving dinner, but is the turkey to blame?


roasted chicken

Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan. Our bodies metabolize tryptophan to create serotonin and melatonin, hormones which make people sleepy.

Contrary to popular belief, however, the sleepiness many people report after Thanksgiving dinner isn’t necessarily due to the tryptophan. Turkey contains many other amino acids which outnumber tryptophan and fight to keep you awake, leaving you not sleepy at all. The reason many people feel sleepy, however, is probably due to the higher than normal amount of carbohydrates that often accompany Thanksgiving dinner.

Carbohydrates are found in foods like potatoes, bread, stuffing, and pies. Your cells digest carbohydrates and turn it into glucose which circulates around your body in your blood. Eating carbohydrates causes the pancreas to secrete insulin, a hormone that allows your body to take the glucose out of your blood. Insulin also removes amino acid other than tryptophan from your blood, leaving tryptophan alone. Without the other amino acids to compete with, the tryptophan is able to be converted to serotonin and melatonin and make you feel sleepy.

Another reason you’re probably feeling sleepy after Thanksgiving is because of your full small intestine. Your body requires a lot of energy to digest a large meal and it directs your blood to travel to the small intestine to help digest all the food you just ate. More blood in the small intestine means less blood in the brain. Less blood in the brain makes you feel sleepy.

A third reason Thanksgiving makes people sleepy is that some people consume alcohol with their meals. Alcohol is a depressant and makes people sleepy as well.

So it’s not just the turkey. It’s everything else you consume with the turkey!Cute white kitty peacefully sleeping



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Turkey Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash.

Sleeping cat Photo by Peng Louis from Pexels

Published by JustAddH2OTeacher

Science teacherpreneur

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