Many of us tend to feel sleepy after a hearty meal. There is nothing scary about that. But why do we feel like that? There are several different factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Be sure to keep reading in order to find out exactly what these are.

Digestion Cycle

Even if you don’t spend much energy on physical activities, your body still needs it to simply function and exist. So you do not have to work out or run after your dog in order for your body to be in need for more energy. The fuel your body needs is food. Your body will break it down into glucose which will provide you with calories i.e. energy. In this process of digestion, different hormones like cholecystokinin, glucagon, and amylin are released and you feel full. Then blood sugar levels rise and insulin is produced in order for that sugar to be able to reach the cells, where it is in the end used as energy.

Sleeping secretary at an office desk isolated on white studio shot

Also, some hormone levels in the brain are increased in the process or digestion. For example serotonin which is known to increase sleepiness. Another hormone that has the same effect is melatonin, which is also increased under the influence of food.

(Un)Healty Diet

Even though all food undergoes the same process of digestion, it does not all affect your body in the same way. There are some foods that lead to the increase of the already mentioned melatonin and serotonin, the two main culprits when it comes to feeling drowsy. Those are mostly foods that are high in protein, for example turkey, spinach, eggs, cheese, fish etc. Besides those, cherries are known to produce the same effect. What happens is that carbohydrates spike and your muscles relax, leaving you feel like you are ready for bed.

Still, there are some other foods that can have a completely opposite effect and can help you prepare for some physical activity. For this, you will need a balanced diet with many grains and healthy fats. You should also avoid sugar and eat smaller meals. All of this will make you feel all fueled up and ready to go.

Physical activity

Studies have shown that physical activity can actually reduce post-meal sleepiness. No matter what the physical activity is, running, walking or simply working around the house, it can still help you feel less sleepy. Many would believe that physical activity will only decrease your energy and make you feel more tired and sleepy. It is actually quite the opposite.

Being sedentary will leave you without any backup energy and make you feel sleepy. So make sure that you do at least some kind of physical activity during the day in order to avoid drowsiness. If you are afraid of feeling too tired because of this, be sure to get some energy drinks that will help you recover and feel strong for the rest of the day. Once you finish with working out or some other activity and you recover properly, there is no risk of post-meal sleepiness.

Sleeping habits

It is not only food and physical activities that affect how you feel after a meal. Your sleeping habits tend to do this as well. Obviously, if you do not get enough sleep during the night, chances are higher you will be sleepy after a good meal. Your body will demand both more energy and more rest. It is recommended that you make a sleeping schedule and follow it strictly. Even though you may feel better after a midday nap, these may also have a negative effect when it comes to post-meal drowsiness. Combining a sleeping schedule and regular exercise may be a great way to fight this phenomenon. Both of these will give you more energy and help avoid this feeling after a meal.

Some health conditions

Even though it is usually one of the above mentioned reasons that make you feel sleepy, post-meal drowsiness can also be a sign of some health conditions. Diabetes, anemia, food intolerance and sleeping apnea are just some of the diseases that can be manifested like this. So if you feel like this too frequently and nothing else helps, you should go and see a doctor, just in order to rule out the possibilities of these serious conditions. Do some research online and find more symptoms of these diseases. If you can identify with many of them, you should definitely schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Still, in most cases the feeling you have after a good meal is nothing more but a reaction to food and digestion. Only in some cases it can be a sign of some bigger health issue. If you want to get rid of this feeling be sure to follow all of our instructions.