Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy?

Monday, November 28, 2022

Have you had this happen to you before? You consume a  large meal like thanksgiving with lots of food and turkey and soon after the meal you just can't stay awake. 

Why does this happen?

Let’s start with the amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins.

amino acids

Turkey contains tryptophan. When we eat foods that contain tryptophan, this amino acid travels in the blood from the digestive system and later enters the brain. The brain then changes the tryptophan into another chemical called serotonin. Serotonin calms us down and helps us sleep.. The byproduct of the tryptophan to serotonin is melatonin, another hormone that regulates our sleep cycle.

Serotonin is one of the hormones, which can calm and relax the body.


However, we don’t consume nearly enough turkey during a holiday meal to produce enough serotonin to create a food coma.

Interesting beef and chicken also contain tryptophan cheddar cheese has 50 percent more and egg whites has four times as much tryptophan than turkey.,

So you just can't blame the turkey.

Other factors come into play like the large amount of food you have to digest this causes an increased blood flow to the stomach to help digest the meal, which results in less blood flow to the brain, making you tired.


The turkey, cheese, egg whites and large amounts of food all work together to make you extra sleepy, along with the stress of the holidays and family gatherings.

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