Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating?

Sleep is important. Yet, there are a number of people affected by sleeping disorders; some people just can’t sleep, while some people oversleep.

One such common sleeping disorder is when people feel sleepy right after eating. Do not be surprised to find out that there is a term that defines the feeling of being tired after eating. It is known as Postprandial Somnolence (PS) or Postprandial Sleep or Food Coma.

For people with PS, irrelevant of what they eat, they are sure to feel sleepy after eating.

On the contrary, people who do not usually experience PS, feel sleepy after eating specific kinds of foods – such as those high in sugar, fat, or carbohydrates. This can also be due to the amount of energy exerted by the body in breaking down the food for digestion. If they find it hard to digest food, this can cause a lot of discomfort, so they may need a supplement to help them after they eat, this might have the potential to provide a more calming and soothing experience without the effects they normally get.

Common Factors that Affect Energy Levels

  1. Amount of Food Eaten

If you consume a large meal, the chances of you falling asleep increase significantly.

The section of the population who eat larger portions of dinner and lunch are more prone to falling asleep than the people who eat less.

Even drinking alcohol while eating food can lead to exhaustion or post-meal sleep trauma and stress, especially during the daytime.

  1. Nutrients Present in the Food Eaten

There are a number of factors to be considered related to digestion when food is being eaten. Sometimes the body produces serotonin after eating tasty food, this leads to sleepier moods due to serotonin’s ability to regulate sleep and wake cycles.

The presence of an amino acid known as Tryptophan (especially in protein-rich foods) advocates the body in the production of serotonin.

After which carbohydrates help the body in the absorption of tryptophan. Thus, be aware that eating foods with a high content of carbohydrates and proteins leads to falling asleep after eating.

Edibles with a high concentration of carbohydrates are cakes, donuts, milk, white bread, candies, and pasta. Whereas, edibles with high protein content are poultry, fish, eggs, spinach, and soy products.

  1. Digestive Cycle

Each person has a unique digestive cycle which leads to fatigue and digestion depending on the time the food takes to digest.

Everything we eat is broken down into glucose by our digestive systems. Micro and macronutrients such as proteins and some healthy fats when broken down, supply our body with energy (calories).

Rather than simply converting food to energy, some food also affects hormones related to a sensation of feeling full in the tummy.

These hormones are amylin, cholecystokinin (CCK), and glucagon. Insulin then transports the sugars into the bloodstream.

Food is also known to influence melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for inducing sleep.

  1. Sedentary Activity after Meals

Many people directly lie down flat right after eating food. This is an unhealthy habit as the food instead of being broken down gets stuck in the digestive tract and makes the person feel heavier.

This unnecessary storage affects in 2 ways.

One is that the food begins to rot in the tract, causing inflammation and terribly unbearable excreta.

Secondly, sedentary activity post meals block the tracts and forms clogs, making it hard for the body to process the food and share its nutrients with the digestive system. This can also lead to bloated stomachs and gastrointestinal problems.

  1. Diabetes

People suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes usually feel tired right after eating and need an energy booster to maintain their routine and not go to bed. This could be a possible symptom of Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) for such patients.

Hypoglycemia occurs when a diabetes patient has consumed some diabetes-specific medication or a substance that increases insulin concentration in the bloodstream.

Basic carbohydrates that can be easily broken down and digested are part of the reason why Hypoglycemia occurs. These carbohydrates instill a minor spike in blood sugar levels and then suddenly drop down to unusually low amounts.

Hyperglycaemia on the other end, known as high blood sugar occurs due to overconsumption of foods and beverages high in sugar. This sugar needs to be transported to the cells for storage and to the bloodstream for immediate usage (sugars is used as energy).

As insulin is the main transporter of sugar to its destination, any shortage or lack of insulin deprives the body of sugar and this leads to low energy levels.

Basically, without the presence of insulin, there will be an extremely low amount of sugar in the cells and blood, which disrupts the process of providing energy to the cells for their functionality.

How to Avoid Post-meal Drowsiness and Exhaustion

It’s all about eating the right meals, at the right time, in the right posture and not indulging in intoxication or other activities while eating. If not completely get rid of this issue, some solutions can help curb this problem and cause a rarer occurrence.

  1. Breakfast

The first meal of the day is the golden meal. Eating breakfast supplies you the initial boost and jumpstart energy that helps to power through the initial phases of the day.

Besides, when it’s time to eat lunch, you will not eat as much as usual because you have already eaten breakfast around 3-4 hours ago.

This also includes eating your breakfast and lunch at pre-decided times. Sticking to an eating timetable ensures you stay healthy and hearty while reducing all sleeping-related issues at the same time.

You may want to look at energy-boosting supplements if you feel like you may not be getting the required nutrients that your body needs through diet alone.

  1. Attempt the bright-light therapy

Usually, this mode of therapy applies to people who suffer from circadian rhythm sleep disorders. But the bright-light therapy can also help tackle post-lunch sleepiness. It is the presence of sunlight that excites the iris in the eyes and helps in staying awake.

  1. Go for a walk

Walking helps digest the food by breaking it down into smaller and more soluble molecules. This leads to a lighter tummy and prolongs wakefulness.

Getting a diagnosis done to identify if there is an underlying cause for falling asleep after eating is vital to avoid future mishaps.

Self-diagnosis could be done by maintaining a food diary. Here you can mention what you ate; at what time and after how long did you fall asleep. This helps understand what ingredients in specific are causing your body to feel more tired.

Or even what time is it that your body has a tougher time digesting the food? Pay heed to beverages as well as gastrointestinal activity, mood, and sleep quality.

If you prefer visiting a doctor for examination then go for it, as they have previously experimented and verified diagnostic tests for people who feel sleepy after eating. Some of the tests can include:

  • The blood glucose test
  • Haemoglobin A1C test
  • Glucose Tolerance test
  • Various blood test or skins test to look for food sensitivities

There is a high chance that feeling tired after eating is a response by your body to all the biochemical alterations occurring while breaking down the food.

There is no reason to worry, as this is normal internal activity and happens to everyone.

But if the symptoms seem extraordinarily weird, do not hesitate and go seek medical help immediately.

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