Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy?

If you were feeling sleepy after feasting on Thanksgiving meal, don’t blame it on the holiday bird.

Many would tag tryptophan, a substance present in the turkey, as the culprit for making our eyelids heavy after a Thanksgiving feast. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is responsible for producing serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate sleep.

turkey dinner

However, research says that tryptophan in the turkey would only make us sleepy if we ate lots of it and nothing else. Of course, this isn’t the case during Thanksgiving, right?

Increased levels of tryptohphan in the blood does not necessarily lead to increased levels of it in the brain. This is because other amino acids compete for space in the brain. These amino acids are more aggressive than tryptophan, getting the space in the brain most of the time. In fact, the additional tryptophan we get from consuming turkey never gets in the brain.

So which among the Thanksgiving meals is responsible for our urge to snooze after feasting?

According to LiveScience, the real culprits for the after dinner nap attacks are the carbs from mashed potatoes,  stuffing, bread, pie, and cakes. Carbohydrates from these food stimulate the release of insulin, which increases the levels of other amino acids in the brain that leads to the production of serotonin.

Furthermore, these carbohydrate-loaded dishes are usually high in fat. In order to breakdown fat, more blood is directed to our digestive tract to do the job. As a result, there is less blood in other areas that increases feelings of lethargy. In addition, overeating also redirects blood flow to the digestive tract.

What is the Origin of Thanksgiving Day?

Celebrated every fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day was set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and was approved by the Congress in 1941.

Many Americans regard this holiday just as important as Christmas.

The origin of this holiday can be traced back to the 1621 celebration of the Phlymouth Plantation. During this time, Pilgrims or the religious refugees from England invited local Native Americans to a harvest feast after a successful growing season.

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