Does Thanksgiving turkey actually make you sleepy? Experts weigh in – MajorUpdates

It seems you’ll be able to’t blame turkey in your Thanksgiving nap.

Instead, meals and sleep consultants say vacation drowsiness doubtless comes from feasting and power exertion.

“Folklore has it that the tryptophan-rich turkey is the reason behind the prevalence of snoozers sprawled out in your living room after the leftovers are tucked away,” mentioned Dr. Joan Salge Blake – a diet professor at Boston University.

“Tryptophan is one of 20 amino acids found in foods and can be converted in your brain to the neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin,” Blake continued. “Since both of these compounds play an important role in regulating sleep, it seems quite logical that tryptophan has always been fingered as the sleep-inducing culprit behind the Thanksgiving Day nap.”

“But if you look a little further into the science (or lack of) behind this folklore, you will soon realize that this tryptophan theory just doesn’t make any physiological sense,” Blake mentioned.

Turkey isn’t the one meat that accommodates tryptophan. According to Blake, a roasted rooster breast often accommodates extra tryptophan than turkey on common. 

Nutrition knowledge revealed by the USDA’s FoodData Central database reports {that a} 100-gram serving of cooked rooster accommodates 362 milligrams of tryptophan whereas a 100-gram serving of cooked turkey accommodates 252 milligrams of tryptophan.

The each day tryptophan allowance for a median grownup can vary between 250 and 425 milligrams, according to Joe Cohen – the CEO of SelfDecode, a synthetic intelligence-powered well being report app. 

“Many people regularly get twice the recommended tryptophan amount without even trying through beef, poultry, fish, eggs, soy, yogurt, cheese, milk, and vegetables,” Cohen mentioned. “It’s difficult to not get the recommended dietary allowance of tryptophan – it doesn’t just come from turkey.”

It seems you’ll be able to’t blame turkey in your Thanksgiving nap. Instead, meals and sleep consultants say vacation drowsiness doubtless comes from feasting and power exertion.


Rather than blaming the seasonal poultry staple for Thanksgiving sleepiness, consultants say people are doubtless experiencing exhaustion attributable to quite a lot of stressors that come from celebrating the vacation.

“When you eat a very large meal, such as turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, your gastrointestinal tract has to work harder to digest all this food. In order for your body to do all this extra work, some of your body’s blood supply is redirected away from your brain to the gut,” mentioned Blake. “This shifting of energy-rich blood from the brain to your gastrointestinal tract can cause you to feel tired. Alcohol also has sedating properties.”

Blake added, “Let’s not also forget all of the extra work that goes into creating Thanksgiving. The amount of time and effort needed to shop, prepare, and clean up the food served would give anyone cause to cuddle up on the couch for a post-dinner nap.”

Not getting sufficient relaxation earlier than the vacation may make Thanksgiving drowsiness worse.

“The overeating can make one feel tired or lethargic if they are lacking sleep, to begin with,” mentioned Robert Pagano – who’s a licensed sleep science coach and co-founder of Sleepline, a mattress assessment firm. “Eating too many carbs at once can also make one feel exhausted afterward because their body isn’t used to such a large amount of food.”

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