Drowsiness after eating, what is the main cause?

Are you one of those people who often feel sleepy after eating? Feeling sleepy after eating is one of your body's responses to chemical changes caused by digestion. 

This means that this is normal for everyone. However, if the feeling of wanting to sleep always appears after every meal and is very disruptive to activities, this may need to be a concern. 

Feeling sleepy after lunch can also be annoying when you have to do work again after lunch. 

Causes of sleepiness after eating

Stomach full and then appear drowsiness is common in many people. Feeling sleepy after eating can be caused by several things, what? 

1. Digestive patterns and hormones in the brain  

The body needs energy to perform its functions, and this energy is obtained through food. 

The body then breaks down nutrients from food in the digestive system to make glucose which is then converted into energy. 

After eating, the body releases hormones, such as the hormones amylin, glucagon, and cholecystokinin.

These hormones function to increase blood sugar levels, create feelings of fullness, and produce insulin which will be flowed into cells to provide energy to cells.  

At the same time, the brain also releases serotonin. These compounds will affect the production of melatonin or the sleep hormone in the brain. This is what causes sleepiness after eating. 

2. Eat foods rich in protein and carbohydrates

The body digests all foods in the same way, but food affects the body differently. 

Some types of intake can be more sleepy after eating than other foods. 

Foods that contain high protein, such as meat, chicken, eggs, fish, spinach, tofu, cheese and soy contain the amino acid tryptophan. 

Citing a study published in the International Journal of Tryptophan Research, the amino acid tryptophan will be used by the body to produce serotonin. 

Later, serotonin is also responsible for increasing the hormone melatonin so that drowsiness appears. 

In addition, foods containing carbohydrates also help the brain produce serotonin and make tryptophan available in the brain. 

This is the reason why after eating a carbohydrate rich meal, you feel sleepy. 

The combination of intake rich in the amino acid tryptophan or protein and carbohydrates is one of the causes of sleepiness after eating. 

3. Eat in large quantities 

Eating too much at one time can also cause drowsiness.

After eating, the body flows more blood to the digestive system to digest large amounts of food. 

This causes the brain to experience a temporary shortage of blood and nutrients so that you are sleepy. 

4. Bad sleep pattern

Bad nighttime sleep habits can also cause you to feel sleepy after eating. 

After eating, the body feels full and relaxed. This makes the body feel rested and a feeling of drowsiness hits. 

The drowsiness gets more intense if you don't get enough sleep the night before. 

To prevent this from happening, you should improve your sleep patterns and avoid stress. 

Coupled with doing regular exercise that can help you get a better night's sleep. 

It's best not to take a nap if you have trouble sleeping at night. 

5. Having certain health problems

If you often feel sleepy and want to sleep after every meal, this could be a sign of certain diseases, such as: 

  • celiac disease
  • anemia
  • food intolerance
  • diabetes 
  • allergy
  • sleep apnea
  • underactive thyroid

Consult your doctor if you suffer from this condition or if you often feel sleepy after eating. 

Drowsiness after eating can also be a sign that you are deficient in certain nutrients. 

Malnutrition causes food to not digest properly because your body fails to digest it. 

This will result in you not having enough energy. Your activities throughout the day will be hampered and feel sleepy all the time. 

How to prevent drowsiness after eating?

If you don't want to be sleepy and tired after eating, avoid eating too much. 

You can also do the following tips to make drowsiness stop approaching. 

1. Consume a balanced nutritious intake

To avoid drowsiness after eating, you should follow healthy eating tips by consuming a balanced nutritious intake. 

Make sure your plate consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and good fats for the purpose of producing sustainable energy. 

Limiting sugar intake and eating smaller but more frequent meals can also help maintain energy. 

2. Chew food slowly

Instead of eating fast, chew slowly is good to prevent drowsiness afterward. 

The reason is, chewing slowly is useful for making food smoother. This prevents the digestive tract from working too hard. 

3. Drink water before eating

If you don't drink enough fluids before eating, this can make you more susceptible to dehydration. 

A study published in ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal (2013) found that adequate water intake can reduce symptoms of dehydration, namely feeling weak. 

Water also makes you more awake and focused. 

4. Apply a regular diet

Don't skip your meal. This actually makes the next appetite becomes bigger. 

Of course, eating too much can make you sleepy after eating. 

For that, make sure the distance between meals is about 3 to 4 hours. 

5. Move the body

After eating, you are recommended to do light physical activity, such as walking. 

This makes you more energetic because the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain becomes smoother. So, you also feel refreshed and no longer sleepy. 

Avoid strenuous exercise or lying down because it can trigger vomiting or gastric acid reflux. 

6. Consumption of caffeine in moderation 

Caffeine intake has been shown to reduce drowsiness so that you are more literate. After eating, choose drinks with caffeine, such as tea, coffee, and chocolate. 

You don't need to add sugar so you don't increase your drowsiness-including carbohydrate intake. 

Drowsiness after eating is a common condition. Indeed, this is one of the natural cycles in the digestive tract and brain. 

However, this condition is also an indication of health problems and lifestyles that must be addressed. 

So, always apply a healthy lifestyle to reduce sleepiness and prevent various health complaints.