It’s Thanksgiving Day and of course you have to have seconds of everything, maybe even thirds. As a college student you have to cherish every home cooked meal you can get. Only now you kind of resemble the stuffed turkey your family just devoured. Here comes the dreaded “food coma”. Aptly named, a food coma is when you stuff yourself so much that you just HAVE to take a nap. Most people know what a food coma is, but what causes a food coma?
One of the first things people think of is the sleep inducing hormone called melatonin. Your body makes melatonin and distributes it at various hours of the day. For example, in the evening, more melatonin is produced. Also depending on the amount of light your body gets, it may change the times melatonin is made. The food we consume also has melatonin but our body is the main source of melatonin. So if it isn’t the melatonin in our food, what is the true culprit?
One thing that could cause the food coma could be having too much insulin. The insulin converts into melatonin, which increases drowsiness. According to the article above, foods that have a lot of fibre balance insulin and blood pressure. So if you want to stay awake after a big meal, try whole grains! Another possible reason could be that the food you ate was high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in high protein foods. The amino acid helps the body make serotonin, which is a sleep inducing hormone, among other things. So blame the turkey this holiday season!