How to Beat the Drowsy Aftermath of A Thanksgiving Feast
At one point or another, you’ve probably sat staring at your empty plate after finishing a big meal, feeling like you could fall into a deep slumber for the rest of the day. This feeling of tiredness or inability to concentrate is totally normal and is, in fact, a natural biological response of the body.
Eating a large meal can feel like a workout within itself, especially when it’s a meal as big as a Thanksgiving feast. After piling up your plate with food from every platter on the table and eating all of it, you will undoubtedly feel exhausted with your tummy bursting through your belt.
Since we all know that eating until your heart’s content can inevitably leave you needing to crash, you may be wondering: what is the exact science behind this phenomenon?
There are in fact three major components that illustrate the link between your Thanksgiving feasting, and the drowsy aftermath.
1. Change in Hormone Levels
The body produces different hormones during the digestion process in response to the chemical changes occurring. Serotonin levels begin to rise during the consumption of food. Serotonin plays a great role in regulating mood and sleep, hence the production of this hormone creates the feeling of drowsiness and fatigue. With the production of serotonin, your body eventually turns this hormone into melatonin. Melatonin is a natural chemical your body produces that promotes tiredness. Simply put, as melatonin levels begin to increase in the brain, you will begin to feel the urge to go to sleep.
2. The Type of Food You Eat
The types of food you choose to consume have a great impact on your desire to sleep afterwards. Foods rich in protein and carbohydrates prompt high levels of fatigue, more so than any other types of food. Since you will likely be eating lots of turkey or other dishes like roasted ham, or maybe even vegan turkey high in protein, your body will naturally react to the protein intake and you’ll start to feel sleepy once the food is being digested. Then comes the carb-filled plates of mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread and pie that will act in the same way protein does as your body begins working to digest it.
3. The Size of Your Meal
Similarly to what you eat, how much you eat in one meal largely determines your feeling of tiredness. Larger meals will tend to make you feel more tired than smaller portioned meals, as it takes more energy and time for your body to digest larger portions. As you’re probably not preparing to only have a light snack for your Thanksgiving feast, your body will react accordingly.
Now knowing that you’re bound to be desperate for some Z’s after stuffing your face with Thanksgiving goodness, here are some ways you can prepare yourself for post-Thanksgiving meal drowsiness.
Go for a Walk
Going for a walk before or after your meal will help combat the feeling of tiredness. Being active during the day will help keep your blood pumping and your muscles moving, which will help fight fatigue. The number one quick solution to feeling like you’re about to crash is always some light exercise.
Take a Nap Before You Feast
In general, naps are recommended for helping combat extreme fatigue later in the day or after any meal. If you want to stay alert after your eating marathon, make sure you have taken a nap beforehand so you’re refreshed when sitting down at the table.
Have Your Bed Fully Equipped
Perhaps sleeping after a Thanksgiving feast is your favorite part of the holiday? Well, there’s no shame in that. Sleeping is our favorite pastime! But if you are going to crash after taking in all of those carbs, make sure your bed is fully equipped with the best quality mattress, pillows and bedding so that your full-belly nap is that much more divine.
Now you’re ready to take on the big Thanksgiving feast, and the infamous Thanksgiving lull!