Have you heard anyone talk about how they feel tired after eating lunch or breakfast? Maybe you have experienced it too. The type of food we eat and the timing of when we eat can make us feel tired after eating.
This combination of time and type of food causes a decrease in your energy level. Eating large meals is also a contributing factor to feeling tired after eating (but we will go into more of the reasons in a moment).
The good news about feeling tired after eating is that it is not a chronic disease. However, it is an uncomfortable feeling that makes us unproductive.
A lot of people call it the “food coma.” In science, it’s called Postprandial Somnolence or Postprandial Sleepiness
There a few tips to help you get that situation under control when it seems to be affecting your lifestyle negatively. Before we get into that, it is important to understand why some foods make us tired.
Why do we feel tired after eating?
When we eat, our stomach breaks down the food. This increases our blood sugar level, which then signals to the pancreas to produce insulin.
The insulin moves into the cells of our bodies and enables in glucose the get in as well. The glucose is then used for energy or store for later use.
While all of this happens, insulin in our bloodstream enables tryptophan to reach our brains. Tryptophan is used in the production of serotonin; which helps to regulate sleep.
If you’ve ever felt happy after eating a good meal, tryptophan is also responsible for that.
There are certain hormones in the brain that induce drowsiness. They are serotonin and melatonin. When the levels of these hormones are high, be sure to start feeling tired.
If you feel tired after eating, this is how you prevent it
At the very core, the ultimate way to prevent the feeling of tiredness is to make sure you eat small portions at meals or foods. And these foods need to be low on the glycemic index.
Why is this important?
This will make sure you’re not gushing your bloodstream with extra sugar. For example, pasta and other junk food contain refined carbs that increase your blood sugar followed by a spike in your insulin levels.
But if you are not able to prevent food comma and you feel tired after eating, there are a couple of things you can do to proactively fix that.
Getting some exercise after you eat is one sure way to beat that fatigue. Simple exercises keep the body active and it leaves no room for sleepiness. Physical activities such as taking a walk or using the stairs instead of the elevator at work during lunch break.
This improves blood flow and helps provide oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue. The result is increased energy levels in the body.
Because the body is mostly made of water, there are countless benefits of drinking water. Dehydration causes you to lose concentration and get into a low mood.
Staying hydrated reverses all these situations and gives you the energy you need to go through the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and be sure to empty it as often as possible into your stomach.
3. Drink coffee
Coffee is a good source of energy because of the caffeine it contains. One cup of coffee is okay to give you that boost you are looking for. You remember this saying, “…too much of everything is bad?” It applies to coffee too.
A lot of coffee taken especially long after your lunch break will prevent you from getting a better night’s sleep. That is something you don’t want to experience. Time your coffee breaks to stay on the safer side.
4. Skip processed food
The refined grains in processed foods such as white bread or bun get digested quickly. They then increase the blood sugar levels within a short period and release large amounts of energy.
Though they do a good job by providing the body with energy, it tends to deplete even faster than its digestive process. That is when you feel tired and wanting to sleep so badly.
Cut out the fast foods and jump on eating more energy-boosting foods including leafy greens such as kale and spinach. They help to reduce fatigue.
5. Eat less
An oversized meal slows down digestion and leaves you feeling bloated and tired. Eating less is the best way to correct this. Eating smaller meals helps to keep the energy levels at the desired level.
It helps to fight away the feeling of fatigue and tiredness. This cannot happen if you continually eat large meals. You’ll be doing yourself a lot of harm.
6. Sleep more
There are millions of reasons why you should sleep for at least 8 hours at night. Avoiding sleep or sleeping for less affects the body’s circadian rhythm.
And 40 percent of Americans seem to be sleeping a lot less. When you don’t get a more restful sleep, you will feel tired in the mornings. And this feeling becomes worse in the afternoons especially after eating.
If you didn’t have a good night’s sleep, consider taking afternoon naps. Find time to take short naps (between 10 and 20 minutes) to help the body rest and replenish lost energy.
After these naps, the body feels refreshed and less fatigued. Try as much as possible not to go beyond 30 minutes because if you do, the body is going to wake up very tired.
7. Get bright light
A study found that exposing people to bright light after lunch helps to fight off the feeling of tiredness and fatigue.
You can expose yourself to bright light by going outside for a while. If you have a park close by, take a stroll there during the day to help the process.
8. Avoid alcohol
Some people find some satisfaction in taking alcohol as they eat. Alcohol makes us feel tired and causes drowsiness and the rest is history. Avoid alcohol to help you stay awake.