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Why do I get sleepy after eating?

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Dr. Aparna Amritsagar

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1997

Answered : 274 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 12 Jan 2013 in General Health
Question: Post break fast and post lunch for an about 15 minutes I get into to XXXXXXX sleep in the office and not able to control that, What could be the reason behind this ? How to avoid this ? This doesnt happen when I am at home.
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Answered by Dr. Aparna Amritsagar 50 minutes later
Hello,
Thanks for writing your query to us.

There are three main reasons for sleepiness post-meal :

- The food you have eaten is diverting your blood for the digestion process. While natural, depending on what you eat, this process can increase your energy levels, or it can cause sluggishness. Sugary foods increase the blood sugar levels more than normal, causing your pancreas to release insulin. In turn, the insulin triggers tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin in your brain, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel sleepy.
- You haven't had enough sleep due to snoring or any other reason. Lack of adequate sleep affects both your digestive system's effectiveness and your energy levels.
- You are unfit. If you aren't physically fit, if you're avoiding exercise, your afternoon energy levels may be impacted negatively. Sometimes this can be remedied by getting in shape.

Try these few things to reduce post meal drowsiness.

1. Get a minimum of eight hours of sleep each night to give your body the proper amount of rest.
2. Wake up at the same time each day so your body gets into a routine.
3. Eat a good breakfast. Never skip, it sets the energy standard for the rest of the day. Make healthy food choices such as wholegrain breads and cereals, fruits, and yogurt, to provide you with sustained energy for the morning.
4. Limit the processed sugars and fat you consume at lunch to avoid an energy crash. While sugar may give you a boost initially, it wears off quickly and leaves you feeling exhausted. If you want a sweet treat with your lunch, choose fruit that has natural sweetness.
5. Limit the size of your lunch to avoid overeating. Digesting a large meal leaves your body feeling tired.
6. Try eating a smaller lunch with snacks in the morning and afternoon to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
7. Wait 15 minutes after you eat and then take a brisk walk around the block before heading back to work. Finish with a set of breathing exercises to increase the oxygen levels in the blood to boost your energy.
8. Drink water after lunch to hydrate your body. All of the organs in your body require water for proper functioning. Sleepiness is a sign of dehydration so if you don't drink enough after lunchtime your fatigue may seem worse.

As you had mentioned you don't feel sleepy when at home, that may be because you might be eating limited portion plus home made food contains less of sugar & oil.

I hope I have answered your query. In case you have any further question I will be happy to help you.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Mohammed Kappan
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