Feeling lazy and sleepy after a meal is a feeling most of us are quite familiar with. Food is supposed to be the fuel for our organs and recharge them, but what makes it drain our energy and make us lethargic?

Feeling a little bit drowsy due to all the mechanisms our body goes through to digest food is normal, but the feeling of complete exhaustion needs proper remedial action, and for treatment, one should rule out the cause.

What causes the post-meal slump?

 Digestion isn’t just about breaking down food and converting it into energy. It gives rise to a lot more processes throughout our body. Cholecystokinin, glucagon, and amylin produce the feeling of fullness, while insulin allows sugar to be utilized as energy. These same hormones are also involved in inducing drowsiness. Thus, they lead to sluggishness after a meal.

Your diet specifically has an impact on your brain activity. Foods containing tryptophan such as spinach, soy, egg, cheese, tofu, etc., produce sleep-regulating neurotransmitter, serotonin. This takes our body into a relaxing state.

Foods inducing melatonin production lead to a hazy mind as these hormones are also responsible for sleep regulation. Muscle relaxing foods also make you feel lightweight and sleepy. Carbohydrates cause an increase and sudden decline of insulin levels and also influence the release of cholecystokinin, both of which make you crave slumber.

tired post meal Sometimes it is not even about the food that you intake, but the amount. Big meals are equal to high energy utilization in its digestion process and thus more drained a body gets.

Food allergies lead to GI symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea; all of which make you lose electrolytic content in your body and go weak. Allergies also make it difficult for the body to produce fuel, causing tiredness.

 A disturbed sleep schedule welcomes bouts of sleep at odd times, especially when you are full. A proper sleep cycle avoids untimely exhaustion.

Being physically active is all you need to go through the day without any episodes of lethargy. Exercising daily keeps your mind active and running.

Often, drowsiness after meals is an indication of an underlying disease such as diabetes, celiac disease, underactive thyroid, sleep apnea, and anemia.

How do I manage this condition?

Once you have figured out the root cause, it gets easier to extract it from your lifestyle or at least minimize it. 

First, you need to eliminate sleep-inducing foods from your diet or balance them out by getting enough protein and fiber. Take proteinaceous meals like eggs, fish, yogurt, beans, and nuts. Take foods with B vitamins, Vitamin D, and iron to boost your metabolism, improve digestion and energize your body.

 Schedule a proper eating routine. Try taking three meals a day if you take two. More meals mean less quantity and less quantity, lower the pressure on your digestive tract.

 Nothing can go wrong when you are properly hydrated. It has a positive impact on all of your body’s activities. Likewise, a lot could go wrong due to stress. It exhausts your mind and makes you feel tired. So it is important to reduce stress through therapeutic or medical intervention.

 When should you be concerned enough to visit a doctor?

 After eliminating all sleep and fatigue-inducing factors from life, if you still experience the same condition, then it’s a call for professional aid. That is when you should visit a consultant and let him/her find out the cause and manage it accordingly.

 He might run some tests like hormone or gastrointestinal screenings and then strategize out a treatment plan including medical aid or lifestyle modification.