Most, if not all of you will be familiar with a dip in energy that sometimes attacks after mealtimes. Maybe some of you experience it more regularly than others but based on both conversations I have had with real people and the science I have researched online, feeling tired after lunch is a normal thing to happens to all of us.
Why Do I Feel Tired After Lunch?
The scientific term for the tired feeling you feel after eating is postprandial somnolence and is not specific to lunchtime. However, due to normal working days, most of you will notice the post-meal lethargy after lunch as it is when you are required to be more alert.
I personally thought it was something to do with my circadian rhythm and was caused by eating carbohydrates at a time of day when my body was less well-equipped to deal with carbs. However, I can’t remember where the basis of my assumption is founded and everything I read tells me I am misguided at best.
As it turns out, your body does get less effective at dealing with carbs later in the day, however, at lunchtime, most of us should be fine.
What Causes Postprandial Somnolence
Scientists have not conclusively answered this question yet, however, it seems like there are common reasons that research points to and it turns out carbs might have a little bit to do with it so I was not completely off the mark.
Experts believe that serotonin is the real reason you feel tired after lunch. If you do not know what serotonin is, it is a hormone your brain naturally creates to stabilize your mood and regulate your sleep. Serotonin facilitates many of your body’s regular functions and low serotonin is the link between feelings of depression and physical discomfort.
Protein-rich foods such as meat, dairy, and soy products contain tryptophan which is an amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin. However, think of protein as a lockbox full of tryptophan and carbohydrates as the key. Carbs help you to unlock and absorb the tryptophan that results in the release of serotonin. It is that Serotonin that makes you feel tired after lunch.
Another contributor to your dip in energy is thought to be the amount of food you eat. A larger meal will create a blood sugar spike that will divert some of your body’s energy. Your digestive process and your pancreas’ insulin creation require as much energy as you can spare so you feel a little bit more lethargic until they are done.
Whatever the real reason for us feeling tired after lunch, experts seem to agree that it is completely safe. However, if your postprandial somnolence is affecting your life in a negative way or if you are more tired or tired more often than you feel is normal, you should speak to a doctor and check that there are no underlying conditions.
I Don’t Want To Feel Tired After Lunch.
While your afternoon lull may be inconvenient, you don’t want to cut protein or carbs out of your diet and you certainly don’t want your body to stop creating serotonin, so what can you do?
Obviously, you can walk… why else would I be writing about it here? Walking for 15 minutes after a meal can help churn the food in your gut to aid digestion. According to many diabetes experts, including Raj Gadhvi, walking after a meal will utilize excess glucose in your blood. If you have an otherwise sedentary routine, your body will naturally assume it’s ok to deprive you of energy for movement when it has a tough digestive task. Regular movement will tell your body you do not accept this and will ensure you still feel the energy even after mealtimes.
Another measure you can take to offset the tired feeling after any of your meals is to eat less. If you are not trying to lose weight, you will still need to maintain the same amount of daily calories, however, spreading your calorie allowance across smaller meals during the day can scale down the impact and make it easier and quicker for your body to regulate your energy.
Ensuring your meals consist of at least some high fiber energy foods such as fresh vegetables will also help regulate your energy levels. However, too much fiber can cause bloating if you are not used to it so bear that in mind if you are introducing more fiber to your diet, you may want to work it in incrementally.
Do You Feel Tired After Lunch?
Now you know that tiredness after lunch maybe more inconvenient but lunchtime does not hold the monopoly on postprandial somnolence. Based on the causes, it might well be impossible for everybody to avoid the lunchtime lethargy waging war on productivity in workplaces across the country. However, managing your meals and walking after you eat can go a long way to making you feel much better while simultaneously reducing your risk of type-2 diabetes and moving you closer to any weight loss goals you may have.
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