We've all been there – you've just eaten the biggest Thanksgiving meal of your life and now you're in a food coma, unable to get off the couch. This situation, called postprandial sleepiness if you want to impress the in-laws, is very common and completely preventable.
It is possible to have a great Thanksgiving with all the food you love (including dessert) and do not feel like that a truck drove you over later. You just have to determine what causes your sleepiness and stay away from the perpetrators – to be honest, it's not as hard as it sounds.
By the way, you want to rest for all the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales the day after the big party. Wouldn't want that coma food to stand in the way of a number of important store choices. Without further ado, let's examine five reasons why you cannot stay awake after Thanksgiving dinner and what you can do about it.
1. It is not the turkey that you get, it is the carbohydrates
You may have heard of tryptophan, an amino acid that makes us supposedly sleepy. It is found in Turkey and has been responsible for the coma after Thanksgiving for a long time, but this link is more complicated than it seems.
It appears that you can't really eat enough turkey to experience tryptophan drowsiness, but its effect is multiplied when your insulin is higher. This means that foods with a high glycemic index – such as potatoes, stuffing and sugary desserts – are really the culprit. If you only eat turkey, you should not encounter any problems.
Give priority to eating turkey, vegetables and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, such as wholemeal bread instead of white, sweet potatoes instead of reddish brown, and a brown rice dish instead of bread filling. In addition, old cheeses such as Swiss and Cheddar contain tyramine, a stimulant, so reach over the pigs in a blanket and score a nice slice of manchego.
Look, we are not saying that you have to give up your usual pile of puree completely, but do not forget that you can now always make pace and enjoy the leftovers later.
2. Take it easy with alcohol. Genuine
The holiday season is often a boozy time. If Aunt Margaret starts talking about politics, who can blame you for having taken back an extra glass of wine? But alcohol has a strong calming effect. If you make more than one or two trips to the drinks cabinet, you will become even sleepier after eating.
The stress of the holiday can also make it difficult to fall asleep at night, but do not try to use alcohol as a sleeping aid. Although it may help you drift off in the first place, you have poor sleep quality all night.
If you plan to have a few drinks during your holiday meal, try to slide slowly and alternate portions of alcohol with at least one large glass of water in between. It will slow your pace and water is one of the best energy drinks there is. In addition, the extra hydration the next day will help with your headache if you surrender.