Why Do I Get Tired After Eating?
Why do I get tired after eating? This is a common question I hear all the time from our readers and my clients, friends, and family.
It seems like dealing with a post-meal slump is the norm nowadays… Let me assure you, feeling tired after eating may be common but it doesn’t have to be your normal.
There are some specific reasons why you may be feeling tired after eating. There are also some simple and natural ways you can energize your body and avoid that post-meal fatigue.
Keep reading to learn why do you get tired after eating. Once you understand the reasons, you will find some simple strategies to boost your energy and avoid feeling tired after eating once and for all.
Your Digestion Cycle and Feeling Tired After Eating
To understand why are you feeling tired after eating, you have to understand your digestion cycle first. Your body needs the energy to function properly every day. It needs energy not only for your workouts, daily activities, and your mental work, but also to simply exist.
How does your body get energy? From food, of course!
Your digestive system breaks down your food into fuel. Clean protein, healthy fats, and good carbs all have their function. You need vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to stay healthy and energized.
However, besides breaking down your food, your digestive system also triggers a variety of responses within your body after eating. It releases all sorts of hormones, such as glucagon, amylin, and cholecystokinin (CCK) to elevate your blood sugar, produce insulin, and increase satiety.
Your body also releases serotonin and may increase melatonin production, both of which may lead to increased drowsiness. This may explain why you are feeling tired after eating.
While this may sound like a normal process, it doesn’t mean that you have to get tired after eating. There are several factors that may play a role and explain why you get tired after eating and increase your chances of feeling tired after eating. Let’s look at these factors.
Why Do I Get Tired After Eating?
Your Diet May Make You Feel Tired After Eating
Not many people ask, “Why do I get tired after eating turkey on Thanksgiving?” because most people expect to feel sleepy after their Thanksgiving meal. But it’s not only the turkey that may make you tired. Other foods may play a role in your fatigue as well.
Your health, mood, and energy levels all depend on your diet. Specific foods may make you feel more tired after eating than others.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey occur in other foods as well. Tryptophan is present in fish, tofu, spinach, soy, eggs, cheese, chicken, milk, nuts, and seeds. Your body uses tryptophan to create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating your sleep. No wonder that tryptophan-rich foods may make you feel tired after eating.
Besides tryptophan, there are other factors that may play a role as well. Eating too much, eating too many simple carbohydrates, and drinking too much alcohol may also make you tired after eating.
Simple carbohydrates may make you feel energized short-term, but they also lead to a quick sugar crash and make you feel tired soon after you get up from the table. Certain other foods may affect your body differently and may lead to relaxation and sleepiness. For example, bananas help to relax your muscles, and cherries may increase your melanin levels.
Your Sleeping Habit May Make You Feel Tired After Eating
But what if you’ve already cleaned up your diet yet still asking “Why do I get tired after eating?” Your sleeping habits may be the culprit!
You probably know this from experience that not getting enough quality sleep leads to daytime fatigue and sleepiness. I’m not only talking about staying up late one or two times but regularly not getting enough or quality sleep. You may be surprised to know, but your sleep quality at night may affect how tired you feel after eating during the day as well.
Having a regular sleep schedule, exercising regularly, and lowering your stress levels may help with daytime sleepiness. However, if your schedule doesn’t allow enough sleep at night, according to research, a post-lunch nap may improve your mental and physical performance and alertness as well.
Your Exercise Habits May Make You Feel Tired After Eating
I hear you. You are still asking “Why do I get tired after eating? Can there be another reason I’m missing?”
Good question. The answer is yes. While your diet and sleep habits are important factors when it comes to being tired after eating, your exercise habits are important as well.
Regular exercise is incredibly important for your overall health. Regular exercise may ensure that you have enough energy to enjoy your day without a post-meal slump. It may actually increase your energy levels, reduce fatigue, and may decrease the risk of feeling tired after eating.
However, when you are exercising, make sure that you are not overdoing. Over-exercising and over-training may lead to increased fatigue, injuries, and health issues. If you are training hard for something, make sure that you fuel your body properly and pay attention to your sleep and rest as well.
Certain Health Conditions May Make You Feel Tired After Eating
In most cases, your diet, sleep cycle, and exercise habits are the main culprits behind your tiredness after eating. One of the most common health issues that may lead to being tired after eating is prediabetes and diabetes. However, in some cases, post-meal fatigue and drowsiness may be a sign of or caused by another health condition.
Anemia, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and an underactive thyroid are all potential reasons that may make you feel tired after eating or fatigued throughout the day. Make sure that you visit your doctor to find potential health issues causing your post-meal fatigue.
Blood Sugar Issues May Make You Feel Tired After Eating
Feeling tired after eating is a common symptom of both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia if you have prediabetes or diabetes. If you have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and eat too much sugar but you have insufficient or insufficient insulin to transport them to your cells for energy and fuel, it may lead to feeling tired after eating, general fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination.
On the other hand, low blood sugar or hyperglycemia may occur when you are consuming simple carbs, sugar as candy, soft drinks, fruit juices, maple syrup, or table sugar. They digest very quickly causing your blood sugar levels to spike quickly then crash suddenly within a short time. Hypoglycemia may occur in those with diabetes when they are taking more insulin or diabetes medication then they needed based on their food intake. Hypoglycemia is characterized by hunger, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and irritability.
If you suspect that you may have hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, prediabetes, or diabetes, it is important that you visit your doctor.
Food Intolerances May Make You Feel Tired After Eating
It may be surprising to know that being sensitive or intolerant to a food may actually lead to tiredness after eating. Food intolerances or sensitivities tend to lead to chronic symptoms over time. These issues may include fatigue, headaches, migraines, digestion problems, and skin conditions. If you are regularly feeling tired after eating, you may be dealing with food sensitivity.
Keeping a food diary is a simple way that you may be able to identify how certain foods, meals, or ingredients may affect your energy levels or trigger your chronic symptoms. Trying an elimination diet is an even better way to identify your personal intolerances and triggers. To make sure, you may ask your doctor for a blood test to identify your food sensitivities.
Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy and Prevent Feeling Tired After Eating
Now that you understand why you are feeling tired after eating, I bet you are ready for some solutions. First, it is important that you talk to your doctor to identify and address some potential underlying health conditions. Once you’ve ruled out anything serious, you may take a dive in and try some of our dietary and lifestyle strategies to help you boost and sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet
Reduce or avoid refined sugars, simple carbs, refined oils, artificial ingredients, junk food, and processed food. Eat a nutrient-dense diet high in energizing whole foods, such as greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. As Michael Pollan said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Pay Attention to Your Meal Sizes
Big meals may lead to overeating and feeling tired after eating. Make sure that you choose a meal size that feels right for you. It should nourish and energize your body without leaving your stuffed or sluggish. It may take a while, but if you pay attention to your body’s cues, you will develop an intuitive way of eating without finishing up supersized meals that lead to post-meal fatigue.
Regular exercise may support your energy levels and keep you feeling good throughout the day. Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. Choose activities that you enjoy. Mix up your cardio and strength training routine. Stay active throughout the day by going for a walk, playing with your kids or dogs outside, stretching regularly, riding your bike to work, or doing a few sun salutations in the morning.
As you’ve learned earlier, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial for your energy levels. Try to go to bed at the same time each night to support a regular sleep cycle. Develop a night-time routine that works for you. Turning off electronics, relaxation exercises, meditation, reading, journaling, and board games are great ways of getting ready for bed. Aim to sleep 7 to 9 hours a night.
Did you know that dehydration may actually make you feel tired? Staying hydrated throughout the day is absolutely crucial. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, more if you exercise a lot, feeling sick, staying out in the hot sun, or simply thirsty. It is also important that you keep your electrolyte levels balanced. Try coconut water, nature’s sports drinks to replenish your electrolytes after your workouts.
Try Some Natural Energy Drinks
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks may lead to quick increased energy but may also lead to energy crashes later on. Thank goodness, you may find some natural energy drinks without any caffeine. Coconut water, berry smoothies, matcha green tea, and green juices are some of my favorites. You may find some delicious natural energy drink recipes in this article.
If you’ve been asking “Why do I feel tired after eating”, chances are you’ve found your answers in this article. Now it’s time to try our natural strategies to boost your energy levels and improve your health. Nourish your body inside and out to avoid feeling tired after eating and live the life you deserve.
What will you do to avoid feeling tired after eating? Share your thoughts in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.
And remember, we are in this together.
Kat Gál is a holistic health writer who helps health, wellness, and nutrition businesses to market their products and services through quality online content. She is also a freelance writing mentor teaching wanna-be-freelancers how to make a living writing at freelancewriterschool.com. Reach out if you are looking for amazing blog content at firstname.lastname@example.org or katgalwriter.com. Visit freelancewriterschool.com for freelance writing tips. Follow me on Instagram @freelancewriterschool and on Facebook at facebook.com/katgalwriter.
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