Food is the fuel for our body to boost our energy but, what happens when it becomes just the opposite? Consuming a meal is supposed to give your body energy to function throughout the day. It is because of this reason it becomes confusing when it leaves a person feeling tired, lethargic, and sleepy after eating.Also Read - Want to Wake up Fresh? Know And Understand The Sleep Cycle First

Insulin has an important role to play in your energy levels after you eat. When you chew down the food, your insulin levels spike to make sure your blood sugar levels are where they should be, when you finish that meal, insulin levels decline, which can make people feel tired and lethargic. Since this process is normal the sleepiness should not last long. In case, if the fatigue stays longer with you, it might not hurt to talk to your doctor or to seek help from a dietitian. Also Read - This Bengaluru Startup is Paying Rs 1 Lakh to Sleep Well for 100 Days!

Feeling lethargic and sleepy after having food is quite common, after all, digesting food is a lot of hard work, but there are few reasons why this happens.  Also Read - 7 Apps to Improve Your Everyday Life

  • Avoid having big heavy meals 

Feeling tired after you eat has more to do with the quantity of food you ate instead of what you ate. The reason being the bigger the meal, the more energy it takes for your body to break it down. Try to reduce your portion sizes and reach for a fiber-rich snack if you feel hungry to save the energy that you would have spent digesting heavy food.

  • Digestion system plays an important role:

Your body needs the energy to function, not to do your daily chores or exercise but to breathe and simply exist. We get this energy from our food.  Food is broken down into glucose by our digestive mechanism. Nutrients like protein then provide calories that act as energy to our bodies.

  • Diet plays a major part :

A protein-rich diet can contain serotonin which can induce and regulate sleep generating signals to one’s brain. One should avoid food like Soya, Eggs, Spinach, Fish, Tofu, etc. Also, avoid fruits like cherries and bananas since the minerals in them include melatonin which causes a fall in blood sugar and also transmits neuro signals to relax your muscles.

  • Sleep cycle 

If you’re relaxed and full, your body may feel like resting and relaxing, especially if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Limiting stress, regular sleep patterns, and adding exercise to your daily routine to help you get a better night’s sleep can eventually help in reducing lethargy after meals.

  • Physical activity

Exercising daily helps to increase energy and reduce fatigue. In other words, being regular in exercising can not only help you to keep fit and in shape but also help you stay active and reduce tiredness and sleepiness from your system. Adding regular physical activity to your routine can make you feel stronger and less tired even if it is a brief workout of 30 minutes.

Avoid drinking alcohol with your meal, alcohol contains sedatives that can make you feel sleepy after your meals. 

When to consult a doctor?

Sometimes, being tired can hint at an underlying disease or condition that can make post-meal drowsiness worse include:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Specific food allergies or intolerances like ( lactose intolerance, etc)
  • Insomnia
  • anemia or conditions like Thalassemia
  • underactive thyroid

If you’re frequently tired and have one of these conditions, talk to your doctor about possible solutions.

Preventing Post Meal Drowsiness:

  • Drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated
  • Prefer consuming fruits rich in Vitamin C and avoid heavy and sweet fruits like mangoes and bananas.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes a healthy mix of vegetables ( preferably leafy greens), add nuts and seeds to your regular diet.
  • Decrease the amount of food eaten at a time.
  • Increase your sleeping hours during the night
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit or avoid the consumption of alcohol.
  • Keep a check on caffeine consumption.
  • Eating foods that are good for your gut, blood sugar, insulin levels, and brain
  • Switch to lighter versions of cooking oil to prepare your meals like Olive Oil, etc.
  • Avoid too much sugar and eat small portions, frequent meals can also help.

– Written by Apoorva Girdhar