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Do You Get Sleepy After Eating?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

postprandial sleepiness

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  • After rapidly digesting carbohydrates, your blood sugar initially spikes, followed by a sharp crash later; this crash can make you sleepy
  • Another possibility is that animals must stay alert when they’re hungry in order to find food, but once a meal is found, they can take time to sleep
  • The neurotransmitter acetylcholine, for instance, plays a role in both wakefulness and signaling hunger, while orexin, a neuropeptide hormone involved in helping people stay awake, levels are increased during fasting
  • A cyclical ketogenic diet is ideal for most people and can help you avoid the blood sugar spikes and crashes that make many people sleepy after eating

Postprandial sleepiness, or feeling sleepy after you eat — otherwise known as a food coma — is a common human experience. To some extent, feeling sleepy after eating, especially in the afternoon, is normal, but it’s not a given. You can often curtail that drowsy feeling by making tweaks to your diet.

Carbohydrates are one of the greatest offenders to your energy level (and blood sugar level) after a meal. Low-net-carb foods (carbs minus fiber) like dense fruits and vegetables don’t significantly impact blood sugar, but sugars and grains, including most processed foods, are broken down into individual sugar units and absorbed into your bloodstream.

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