Don’t Blame the Bird For Your Holiday Sleepiness

Sleep Expert on Staying Alert After Dinner and Behind the Wheel

Sleep Expert Advises Don’t Blame the Bird For Your Holiday Sleepiness

If you’re feeling a little sluggish after your Thanksgiving meal, don’te blame the turkey! Photo: Bigstock

For many of us it’s become a tradition: dozing off after indulging in a Thanksgiving feast and turkeys are often blamed.

“Turkeys contains tryptophan, a natural sedative, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the bird’s fault,” says Valley Sleep Center President Lauri Leadley.

Consider this:

  • Tryptophan is most powerful when you have an empty stomach and most of us have at least snacked before sitting down for dinner.
  • Your sleepiness is more likely caused by overindulging in a variety of foods that are high in carbs and fat. While your body works to digest the extra food, blood is pulled away from your brain and you become tired.
  • It’s not just what you eat, but also when you eat that can make you drowsy. We naturally feel tired two times in a 24-hour period: 2 a.m. and 2 p.m., which is often prime time for turkey and all the trimmings.
  • If you want to avoid feeling lethargic, aim for a meal that is low in carbs and fat and focus on fruits, vegetables and lean protein.

It’s also the time of year that drowsy drivers create risks for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans hitting the road this Thanksgiving.

A study released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that drowsy drivers are factors in as many as 7,500 deadly crashes a year. That’s about 25 percent of crashes. It also finds injuries and deaths are more common in drowsy driving crashes.

  • Be sure to get enough sleep.
  • If you’re a passenger, invest in a travel pillow to avoid a stiff neck, wear comfortable clothes and bring along soothing music.
  • Avoid too much holiday cheer. Overindulging in certain foods and alcohol can make you drowsy.

 About Valley Sleep Center

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their physicians are Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists and accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. They provide diagnostic testing for a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.