Sleep Expert Explains Why Turkey is Not the Reason You Are too Tired to Wash the Dishes.

If you immediately want to take a nap right after Thanksgiving dinner, don’t blame the turkey says sleep expert Lauri Leadley of Valley Sleep Center.

Turkey contains a natural sedative called tryptophan which has been blamed for years for our sudden lethargy right after Thanksgiving dinner, but the fact is; it’s probably not the turkey that’s making you tired.

“It’s not very likely that we get tired after eating turkey because tryptophan doesn’t act on the brain unless you eat it on an empty stomach,” says Leadley.  “Very few of us sit down to the Thanksgiving table with a truly empty stomach.”

Instead, the tiredness is more likely caused by overeating many foods – not just turkey, as well as eating a meal that is high in carbohydrates and fat.   The average Thanksgiving meal has over 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat.  As your body works to digest this massive amount of food, blood is pulled away from your brain, thus causing you to become tired.

Tiredness may also be caused as a natural function of our biological clocks.      We naturally feel tired at two different times of the day: about 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM. It is this natural dip in alertness that is primarily responsible for the feeling tired after a mid afternoon meal.

What can you do to prevent that post Thanksgiving meal lethargy?

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before and engage in some exercise early in the morning if you can.
  • Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to overeat, but rather to enjoy friends and family.
  • Eat a meal that is low in carbohydrates and fat, focusing on energy giving fruits and vegetables and lean protein.

And lastly, if you still feel like you need a nap, go ahead and take one and enjoy it; after all, Thanksgiving only comes once a year.
About Valley Sleep Center:

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900;