Why do you get sleepy after lunch? The “food coma” explained easily – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


Because he comes here sleep after lunch? It is the most common question we ask ourselves, especially after having had a sumptuous Sunday lunch or on special holiday occasions such as Easter. Having finished a delicious Easter menu in style with a beautiful artisanal Colomba, coffee is not enough to keep your eyes open. All you want is to spend at least half an hour on the sofa – and if you are not at home this desire is likely to be truly in vain. So let’s understand together why after a big meal you feel exhausted and sleepy by investigating the postprandial drowsiness (o food coma). Let’s proceed in order.

Why do we get sleepy after lunch?

1. The digestive effort

The larger the meal, the more blood goes to the intestine to aid digestion. The digestive organs require large amounts of oxygen, which they achieve by reducing the blood flow in other districts in favor of the digestive one. With less blood supply to the brain, you feel sleepier.

2. Tryptophan

The large quantities of carbohydrates introduced during lunch favor the increase in the concentration of tryptophan, an essential amino acid present in many foods we commonly eat, including bananas, milk, tuna, cheese and chicken. This substance helps produce melatoninor the sleep hormone.

3. The parasympathetic system

During digestion, the parasympathetic system prevails, which promotes relaxation and restand at the same time the activity of the sympathetic system is reduced, which is instead involved in situations of fear and/or alert.

4. Carbohydrates

Foods with a higher glycemic index tend to cause spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar levels. In fact, to regulate the increase in blood sugar induced by the meal, the body produces large quantities of insulin, and this causes a sudden decrease in glucose levels, which can generate the typical effects of hypoglycemia, including drowsiness. It may be due to a drop in blood sugar when you are unable to concentrate on work or feel irritable and tired. Simple carbohydrates also make it easier for tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier, so their combination can cause drowsiness. Adding a little fiber (a salad, some Brussels sprouts) and filling your plate with protein can help counteract some of the lethargic effects of carbohydrates.

5. Alcohol

Wine can also help you feel relaxed and induce a feeling of drowsiness, although it can have a negative effect on the quality of sleep: it is always better to drink at least a few hours before going to sleep. If you fall asleep immediately after a meal, the quality of your post-prandial sleep may be compromised both by alcohol consumption and by the effort to digest all the food that has been eaten.

Useful tips when you get sleepy after lunch

Without giving up the pleasure of a particularly rich lunch, some precautions can be useful. Experts suggest have a good breakfast, perhaps based on wholemeal bread and eggs, which will help avoid overeating. Also drink a large one glass of water before the meal, in addition to helping maintain correct hydration, it induces the brain to think of reaching a sense of satiety sooner. Another strategy for feeling fuller is to chew five to ten times before swallowing. Then, if after lunch we still feel sleepy, no big deal: it’s a holiday, and we have plenty of time to rest.

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