A Closer Look at Thanksgiving Turkey Sleepiness

A Relationship Between Turkey and Sleepiness?

In a new look at sleep for Gamer Advantage, we’ll examine the supposed relationship between turkey and sleepiness as Thanksgiving has come and gone. Helping us dive deeper into the topic will be Cortney Moore of Fox News using her article, “Does Thanksgiving turkey really make you sleepy?” Right at the start of the article, it suggests you need to look elsewhere other than turkey to blame. It states that general feasting and energy exertion should be your points of interest.


What About Tryptophan?

It’s often been said that tryptophan in turkey is the root cause of post-Thanksgiving meal sleepiness. To this point, Dr. Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University, states, “Tryptophan is one of 20 amino acids found in foods and can be converted in your brain to the neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin.” Further, “Since both of these compounds play an important role in regulating sleep, it seems quite logical that tryptophan has always been fingered as the sleep-inducing culprit behind the Thanksgiving Day nap.” But at this point, Blake begins to refute this theory, first noting that roasted chicken breast contains more tryptophan on average than turkey. The article further explains that according to the USDA’s FoodData Central database, a 100-gram serving of cooked turkey contains 252 milligrams of tryptophan compared to 362 milligrams from the same serving size of cooked chicken.


Recommended Daily Tryptophan Allowance

From the article, according to Joe Cohen, CEO of SelfDecode, an artificial intelligence-powered health report app, the daily tryptophan allowance for the average adult is between 250 and 425 milligrams. Speaking more on this, Cohen said, “Many people regularly get twice the recommended tryptophan amount without even trying through beef, poultry, fish eggs, soy, yogurt, cheese, milk, and vegetables.” Further, “It’s difficult to not get the recommended dietary allowance of tryptophan — it doesn’t just come from turkey.”


What’s Actually Happening

Breaking down what we can point to regarding the feeling of sleepiness, Blake has more to say. First, “When you eat a very large meal, such as turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, your gastrointestinal tract has to work harder to digest all this food. In order for your body to do all this extra work, some of your body’s blood supply is redirected away from your brain to the gut.” Not only that but, “This shifting of energy-rich blood from the brain to your gastrointestinal tract can cause you to feel tired. Alcohol also has sedating properties." Finally, and what many primarily responsible for Thanksgiving dinner can relate to, “Let’s not also forget all of the extra work that goes into creating Thanksgiving. The amount of time and effort needed to shop, prepare, and clean up the food served would give anyone cause to cuddle up on the couch for a post-dinner nap.”


One Other Angle and Wrap-up

According to Robert Pagano, a certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Sleepline, a mattress review company, overeating can cause the sense of lethargy if an individual did not sleep well enough. Not only that, but he states that too many carbs can cause a feeling of exhaustion since the body has to adjust to a larger amount of food.

In all, in a different look at sleep this month, we hope to have dispelled myths involved with Thanksgiving turkey and sleepiness. But at we heard from Pagano, getting better rest (and eating less) may help you overcome feelings of Thanksgiving lethargy. And of course, pertaining to rest, Gamer Advantage glasses can help!





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