September 8, 2023

Why Does Thanksgiving Dinner Make You Sleepy?

It is a similar scene all across America… After Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten, football games have been watched, the parade has ended and everyone is taking naps. Grandpa is sleeping in his TV watching chair, and the kids are passed out on the couch. There is something about Thanksgiving that really seems to make everyone tired. It is often blamed on the turkey, but we think it is more than that. Stick around to learn… Why Does Thanksgiving Make You So Tired?

Turkey & Tryptophan:

turkey and tryptophan make you tired during thanksgiving

People often assume that Thanksgiving dinner makes them feel tired because of the Tryptophan in Turkey. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is vital for your body to induce sleep. It is needed in order to produce serotonin and melatonin.

While your body uses tryptophan in order to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. On its own, tryptophan does not induce sleep or make you feel tired.

Which is why we believe there are many of the other reasons why Thanksgiving dinner makes you feel tired. We will be sharing these other reasons with you today. Keep reading to learn more.

Learn more about what tryptophan does in our post: Why Does Tryptophan Make You Sleepy?

Hard Work In The Kitchen:

thanksgiving dinner cooking all day longThanksgiving dinner is a notoriously intense dinner to make. Defrosting a large turkey takes time, and so does cooking it properly. Which calls for getting up early to get things started if you want to eat before Black Friday.

Combine this bright and early start with all the sides, fixings, and desserts you could ever dream of and you better bet that it is going to be an exhausting and long day in the kitchen. This is often a team effort that involves heavy cleaning after the fact as well.

The stress and effort it takes to cook an entire thanksgiving meal is enough to make anyone want to take a nap. Especially if you are also a part of the clean up crew after easting all the Turkey.

You May Also Enjoy: The Best Sleep Schedule For Night Shift

Lots of Socializing:

our families can overwhelm and exhaust us

For many, Thanksgiving involves socializing with a lot of extended family. This means a lot of checking in on how life is going and so on. This can be a difficult time for many, even if you are happy with the direction your life is going it can be hard to sum up the last year of your life to a family member.

While some people recharge their battery when socializing, others can find it incredibly draining. After a long day of catching up and chit chatting with family or friends, you may find yourself completely depleted of energy and in need of some alone time to rest and recharge.

We all love our families, but that does not mean that they don’t drive us crazy. Anytime you bring a large amount of people together in one space it can be overwhelming. All the voices, running children, political debates, loud football games, arguments on what type of cranberry sauce is best… It is fun, exciting, and can be completely exhausting. An after dinner nap is a great way to do just that.

Lots of Sugar & Carbs:

pumpkin pie sugar and carbs make you sleepyFor many of us, the Thanksgiving holiday is all about the food. From mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole to pumpkin pie and everything in between. A traditional Thanksgiving meal is packed full of carbohydrates and sugar.

When you stuff yourself with any food group, your body will likely want you to stop moving and take it easy for a while. However, when you stuff yourself with a lot of simple carbohydrates and sugar, you will likely experience a drop in energy soon after eating.

When your blood sugar spikes rapidly, it that will often drop just as quickly. This will leave you feeling tired and ready for a nap.

Wine & Beer:

wine and alcohol can induce sleep

An alcoholic beverage is often paired with Thanksgiving dinner, if not several. Which could absolutely be another reason why you get so tired after eating. Whether you prefer beer, wine, or a mixed drink, alcohol tends to make you feel tired.

When you combine the sedentary effects of alcohol with the big meal and long tiring day, it makes perfect sense why everyone is falling asleep after Thanksgiving dinner. Something to keep in mind is that while alcohol can help induce sleep, if often lowers your overall quality of sleep. Click the link below to learn more about the effects alcohol has on your sleep.

Learn more about the effects of alcohol on your sleep in our post: Our Guide To Why Alcohol and Sleep Don’t Mix

Volume of Food Intake:

thanksgiving dinner can make you feel tired because

Sure, the type of food you eat during Thanksgiving dinner may impact your energy levels. However, so will the sheer amount of food. There is something about Thanksgiving that makes us eat far more food than we would ever eat during a normal meal.

I like to blame it on the number of side dishes that are typically prepared. Instead of one maybe two side dishes, you find yourself creating a mountain of stuffing, potatoes, green beans, and so much more. When you stuff yourself full of food, it takes a lot of energy for your body to digest it all. It also becomes uncomfortable to move around. This often leaves people stretched out and ready for a long post-Thanksgiving nap.

You May Also Enjoy: Best And Worst Foods Before Bed

Why Does Thanksgiving Dinner Make You Sleepy? – Final Thoughts:

The truth of the matter is that there is no singular reason why so many of us find yourself feeling tired after Thanksgiving dinner. It is a mixture of many factors that leads to so many people taking naps on the living room couch after eating their turkey and potatoes. While the tryptophan in your turkey could absolutely be a contributing factor, it is not the only reason why everyone feels so sleepy. Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving this year along with long restful naps afterword.

thanksgiving dinner with family why does it make you tired?