Turkey isn’t what makes you tired on Thanksgiving

SPOKANE, Wash.– As the day winds down and you feel like curling up on the couch, you might be quick to point the finger at the turkey making you sleepy.

Before you blame the bird for the sudden need to nap, health experts say that might not the case. You may have heard turkey is the culprit because it contains a lot of an amino acid called L-tryptophan, according to Johns Hopkin All Children’s Hospital. When we eat with a lot of L-tryptophan, it travels from our digestive system to our brains. While there, it gets turned into another chemical: serotonin.

Serotonin can calm us down and even help us sleep. There’s that keyword: sleep.

So, if that’s the process, turkey is guilty of making you tired, right? Not exactly.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital says L-tryptophan can really only make a person tired right away if that’s all you eat. Turkey has a lot more to it so health experts say it’s unlikely the reason you feel like taking a nap after your Thanksgiving feast.

The reason you’re getting sleepy could be because of a big helping of…well everything. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital says the reason you feel like a nap is eating a big meal, like Thanksgiving dinner, causes more blood to flow to the stomach and less flows to the brain. That’s because you need more blood flow in your stomach to help digest such a large meal.

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