Postprandial somnolence, also known as a food coma, is a common condition in which an individual feels sleepy or drowsy after consuming a meal. It generally causes a depletion in the energy levels after eating something.
Why Does It Happen? There are some factors involved behind this biological condition which include the type of food, its quantity and its time of consumption. • Type of Food It is generally observed that those individuals tend to develop his condition more who consume a diet rich in carbohydrates. This is because consuming more carbs releases serotonin, a happy hormone, which regulates mood and the sleep cycle. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in some protein-containing food, synergistically plays a role in amplifying the sleep-inducing effect on the individual. Therefore, we can say that consuming a meal rich in both carbs and protein can induce postprandial somnolence. • Quantity of Food Relatively larger meals than usual might also cause drowsiness. For instance, if you take a large portion for lunch, you might feel an urge to take an afternoon nap afterwards. This happens as there’s a surge in the blood glucose levels after the meal, and when this peak subsides, an individual feels energy depleted. •Timing of Food Our body works according to a natural and biological clock, the circadian rhythm. If this cycle is disturbed, a person’s ability to stay active during the day decreases. Science explains that there is a release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, just a few hours after midday and midnight. This rightfully explains why some people feel sleepy after consuming an afternoon meal. How to Avoid Food Coma? Feeling lethargic after consuming meals can affect your productivity levels during the day, and it is even more critical in individuals who work at night shifts as staying alert at night becomes highly necessary for them. You can avoid getting into a food coma through following these things: Have Small, Frequent Meals Taking small, frequent meals will not cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar levels and therefore save you from the energy-deprived phase after the meals. Sleep Well Disturbing your sleep cycle has a huge impact on your levels of alertness during the working hours. Make sure you have a scheduled sleeping pattern to avoid postprandial somnolence. Take a Brisk Walk Performing a little exercise can boost the metabolism that makes you feel more energized. It is recommended to walk sometime later when you consume a meal. Do Not Consume Alcohol Drinking a glass of alcohol during meals can deprive an individual of his body energy, causing postprandial somnolence. It is best to avoid alcohol during meals. These are some of the factors that are critical in inducing and controlling postprandial somnolence. However, if the condition persists and you are unable to function normally after each meal, it is best to consult an expert medical practitioner who will look into the matter in detail and prescribe medication or other interventions to cure the condition.