The minute you finish with a heavy meal during lunch or dinner time, lethargy starts settling in your body and all you feel like doing is crashing on the couch and allowing sleep to take over you. Experiencing this extreme level of lethargy is an actual health condition that is known as Food Coma. Yes, it’s a thing!
Food Coma, commonly known as Postprandial somnolence is a state of drowsiness and extreme fatigue due to large amounts of food consumption. Food coma is the sleepy feeling you get after eating a large portion of a meal. It is so common that the term was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2014.
Our bodies are splendid at breaking down simple carbohydrates like baked foods, concentrated fruit juice, breakfast cereals into sugars, that our cells use for energy. These foods have a high glycaemic index; they quickly increase the amount of sugar in our blood.
Let us look at some of the major causes of Food Coma
Eating huge food portions
After gulping the last portion of food into your mouth, you hit the couch comfortably and spend the rest of the afternoon lying there, unable to do much more than looking at your phone. We all have had a similar feeling after a big meal. The prodromes to these are laziness and heavier body, usually accompanied by bloating and a feeling of tightness in the belly.
Changes in the blood flow towards brain cells
Blood is reallocated from blood vessels around your brain to the blood vessels around your intestines. When we eat a lot of GI foods like rice, pasta, lentils, etc, we get an energy boost but it takes our pancreas some time to keep pace with producing insulin. Insulin induces the sugar out of our bloodstreams into our cells, but it also allows a chemical called ‘Tryptophan’ to reach our brain cells, which produces another chemical ‘Serotonin’ both of which tend to make us sleepy.
Consumption of high-calorie and high-fat food
According to the National Sleep Foundation, eating foods high in carbohydrates may help elevate your serotonin levels. The purpose is that carbs cause your body to produce insulin, getting rid of other amino acids in the blood and thereby accelerating tryptophan’s entry into the brain.
Although the act of stretching your body and going off to sleep after eating a heavy meal though is blissful, it is necessary to prevent food coma
Eat smaller meals
Don’t eat huge meals but do make sure that you drink enough water. It will keep you much more awake and hydrated. Eat lighter meals that will provide you with an abundant amount of energy for the chores at hand and drink enough water throughout the day. The easiest way to avoid a food coma is to choose a proper meal to feast on. You need to eat in order to preserve your energy levels. Eating too much can activate the feelings of post-lunch dip.
If you feed yourself with higher carbohydrate food rather than fats, there is a greater probability to prevent a food coma. On the contrary, you should make an attempt to prevent meals that are extremely high in carbohydrates, since this could also escalate the chances of feeling sleepy. Speaking briefly, you should measure your activity levels as it’s all about balance.
Get enough sleep
Your lack of sleep and the size of your meals are inter-connected. The lack of sleep in combination with a heavy meal during the day makes you feel extra sleepy. So make sure you sleep adequately and eat right. Eat home-cooked less oily and greasy food, instead of outside food. This will help you get through your day.
Get active after a meal
Get your blood flowing accurately after you consume a meal. Go for a walk. Once you get your blood flowing, you might minimize your chances of getting a postprandial sleep. However, make sure you take a slow walk.
If you don’t want a food coma you should inculcate proper eating habits, eat food in the accurate amounts, get enough sleep, and be energetic after you eat a meal. Start making healthier food choices to activate your body and secure it from indelible complications.