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Smarter Health: The Low Down on The Post-Turkey Nap

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It's Turkey Week! According to, 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving. That's a lot of gobble gobble being gobbled up...and a lot of post-turkey feast naps. But does the turkey meat cause that sleepiness or what? Someone else in our community also had that same question.

motherlover445 asks: Can you settle the debate in our house - why do we get so sleepy after eating turkey at Thanksgiving? My husband says it is due to the tryptophan, I say it is because we've been running around and eat a big meal and get that "crash" because of full bellies. Who's correct?

Yes, we all know that feeling and have seen the reclined bodies all over the house about 20 minutes after eating the Thanksgiving meal. And yes, we've all heard that tryptophan (which is an amino acid) is the snooze-inducer. But, friends, is a myth. It is not the tryptophan's fault, as it is found in many, many, many foods we consume everyday - other poultry, pork, eggs and so on.

So what does cause it? Probably a variety of things - the full belly being one of them, as we tend to eat much more than usual at one sitting at Thanksgiving. Add to that the carbohydrates we eat (stuffing, mashed potatoes) and possibly some wine, you've got the right recipe for naptime. Finish it up with the fact many of us were hard at work in the kitchen and are a tad exhausted, then -- bam! -- you're looking at some droopy eyelids.

So, if I have to settle the debate, I declare you the victor!

Do you get sleepy after the Thanksgiving feast?

Š NWPhotoguy 

by on Nov. 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Not usually. 

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Quoting SweetLuci:

 I'd like to take a nap, but with a houseful of people, that's not happening.

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by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 8:34 AM
I don't take a nap after a big meal. That is usually when the kids go outside and play.
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by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 8:53 AM
I love to nap after Thanksgiving dinner
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by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 9:14 AM

We always get sleepy after having turkey :)

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Mythbusters just did this myth.  It's the big meal, not the turkey that does it

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM

 i dont get too sleepy, just full!

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM
some times. This year, we're having goose instead of turkey.
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by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

No Thanksgiving nap for me. With the family halfway across the country and a three year old living with us. . I'll be drinking some red bull and trying (so hard) not to over-eat into a nice nap. :)

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM
No but i dont eat much.
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