How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Did you know that the average American consumes around 3,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner?

This doesn’t even include appetizers, drinks, and dessert, which can push that calorie count closer to 4,500-5,000.

It’s no wonder so many of us experience a “food coma” after ingesting all that food! Holiday meals tend to be loaded with sugar and high carb foods that make your energy levels plummet.

Do you know the foods that make you drowsy and foods that give you energy? In this post, we’ll examine both types so you can enjoy a more balanced diet.

Read on to learn more!

Foods That Make You Drowsy

You can probably already name a few foods that make you tired—especially junk foods. But surprisingly, even healthy foods like certain fruits can make you want to crawl into bed and take a nap.

Here’s a short list of food that makes you sleepy.

1. Processed Carbs

If you haven’t already heard enough reasons to swap processed carbs for whole grains, here’s one more.

A meal heavy on bread, pasta, and other processed carbs cause a quick spike in blood sugar, giving you a temporary energy rush. The problem? Those glucose levels “crash” just as quickly, making you want to crash too.

Swap out white bread, white rice, and regular pasta for whole-grain versions instead. These pack a better nutritional punch and are easier for your body to digest.

2. Bananas

Bananas are high in many vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium. Your body needs these nutrients to thrive, but a banana first thing in the morning might not be the best idea.

Why? These minerals work to relax your muscles, which can leave you feeling drowsy for hours.

If you love bananas, try eating one before bedtime to help you sleep more soundly.

3. Turkey

We’re not suggesting you skip turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s wise to limit your consumption to a few ounces. That’s because turkey (and other lean meat) is packed with tryptophan, an amino acid that produces a sleepy feeling.

Tryptophan raises serotonin levels in your blood, making you want to drift off to dreamland. Turkey skin—although delicious—is loaded with fat and calories, further adding to your sleepiness.

For your Thanksgiving feast, stick to a few ounces of white meat (without the skin) to avoid the post-holiday food coma.

4. Dark Chocolate

Yes, dark chocolate has caffeine, which should help you stay awake, right?

That’s true, but it also contains serotonin—the neurotransmitter than signals your body to relax. A little nibble before bedtime might help you sleep better, but earlier in the day it might make you drowsy.

Interestingly, milk chocolate doesn’t contain serotonin. In small amounts, it might actually make you feel more awake.

5. Cherries

The humble cherry is another superfood that contains dozens of health-boosting properties.

They’re also naturally high in melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleeping and waking cycles. A handful of cherries in the middle of the day will spike your melatonin levels, making your body think it’s time for sleep.

To enjoy the health benefits of cherries, snack on them after dinner or before bedtime. Then you’ll welcome the sleepy feeling when it hits you.

6. Pistachios

Pistachios are high in Vitamin B6, protein, and magnesium, which are all essential to good health.

The problem is that these same nutrients also relax the body, which can make you feel sleepy at an inopportune time. Like the other foods on this list, try a handful in the evening to take advantage of their sleep-inducing power.

A word of caution though: Limit your intake to no more than an ounce. Pistachios are packed with calories, so if you eat too many, it could have the opposite effect and keep you awake!

7. Sweet Potatoes

Another staple of holiday meals, sweet potatoes contain high levels of magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Combined with butter, cream, and sugar, a few spoonfuls may be all you need to drift off into a food coma.

Rather than whipping them into a sugary, calorie-packed casserole, try eating a plain baked sweet potato with your Thanksgiving meal. You could also cut them into chunks and roast them instead.

Foods That Boost Your Energy

Now that you know which foods make you sleepy, let’s look at a few that will energize you.

1. Avocados

Avocados are full of healthy fats and B Vitamins to keep you going for hours. They also help your body absorb and store nutrients to be used as energy sources later on.

2. Chickpeas

Arguably the best legume for your body, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are full of protein and fiber. Add some to your salad or enjoy them in a hummus dip for a mid-afternoon energy boost.

3. Eggs

Did you know that we absorb 97% of all protein found in eggs, more than any other food source? Eat them boiled, scrambled, baked, or fried for all-day energy.

4. Brown Rice

Brown rice is high in manganese, a mineral that helps your body convert carbs and protein into energy. Swap out the white rice for its healthier counterpart and you’ll feel energized for hours.

5. Oranges

Unlike some fruits that give you a quick energy boost (followed by a crash), oranges provide a slow and steady stream of energy. Add one to your morning routine for an all-day supply of folate, potassium, and Vitamin C.

Eating Healthy Over the Holidays: Final Thoughts

The holiday season is a time for sharing good times with the people we love most. It’s only natural that delicious food is included in the festivities!

Still, you don’t have to eat yourself into a food coma from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

As you’re planning your holiday meals, refer back to this list of foods that make you drowsy. Try to limit the amount of these items and swap them out for healthier, energy-boosting foods instead.

If you do, you’ll sail through the holiday season without feeling tired—or packing on the pounds.

Would you like more easy-to-follow tips for a healthier diet? Click here for our recent post on the topic.

Not including caffeine.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

The days might be getting gradually longer (I mean, we’re talking a matter of seconds at the moment, but every little helps) but I’m not seeing a whole lot of improvement in the tiredness stakes. There’s just something about this time of year that makes is A) impossible to get out of bed, and B) incredibly difficult to survive the afternoon without requiring a nap under your desk.

But we have good news! There are things other than caffeine you can consume to make you feel less tired. Witchcraft! Seana Forbes, Nutrition Specialist at fitness app Freeletics, runs through a few food options that will keep you mentally focused and alert until it’s time to go home and collapse on the sofa:

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Aside from being delicious and versatile, avocado is also extremely energising. It may be loaded with calories, but its high (healthy) fat content, including omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, fights bad cholesterol, increases blood flow to the brain and helps the body absorb other nutrients. In addition, avocado provides more protein than most fruits. Since we need carbs, fat and protein for sustained energy, it’s this combination of nutrients that makes avocado an amazing energy booster.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Apples are rich in fructose, the predominant sugar found in fruit. Fructose is the body’s preferred source of energy, and apples – or indeed any fruit high in fructose – will provide a steady supply of energy to your brain and body for longer. Apples can also help to curb any hunger, or sweet cravings you might experience through the day.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Sprouted grains are whole grains (brown rice, oats, buckwheat etc.) that have been soaked and left to germinate. The process is said to make it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients it wants and needs, therefore making B vitamins, vitamin C and folate more readily available to the body, resulting in more energy.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Macadamia nuts – and most nuts and seeds for that matter – are some of the best snacks to beat fatigue and fight hunger. At 160 to 200 calories per small handful, macadamia nuts are a concentrated source of energy, containing all major macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, good fats etc. Just remember: although nuts are good for you, they are also high in calories, so should be eaten in moderation.

Natasha says: “The anti-oxidants in blueberries help with premature ageing of the skin”. They fight free radicals which attack your skin.

Try eating: Organic blueberries. According to the Environmental Working Group, blueberries fall under foods that store pesticides more than others so eating organic will maximise their value.

Not only do blueberries taste great, they’re also energising and can even boost your brain function. Blueberries are a great source of manganese, a chemical element often found in minerals in combination with iron, which plays an important role in assisting certain metabolic activities in the body, one of which is converting carbohydrates and fats into energy. Studies have also shown that blueberries can help to prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Your diet may be to blame for the fact that you can’t make it through the day without a nap.

What you eat and how you sleep go hand in hand. Certain foods and beverages will perk you up (hi, coffee!), while others will send you scrambling to find the nearest nap spot. And it’s not just huge meals and fast food grub that can cause you to nod off midday: Seemingly healthy foods can make you drowsy, too. If you’ve been feeling exceptionally tired after meals lately, you may want to consider limiting these five foods during the day.

Cherries: The fruit is naturally high in the hormone melatonin, which controls your sleep and wake cycles. The extra dose of melatonin can send a signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep, so save cherries (as well as tart cherry juice, which also has high amounts of melatonin) for an after-dinner snack instead of munching on them midday.

Bread: Carbs cause your blood glucose levels to jump quickly (that’s why you get a sudden burst of energy). But when these glucose levels start to drop back down, you’ll likely experience an energy crash that will leave you ready for a nap. Processed carbs (like white bread) are especially problematic, while whole grain breads are less likely to leave you feeling sluggish.

Dark Chocolate: Sorry, this is bad news for those with a sweet tooth. Even though dark chocolate has caffeine in it, it also contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you relax. Interestingly, milk chocolate doesn’t contain serotonin and can actually make you feel more awake.

Turkey: There’s a reason that you feel like hitting the hay after Thanksgiving dinner: Lean proteins like turkey, fish, chicken, and low-fat cheese are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that increases serotonin levels.

Bananas: Potassium and magnesium in bananas are to blame for the sleepy feeling. They help relax your muscles and send you off to dreamland. Instead, reach for an orange because its citrus scent can be energizing.

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One of the best ways to control your body is to control what you put inside it. And you’re lucky enough to live in a day and age where people are starting to care about the quality of our bodily fuel: whether it’s the new trend of veganism or the increasing interest of the public for organic food, it is becoming easier and easier to control what you eat… and most of all, to understand how to fall asleep fast thanks to food.

Foods that help you sleep contain tryptophan, an amino acid which combined with carbohydrates encourages your body to produce more serotonin. In turn, the serotonin synthesizes melanin, the sleep hormone.

Thus, to sleep properly one should eat things that contain either tryptophan and carbs, or just melanin. Don’t get too excited though, because tryptophan is the rarest amino acid! You will find very small quantities of it in protein foods (meat, eggs, fish, dairy products, legumes and dried fruit), but it is very fragile… and if you cook it for too long, it gets destroyed by heat!

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

What should you eat to fall asleep ?

  • Fish (swim in tryptophan)

Some good old codfish brandade with potatoes and parsley is the ideal meal to hit the hay at ludicrous speed with a solid dose of tryptophan and slow sugars. Other good ideas include: codfish with cream (which has milk, so more tryptophan). If you can’t stand codfish, try some cuttlefish, sturgeon or tuna.

Fish eggs are great – but we wouldn’t be surprised we’ll understand if you don’t have caviar at your beck and call. Hard boiled eggs are also great: the egg white contains tryptophan, but also vitamin D, which increases the quantity of serotonin in the brain. (As a bonus, eggs also put you in a good mood!)

  • Passe-partout pasta

If you think you’ve had enough of pasta with cheese, think again: while not as much a staple as the bread sandwich or the rice and beans that fed you and your broke friends during your college days, pasta has the advantage of being a solid dish of carbs and slow sugars. It also goes with everything: sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds, yellow mustard seed, soybean, flax seed, or sesame seeds with parmesan, gruyere, grated emmenthal or even goat cheese (seeds and cheese and other dairy products contain a lot of tryptophan).

If your diet has too much pasta or noodles, eat some legumes or whole grain: quinoa, oats, brown bread and brown rice, lentils, barley, bulgur, millet, popcorn, semolina, buckwheat, beans and chick peas…

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

  • Unnecessary meats

If you have beef salami in the fridge, you’re in luck: it’s the universal tryptophan champion with 0.9g of tryptophan for 100g of salami. Don’t like salami ? no worries, most meats will do the job, but try and prioritize boar, rabbit and veal, which have slightly more tryptophan than the others. In any case, we encourage you to eat as little meat as possible; here at Livlab we try not to eat too much meat for ethical and health reasons.

  • Nuts and fruits

Fruits with the most tryptophan are bananas, dates, mango and coconut. You can use nut oil in your salads or add the nuts as they are (almonds and cashews, pecan, pistachios and sunflower seeds).

  • Chocolate!

One or two squares of dark chocolate (70% minimum) is the best to help your body produce serotonin. The sugar inside the chocolate triggers insulin production, which pushes all amino acids towards the muscles… except the tryptophan. With a line of sight straight to the brain and nothing to stop it, you’ll up your chances of getting a maximum of serotonin.

However, be careful, you don’t want to take any more than that! Dark chocolate contains caffeine, which ups your heart rate. It’s better to take some early in the day.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

  • Drinks

Infusions are a good way to prepare yourself for bed: relax with valerian, passionflower, verbena, hawthorn blossom, passiflora, lemon balm , chamomile or linden, which all have soothing properties which range from putting you to sleep to calming your anxieties.

Use water that’s rich in minerals. It contains magnesium and vitamin B6 which combined with carbs help to make serotonin.

If you want to drink something a little bit more hearty, a glass of warm milk can also bring you a good dose of extra tryptophan… otherwise, try some cherry juice! It contains straight up melanin.

Things to avoid

  • Fatty and spicy foods take too long to digest and can create digestive problems. Pimento, pepper, paprika, cumin and other “hot” spices raise your body temperature, which is counterproductive when you realize that the body cools to fall asleep.
  • Proteins have tryptophan, but everything is better in moderation. Too many proteins create an excess of tyrosine, which produces dopamine, which is a stimulant.
  • A bit of cheese on your pasta is always good, but an excess of dairy products, especially from cows, stimulates the production of mucus in the throat and clogs your respiratory route. That’s why you should avoid dairy when you have a sore throat or when you have allergies.
  • For lunch: you can allow yourself to stock up on protein because you have time to digest them. Have small portions of slow sugars, but no fast sugars!
  • For dinner: dine 2 to 3 hours before bedtime and prioritize more slow sugars and less protein. Most of all, watch out for decaffeinated drinks: they’re not entirely decaf, even though they have 10 times less caffeine that regular caffeinated drinks. Caffeine blocks the efficiency of melanin.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

  • Don’t drink any alcohol (it metabolizes quickly and you will be dehydrated) or energy drinks.
  • Forget eggplants. They contain nicotine, which is a stimulant!
  • Finally, don’t take any dairy if you’re lactose intolerant (of course) but also if you fear feeling bloated or having stomach burns.

Now that you know what to eat, you’re good to go to sleep! 🙂

Nearly everyone has days when they feel sleepy. But for some people, excessive sleepiness actually gets in the way of daily work, childcare, and even leisure activities. This is known as hypersomnia, recurrent sleepiness that makes people want to nap repeatedly, even at work.

Not surprisingly, the problem of daytime sleepiness usually starts at night. Even missing just a few nights’ sleep, or not getting enough uninterrupted sleep, can slow you down and sour your mood.

Poor sleep habits are often the cause of daytime sleepiness. Before you go through any more groggy and crabby days, try these 12 ways to improve nighttime sleep and avoid daytime sleepiness.

1. Get adequate nighttime sleep.

That may sound obvious, but many of us succumb to shaving an hour or two off our sleep time in the morning or at night to do other things. Most adults need seven to nine hours a night, and teenagers usually need a full nine hours. Block out eight or nine hours for sleep every night.

2. Keep distractions out of bed.

“Reserve your bed for sleep and sex,” says Avelino Verceles, MD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the school’s sleep medicine fellowship. “You shouldn’t read, watch TV, play video games, or use laptop computers in bed.” Don’t do your bills or have heated discussions in bed either. They may leave you sleepless.

3. Set a consistent wake-up time.

People who have problem sleepiness are often advised to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including on weekends. But randomly setting an ideal bedtime can lead to more frustration if you suffer from insomnia and already have trouble falling asleep, says Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences Ltd. in Albuquerque, N.M., and author of Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through the Night.

Instead, Krakow suggests starting out by setting a wake-up time only. “Stick by that for the first few weeks or even months to establish a rhythm,” he says. “That process of always getting up at the same time helps to anchor the circadian rhythm. And if you do that and have a bad night, you’ll also to be sleepier the next bedtime.”

4. Gradually move to an earlier bedtime.

Another approach to getting into a consistent schedule is to try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights. Then stick with the last bedtime. Gradually adjusting your schedule like this usually works better than suddenly trying to go to sleep an hour earlier.

5. Set consistent, healthy mealtimes.

Regular mealtimes, not just regular sleep times, help regulate our circadian rhythms. Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch on time — rather than grabbing a doughnut and coffee in the morning or a late sandwich on the run — also prevents energy deficits during the day that will aggravate your sleepiness. Plan to finish eating meals two to three hours before bedtime.

6. Exercise.

Regular exercise (30 minutes a day on most days) offers multiple benefits for sleep. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, generally makes it easier to fall asleep and sleep more soundly.

Exercise also gives you more daytime energy and keeps your thinking sharp. And if you exercise outside in daylight, you get still more benefits. Sleep experts recommend 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight a day because daylight helps regulate our sleep patterns.

7. De-clutter your schedule.

“If you don’t think you can allow seven or eight hours for sleep, then you need to look at your schedule and make some adjustments,” says Verceles. “Move some activities from nighttime to early evening or from early to late morning.” Try to eliminate tasks that aren’t really important. Getting enough sleep at night will help you function better during your remaining activities.

8. Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy.

If you go to bed when you’re just tired, you probably won’t be able to fall asleep, Krakow says. “Distinguish between the feeling of sleepiness and being tired. Get into bed when you’re sleepy — eyes droopy, you’re drowsy, you feel like you’re nodding off. It’s a very different kind of feeling.”

9. Don’t nap late in the day.

Late afternoon napping can make daytime sleepiness worse if because it can interfere with nighttime sleep.

10. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual.

A relaxation routine before bedtime can help you separate from the day — especially from activities that are over-stimulating or stressful, making it difficult to sleep. Try meditation, soaking in a hot bath, listening to soothing music, or reading a book. A cup of herbal tea or warm milk can also be soothing, but skip those if they cause you to wake at night to go to the bathroom.

11. Avoid “nightcaps.”

People often think that alcohol helps sleep, but it actually robs you of deep sleep, which is essential for feeling well rested. When the effects of alcohol wear off during the night, you’ll probably be wide awake again.

12. See a sleep specialist.

Daytime sleepiness can be caused by sleep disorders. If you are excessively sleepy consistently during the day even when you sleep well or if you fall asleep without warning during daily activities, you may have a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea, a breathing problem that occurs during sleep. According to Krakow, undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders are probably the greatest cause of daytime fatigue and sleepiness.

Problem sleepiness can also be caused by certain illnesses and medications. And mental conditions such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety are very commonly linked to sleep problems.

A sleep specialist can design a treatment program for you that treats the underlying sleep disorder and helps you develop better sleep habits and attitudes though cognitive behavioral therapy. Sometimes it takes a combination of medication and behavioral therapy to eliminate daytime sleepiness, but it can be done.


Avelino Verceles, MD, assistant professor and director, sleep medicine fellowship, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Barry Krakow, MD, medical director, Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences Ltd., Albuquerque, N.M.; author, Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through the Night.

NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Problem Sleepiness.”

Allison T. Siebern, PhD, fellow, Insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, Sleep Medicine Center, Redwood City, Calif.

National Sleep Foundation: “Healthy Sleep Tips.”

University of Maryland Medical Center: “Common Adult Sleep Problems/Disorders.”

Written by Mohan Garikiparithi
| –> General Health | –> Published on January 30, 2017

Many people experience fatigue after eating, especially when they’ve enjoyed a large lunch or dinner, but why do you feel tired after you eat? Keep reading to learn what causes fatigue after eating, and how you can prevent the excessive sleepiness from hitting you after a meal.

Fatigue after eating causes

You’ve just polished off a great lunch and are now feeling your energy wane and your eyes getting heavy. It happens to many of us, though few people actually know why they experience fatigue after eating. Find out a few possible causes for this sudden tiredness below.

Reactive hypoglycemia: After a meal full of carbohydrates, you may experience reactive hypoglycemia, which leaves you feeling extremely fatigued after eating and may also lead to headaches, irritability, and light-headedness. This occurs because the excess of carbohydrates cause your insulin production to spike and raise your blood glucose. When you are finished digesting, your blood glucose levels drop dramatically, resulting in a sugar crash.

Tryptophan: Tryptophan increases the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood, sleep, and regulating bowel movements. Consuming foods high in tryptophan causes a rise in insulin leaving you feeling drowsy after your meal.

Alkaline tide: Alkaline tide occurs during the first two hours of digestion and raises the blood’s pH level. The digestion process produces an alkaline that is released into the blood plasma of the stomach and makes the blood from the stomach more alkaline than the blood travelling to it during digestion.

Allocation of resources: The theory that blood and oxygen are allocated to the digestive system in the same way they are to the muscles when working out has not been scientifically backed, but could explain the fatigue felt after eating.

Certain conditions: Diabetes and hypothyroidism can also cause fatigue after eating, as diabetes can reduce the absorption of glucose, while hypothyroidism makes the thyroid glands unable to produce enough thyroid hormones.

Food quality: Eating food with minimal nutritional value will leave you tired and fatigued after eating. In contrast, vitamin rich foods can help boost energy after a meal.

Meal portions: Eating large portions of unhealthy foods can leave you feeling sleepy. Livestrong suggests reducing the portion size of meals and eating more frequently so your body can digest smaller amounts at a time, which will leave you feeling less tired after a meal.

Allergies: Consuming a food you are allergic too can result in fatigue, as your body works to get rid of the allergen, expending energy as your immune system protects the body.

Suppression of orexin: This is the most significant peptide that controls wakefulness and is most active in the hypothalamus. Eating too many carbs subsequently leads to increased glucose levels in the bloodstream, leading the suppression of orexin.

Inflammation: The body releases messengers called cytokines that initiate the inflammatory process. Cytokines like TNF and IL-1b can suppress orexin—the peptide responsible for wakefulness. Foods that can cause inflammation may lead to significant fatigue.

Orexin and Blood pH: The orexin peptide is very sensitive to minor changes in blood ph. Scenarios of increased alkalinity results in orexin to become suppressed leading to fatigue.

Leptin: This is a hormone responsible for the feeling of satiety—a satisfaction of our hunger. Leptin has also been found to increase inflammation, making us feel tired. Interestingly, leptin hormone levels are seen to increase more from carbohydrates rather than from protein or fat.

Parasympathetic activation: This relates to the part of the nervous system that is responsible for regulating the body’s unconscious actions. It is often referred to as the “rest and digest” system. This process of your nervous system contributes to the feelings of fatigue after a meal.

Cannabinoids and Orexin: These peptides actually have a counterbalancing system. Low levels of cannabinoids potentiate orexin and can stimulate wakefulness.

Insulin and low potassium: Having increased levels of insulin in the blood stream leads potassium to go into cells, resulting in a low blood serum potassium. Having a decreased potassium level can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, or even paralysis.

How to avoid excessive sleepiness after eating?

Now that we know what may be causing the sleepiness you experience after eating, how can it be avoided? Below are some tips and tricks for preventing that after meal drowsiness.

Avoid high sugar and carbs foods: Foods high in sugars and carbohydrates can leave you feeling drowsy during the digestion process. Skipping them at lunch time will help you beat afternoon fatigue, which leaves you feeling sluggish for the rest of your day.

Be active after eating: Improve digestion and fight the effects of tryptophan by engaging in light exercise after eating, such as walking or doing the dishes.
Take caffeine: A cup of coffee or tea will do in a pinch if you are strapped for time or do not have the means to exercise. The caffeine in these drinks acts as a simulant and can keep you feeling alert.

Take a nap: A 20-30 minute nap after a heavy meal can help you to digest your food and ward off any additional drowsiness.

Use a food diary: Keep track of the foods and habits that leave you feeling sleepy in a food diary, and analyze them after a week to identify trends and factors to avoid.

Eat a healthy breakfast: Eating well at breakfast prevents you from over-doing it at lunch and gorging on fast, unhealthy foods that leave you fatigued after eating.

Eat smart at lunch: Avoid fast food full of sugar, salt and carbohydrates that make you sleepy and opt for more nutritional options to better fuel your body and give you more energy.

Snack: Eating a healthy snack in the afternoon can give you a boost of energy.

Avoid alcohol: Alcohol is a sedative and full of sugars and carbs, meaning it can cause drowsiness quickly. Drink water or sugar-free juices with meals in order to avoid any after-meal fatigue.

Stay hydrated: Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water daily keeps you hydrated and can reduce the feeling of fatigue after eating.

Experiencing fatigue after eating could be due to many things such as other medical conditions, too large portions, meal choice, and even the process of digestion. While it is common, fatigue after eating is not something that must be experienced. Try some of the tips listed to combat tiredness after a meal and make the most of your afternoon.

It is obvious you cannot skip eating your lunch, but you can definitely control the sluggishness that’s causing your work to suffer. Here are some diet tips to follow in order to remain active.


It is obvious you cannot skip eating your lunch, but you can definitely control the sluggishness that’s causing your work to suffer. Here are some diet tips to follow in order to remain active.

1. Do not sit back on your desk, take a walk

Do not sit back to work right after you have eaten your meal; all you need to do is take a brisk walk in your premises or climb stairs. This short spanned exercise will help to increase the oxygen levels in the blood and boost your energy levels.

Do not sit back to work right after you have eaten your meal​

According to a study published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour, chewing gum may reduce tiredness and ensure increased alertness; of course overdoing it may reverse the effects. Chewing gum may help because you are constantly in a state of action giving you a major mood boost. Chew mint gum for at least five minutes to feel energized again.

chewing gum may reduce tiredness and ensure increased alertness​3. Drink water, lots of it

Dehydration can cause fatigue, low mood and difficulty in concentrating. Make sure you are drinking enough water through the day. So hydrate your body with some fluid that will help retain the post lunch slump.

Dehydration can cause fatigue, low mood and difficulty in concentrating​4. Eat healthy, say no to junk

The refined grains in processed foods get digested quickly that results in blood sugar spike and dip contributing to low energy levels. Choose to eat more energizing meals that includes more iron (leafy green veggies), lean proteins (lean meat, fish and eggs) and complexed carbohydrates (whole grains and legumes).

The refined grains in processed foods get digested quickly that results in blood sugar spike​5. Know portion control

Over-eating can easily lead to sluggishness by slowing down digestion, further giving you an uncomfortable, bloated feeling. Rather, choose to eat small meals in between to avoid feeling sleepy and lethargic and further regulate blood sugar levels.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Over-eating can easily lead to sluggishness by slowing down digestion​6. Avoid sugar and fat

Try not to consume more and more sugar and fats present in processed foods in order to avoid energy crash. Sugars may give an initial energy boost but will wear off quickly making you feel extremely tired and fatigued. So even if you have a sweet tooth, make sure you have a fruit or two after the afternoon meal.

Try not to consume more and more sugar and fats present in processed foods​7. Keep a track

It is important to keep a track of the foods you eat during lunchtime. If a certain food is causing sleepiness and lethargy, it is better to identify and reduce their consumption immediately and choose other foods that may help keep your energy levels high.

These simple and effective tips will definitely help you avoid those short naps in office.

Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the body absorbs the sugar in carbohydrate. If you choose foods which are high on the G.I. index scale, you run the risk of both fatigue and adrenal exhaustion.

How to avoid foods that make you drowsy

Why some foods make you tired

Food has a profound effect on mood and energy. Poor food choices can make us fatigued, drowsy and irritable.

Here’s an example. Jo eats white bread toast and strawberry jam for breakfast before going to work. By 11 am she is feeling tired, so she eats a donut and coffee. By 1 o’clock Jo is hungry again so she eats some chips and a sandwich. And this can go on all day. Does it sound familiar? If so, you need to understand what high glycemic foods are doing to your metabolism, both in the long and in the short term.

Jo’s choices (all of which were high on the glycemic index) made her tired and hungry and at risk of both putting on weight and exhausting her adrenal glands.

Glycemic index

One of the most important concepts to grasp is the way that different carbohydrates are processed by the body. The speed at which the sugar in the carbohydrate enters the blood stream is measured by the glycemic index.

If you look at the simplified table below, you will see that two very popular breakfast foods have very different G.I. values – Corn Flakes (low in fiber) is 112 and All Bran (high in fiber) is only 55. Therefore All Bran has a lower G.I. value, meaning it takes much longer to be processed by the body.

Examples of glycemic index

Bread whole wheat

Blood sugar fluctuations and response to carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates enter the blood stream fast, but because they are mostly sugar, with little or no fiber, the effect they have is very short-lived. Blood sugar levels rise fast and fall fast in response to the sugar. Insulin is released to deal with the large influx of sugar, which has to be dealt with. The adrenal glands respond by producing adrenaline and cortisol. However, the adrenals are not designed to work all the time – they are the emergency ‘energy boosters’ of the body. In time, they become depleted and your fatigue may become chronic.

When you experience low blood sugar, this is termed hypoglycemia. It causes a number of symptoms, including:

  • Fuzziness of thought
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating
  • Hunger

The roller-coaster of sugar ingestion, high blood sugar levels and swift falling of those levels, followed by ingestion of more sugar to replace the lost energy, is a story without an end. It’s up to you to break the cycle by choosing food from the low end of the glycemic index scale. The sugar in the carbohydrates of such food will be released slowly and evenly and you will begin to feel much better.

Healthy choice

What could have been a healthier choice for Jo (instead of the white bread, donut and chips?) Here’s a suggestion:

High quality Muesli made of complex carbohydrates (nuts, seeds etc) with grated apple, midmorning salad with whole wheat bread, fish with sweet potato and grilled vegetables for lunch. This would have kept Jo’s blood sugar on an even keel, with no highs and lows and provided vital vitamins, minerals and amino acids as well.