Does Thanksgiving turkey really make you sleepy?

Local News

CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – It’s an age-old question that can be a debate among many thanksgiving tables… “Does eating turkey make you sleepy?” Well, ahead of the holiday Thursday, we tracked down an answer for you to bring to the dinner table.

According to Kayela Reed, a clinical dietician at Penn Highlands DuBois, turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan. This is an essential amino acid. This means it is a building block protein that we can only get through dietary sources that our bodies do not make it. Tryptophan plays a role in the production and regulation of serotonin and melatonin, Reed said, which are hormones that aid in sleep.

“Turkey though contains the same or even less than other protein sources of tryptophan,” Reed said.

So what is it that causes you to get so tired after Thanksgiving dinner? Well, it’s because we tend to feast a little too much.

“The source of tiredness would come from the fact that we’re overindulging typically on Thanksgiving,” Reed said. “Creating more need for energy and blood flow to the gut, versus the rest of the body. So that’s when we can develop the sluggishness or tired feeling.”

So what does Reed recommend?

“I would recommend just trying a little bit of everything, seeing how you feel. You might be satisfied at that point, and still have the energy to enjoy the holiday,” she said.

But what about those of us who can’t help but eat a little too much on the holiday?

“If you overindulge, please don’t beat yourself up. Don’t restrict yourself the next day or think you have to work out super hard to burn that off. Just go about eating regularly as you would.”

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