Gobble Gobble. So the first draft of this was in all caps.
BECAUSE YOU’RE PROBABLY IN THE PROCESS OF PASSING OUT RIGHT NOW.
You did it. Go you. You crushed your holiday eating goals and made another successful year out of hitting every casserole in the line. You taste-tested mom AND aunt Jane’s competing stuffing recipes, and you even tried – just a tidbit – of every single pie on the dessert table. For freedom and all that, right?
That groggy feeling you have is, no doubt, mostly due to the metabolic heavy-lifting your body is currently undertaking. All aboard the lazy-train. But don’t forget the classical holiday energy-villain, Mr. Turkey – everybody’s favorite nap fairy.
Let’s start with the facts about Turkey and sleep:
Turkey itself doesn’t actually cause that groggy feeling, but it does sort of help things along… The real culprit for your Thanksgiving nap – at least according to Scientific America – is most likely the breads (especially desserts) and the way those impact your brain’s production of serotonin from the tryptophan found in Thanksgiving meats.
See, serotonin is a key chemical component in sleep and it happens to be a product of the amino acid, tryptophan, which is common in Turkey and many other meats. Tryptophan eaten on its own (as a slice of turkey) doesn’t really do much to you. It’s one of many essential amino acids you’re processing and it just sort of enters the system to be used later. But when you eat a bunch of dessert with that turkey? Now you’re creating a perfect storm for napping. Mmmm, storm naps.
As a result of that eating, your insulin spikes and this causes your body to start making more serotonin from that tryptophan you just mixed in. Hence, the food coma.
But the Thanksgiving food story isn’t just about heavy eating and heavy snoozing. This is also a time of year that many people consume foods they simply don’t touch for another 364 days of the year.
Take our own Dr. Murdoc’s article on why we test for food sensitivity. As the doctor explains, the modern diet is based heavily on foods our collective selves just haven’t evolved to quite deal with yet. We’ve introduced – in only a century – foods that millennia of ancestors had no access to and that means our bodies respond weirdly sometimes to these foods. We’re talking IBS, migraines, itchy skin, acne, joint pain, and more. This is food sensitivity – that napping is probably just your overeating.
And consider all of the common Thanksgiving foods that may cause food-sensitivity reactions: Celery, Green Beans, Egg Whites, Lima Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Cabbage, Wheat, Yeast, Ginger, and yes, Turkey… each of these can cause a common and predictable reaction in those individuals that are sensitive to them and the elimination of these foods may be necessary to solve lasting health troubles.
And of course, EverlyWell’s own home-based Food Sensitivity Test checks your personal sensitivity across all of these foods -- as well as 85 others. Not to be marketing-focused – this is, of course, a post about your holiday eating shame – but be on the lookout for our Black Friday test-kit discounts and more over the coming days. It is, after all, the Holidays!
Happy Thanksgiving and sleep easy y’all.