Do you know why we are tired after lunch?


If you often feel tired after eating, you are probably wondering if there is something you should avoid or eat specifically in order to increase your energy.

The feeling Drowsiness after a meal is a common problem that many people experience after lunch (hence the name “afternoon fatigue”). This is also the time of day when cravings for sugar and caffeine tend to kick in, which is tempting as it can offset afternoon fatigue. Rather than masking your fatigue with sweets and coffee, a better approach is to structure your meals to support your energy. We’ll see below how to do this, and which foods to limit that can make you lose your energy.

Why am I tired after eating?

What do you call being tired after eating? Another way to describe being in a “food coma” is postprandial fatigue, also known as postprandial drowsiness. You’re more likely to feel this way after eating a large meal, especially if it’s high in fat, refined carbohydrates and/or sugar (once the effect of the sugar wears off).

If you find your motivation and focus dwindling soon after a meal is over, you’re probably wondering, “Why am I crashing after eating?” »

One of the main causes of feeling tired after a meal is a drop in blood sugar (glucose).

After eating sweets or refined carbs, insulin levels rise, but a few hours later levels drop and blood sugar levels plummet. This phenomenon can cause feelings of lethargy, fatigue, food cravings and brain fog, although the severity of these symptoms varies from person to person. Sugar and processed “white” carbs also cause the release of more serotonin, which is a “happiness chemical” but can also make you feel relaxed and sleepy.

The nervous system comes into play

Other reasons why you feel sleepy after eating include the functioning of your parasympathetic nervous system and your circadian rhythm.

Your parasympathetic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that is in charge of “resting and digesting” processes. It reacts to ingesting a meal by making you feel more relaxed. Animals, including humans, have built-in “vigilance cues” that keep them awake and alert when hungry. These signals help them locate and acquire food. It follows that when an animal (or a human) has eaten a lot, these signals of alertness dissipate and are replaced by feelings of fatigue.

The circadian cycle

Eating also causes a rush of blood to the digestive system to aid digestion. Breaking down food actually takes a lot of work out of your body, and this process consumes a lot of energy and can cause your mood and level of arousal to plummet. Your circadian rhythm, or “internal clock,” plays a role in your energy levels throughout the day, including after eating. It is considered natural and “normal” to feel a little tired in the afternoon, usually between 14 and 16 hours, which is a few hours after most people’s lunch hour. You may be sleepy due to your normal circadian cycle rather than your last meal.

Should you be worried?

While it is relatively normal to feel a lack of energy after a heavy meal, especially in the late afternoon or before bed, if you feel chronically tired, this may be a sign that another problem is involved. Besides feeling tired after a meal, watch for signs of reactive hypoglycemia (when too much insulin is produced and released, usually after a sugary or carbohydrate-rich meal). These symptoms usually occur three to four hours after a meal.

If you experience muscle weakness, feeling jittery, pale skin, shaking, sweating and dizziness seek medical attention for further consideration.

Another set of symptoms to be aware of are those caused by food allergies/sensitivities. If you often feel like you have brain fog throughout the day, mood swings, signs of inflammation like skin rashes, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain, see a specialist for find out if you are suffering from an allergic reaction.

How to stop feeling tired after eating

What are the foods that cause fatigue?

You should avoid consuming too many carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) and sugar at one time, without consuming enough protein, fiber and fats to balance it all out. Large, heavy, high-fat meals (fried foods, fast foods, and processed meats) can also rob you of energy because your body takes time to digest them.

In some people, Food sensitivity can also contribute to postprandial sleepiness. Sensitive foods or potential allergens may include wheat/gluten, dairy, tree nuts or shellfish. Of course, alcohol can also lower your mood and ability to concentrate, so avoid alcoholic beverages if you know you need to be up and running.

Why are we tired after a big meal?

Meal times are a matter of preference as everyone is a little different. Some prefer to eat two or three meals a day, for example if they practice intermittent fasting, while others prefer to eat every three or four hours. Experiment to see which schedule works best for you. You may be a person who benefits from having three small meals and one or two snacks a day, because these small meals put less pressure on your digestive system.

What is the best meal mix to prevent fatigue?

Overall, try to strike a balance by including high fiber foods, healthy fats, protein and vegetables. Be careful not to binge on refined carbs like pasta dishes, cereals, protein-free cereal bowls, noodle dishes, sweets, etc. When in doubt, add a few veggies to a protein dish, like sautéed chicken or fish, and stir in some fat, like olive oil or sliced ​​avocado, to top it all off. Keep in mind, however, that excess protein causes some people to feel sluggish, likely due to an increased release of tryptophan, an amino acid found in protein foods like turkey, milk, meat, and eggs. , which triggers the production of serotonin.

What are the best foods to increase your energy?

Above all, try to eat enough protein, such as for example:


grass fed meat



plant-based proteins like beans and nuts

Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits, can also give you a quick boost of energy, but don’t overdo it.

Foods that provide you with B vitamins, such as B12 and B6, from vitamin D and iron can also help you increase your energy level. B vitamins and iron are especially important for supporting digestion and the metabolic processes that turn nutrients from your diet into usable energy. Finally, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water (and not too much caffeine, alcohol, or sugary drinks), as hydration is essential to feeling your best.

Why are you tired after eating?

One of the most common causes of fatigue after a meal is an imbalance in blood sugar, usually due to eating refined carbs and sugar without enough protein, fiber and fat. Heavy, fatty meals, large meals, and the time of day can also contribute to your fatigue. If you are tired after eating lunch in the afternoon, it may simply be due to your circadian rhythm cycle. However, you shouldn’t feel so exhausted that you can’t concentrate. See a doctor if you also have signs of inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, or pain. To avoid feeling drowsy after eating, try eating balanced meals more regularly, such as every three to four hours. Drink plenty of water and avoid consuming too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed grains.

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