How to stop feeling tired after eating

Why do I feel tired after eating? Causes and prevention

Many people feel sleepy after eating. This can be a natural result of digestion patterns and sleep cycles. Factors that may play a role include the type and amount of food a person eats.

Some types of foods and the timing of meals can also make people feel especially tired after a meal. A decrease in energy levels after eating is called postprandial somnolence.

Researchers have different theories about the cause of tiredness after eating, but they generally agree that it is a natural response and not usually a cause for concern.

Feeling tired, or having difficulty concentrating, after a meal is relatively common. A person may feel particularly tired, depending on what, when, and how much they ate.

Below, we discuss some reasons why a person might feel tired after a meal, and how to prevent it.

The type of food you eat

Share on PinterestMeals containing both carbohydrates and protein can make a person feel tired.

Foods rich in protein and carbohydrates can make people feel sleepier than other foods.

Some researchers believe that a person feels tired after eating because their body is producing more serotonin.

Serotonin is a chemical that plays a role in regulating mood and sleep cycles.

An amino acid called tryptophan, which occurs in many protein-rich foods, helps the body produce serotonin. Carbohydrates help the body absorb tryptophan.

For these reasons, eating a meal rich in both protein and carbohydrates may make a person feel sleepy.

Tryptophan occurs in foods that are rich in protein. These include:

  • salmon
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • spinach
  • seeds
  • milk
  • soy products
  • cheese

Foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates include:

  • pasta
  • rice
  • white bread and crackers
  • cakes, cookies, donuts, and muffins
  • corn cobs
  • milk
  • sugar and candy

People often eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates before bed, such as cereal with milk.

How much food you eat

A person may be likelier to experience postprandial somnolence after a large meal.

People who eat larger lunches may experience more of an afternoon slump than those who eat less at midday. Eating causes blood sugar to rise, and a dip in energy may follow.

Other factors can contribute to tiredness after eating:

  • poor sleep at night, which can lead to tiredness throughout the day
  • drinking alcohol with a meal, especially during the daytime

Share on PinterestGetting enough high-quality sleep can help prevent tiredness after eating.

Feeling tired after a meal can be frustrating, especially after lunch, when a person may need to be alert.

A drop in energy during the day can be particularly dangerous for people who work in risky conditions, such as those who operate machinery or vehicles.

A 2017 study of the effects of eating on the performance of night shift workers found that those who ate at night performed worse and were more sleepy at 4 a. m. than those who had not eaten.

The following strategies can help prevent tiredness after a meal:

  • Eat little and often. Rather than eating big meals, eat smaller meals and snacks every few hours to keep up energy levels. A piece of fruit or a handful of nuts should be enough to cure an energy dip.
  • Get good-quality sleep. A person who gets enough sleep at night is less likely to experience a significant post-lunch energy dip.
  • Go for a walk. Getting light exercise during the day, especially after eating, can help people feel less tired.
  • Take a short nap during the day.
  • Try bright-light therapy. Authors of a 2015 study found that exposing people to bright light after lunch reduced tiredness.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol with meals. Alcohol can make people feel more tired.

If a person is continually tired after eating, and it is affecting their quality of life, they should speak to a doctor.

The following medical conditions could contribute to excessive tiredness after eating:

  • food intolerances or allergies
  • celiac disease
  • anemia
  • diabetes

Many people experience a dip in energy after eating. Large meals and meals rich in protein and carbohydrates are most likely to make people feel sleepy.

In most cases, a dip in energy after eating is a natural biological response.

However, if this is getting in the way of daily activities, a person may benefit from changing the contents and timing of their meals. If these types of changes do not help, see a doctor.

Are You Tired After Eating? ► Energy-Boosting Tips

by Tina Sturm-Ornezeder



6 minutes

You’ve been looking forward to a delicious lunch all morning. Lunchtime comes and you dig into your meal. It tastes so good. But then afterward you suddenly feel sleepy and drowsy…

Getting tired after eating is also called “postprandial fatigue,” “postprandial somnolence”, or “food coma” and is totally normal. Here we discuss what can cause post-eating fatigue, which foods can cause feelings of sluggishness, and how to avoid fatigue after a meal.

Tired After Eating: Most Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why am I extremely tired after eating?

As food enters your digestive system, blood flow to the stomach and intestines increases. As such, the supply of blood (and oxygen) in the brain decreases, making you feel sleepy after eating.

2. Which foods make me sleepy?

Foods that contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan(1) are very likely to make you feel sluggish after eating them.

Integrate these foods into your dinners for a restful sleep, but use them sparingly at lunchtime:

  • Milk
  • Meat: pork, chicken, beef
  • Fish: tuna, mackerel, salmon, halibut, trout
  • Cheese: Parmesan, Emmental, Edam, Brie, Camembert
  • Cereal products: oats, products with spelt flour/ millet/ (buck)wheat
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts

Are you desirous for more scrumptious lunches? Have a look at these top 5 quick and easy recipes.

3. Why does sugar make me feel sluggish?

What you eat influences the way you feel! When you eat foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, like white-flour pasta and white bread, your body releases more insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that lowers your blood sugar level quickly. Eating these foods will cause an initial blood sugar high and quick insulin response. So if your body releases a lot of it, it can make your blood sugar crash. This leads to uncontrollable sleepiness after eating, low energy, and inability to concentrate.

What can that leave you wanting? More sugar! If you want to be more active and productive throughout the day, you should try reducing your sugar intake. If you eat more nutrient-dense, balanced meals, you’re less likely to feel sleepy after eating. 

4. How do I avoid fatigue after eating?

1. Have breakfast in the morning 

Breakfast in the morning elevates blood sugar levels and staves off hunger pangs throughout the day (which can also make you tired). Plus, if you eat breakfast, you may not eat as much at lunch. Eating more food than the body can easily process at a time can cause post-dining fatigue. So eating more in the morning and smaller portions throughout the day can help you feel perkier after eating.

2. Hydration is key

Did you overdo it at lunch because you were simply too hungry? Be careful: many people mistake feeling thirsty for being hungry. 

Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day. You can calculate how much water you should drink here:

3. Exercise to prevent feeling sleepy

A short stroll outside can work wonders after lunch. The fresh air and exercise supply your brain with plenty of oxygen. If you can’t go outside, open the window and take some deep breaths. Or do 20 squats – they won’t take long and they will get your blood pumping.

Remember: exercise on an empty stomach or without enough nutrition can deplete energy in the muscles and mind. Be sure to get adequate nutrition, especially if you workout!

4. Limit you caffeine intake

If you think you have to drink five cups of coffee to finally wake up, remember this German saying: “Viel hilft nicht immer viel” (a lot doesn’t always help a lot). One or two caffeinated drinks are okay because they stimulate the release of adrenaline. But more has the opposite effect: you’ll likely feel so amped up that you struggle to focus, and as soon as the adrenaline wanes, you’ll be triggered to search for more adrenal input. 

Many people experience a “caffeine high” for up to five hours after ingestion. If you are looking for a boost of energy, don’t wait too long after lunch to have your cup of joe. Otherwise, you might have trouble sleeping at night.

5. Take a power nap

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of taking a short power nap. But, many companies nowadays have quiet rooms where their employees can rest for 10-20 minutes. This is the maximum length of time you should sleep in order to wake up refreshed. If you sleep longer, you might end up feeling more tired than you did before. Learn more about the healthy benefits of power naps!

6. Have tasty lunch

Just because you’re sleepy after eating doesn’t mean you should stop eating. Try eating smaller portions of well-balanced meals throughout the day to keep energy levels stable. 


Are you looking for a tasty lunch that won’t sit in your stomach all afternoon? You can prepare this fruity quinoa salad in the evening and eat it the next day for lunch at work.

Related articles:

  • Why Am I So Tired? Top Causes of Fatigue
  • Tired After Running: 5 Tips to Recover From Running Fatigue


Tina Sturm-Ornezeder Tina loves the written word, avocados & yoga and is very curious. She likes to discover new trends and report on them. View all posts by Tina Sturm-Ornezeder

Why you want to sleep after eating: the main reasons

You probably noticed that after eating you often feel sleepy. Forces leave you, and drowsiness prevents you from working actively and thinking consciously. What is the reason for this phenomenon? Why, after eating, we do not feel a surge of energy, but on the contrary, we become lethargic and weak? These questions have very simple answers. We also tell you what foods to avoid so that after dinner you are not drawn to bed.


  • Why do you want to sleep after eating?
  • Causes of sleepiness after eating
  • How to deal with sleepiness after eating?

Almost every person after eating, regardless of the time of day, may feel the desire to lie down and take a nap. But why do you want to sleep after eating and should you start worrying?

Why do you feel sleepy after eating?

The human body needs energy both to engage in active physical or mental work, and to function in a state of calm. We get this energy from food, but why do you feel sleepy after dinner and why is it so difficult to return to work?

Scientists explain this state by several theories. The most logical and generally accepted is that after eating, blood circulation changes: blood flow to the stomach, small and large intestine increases, and to the brain decreases. The brain begins to receive less oxygen and nutrients, so there is a desire to rest.

This condition is seen not only in humans, but also in animals. After several studies, it has been confirmed that most living creatures, including insects, snakes and rats, after eating, are drawn to sleep. This reaction is called food coma or postprandial drowsiness.

However, not all foods cause the same strong desire to take a nap after eating them. In addition, there are other factors why after eating there is weakness and you want to sleep.

Causes of sleepiness after eating

If every time a strong desire to sleep arose after a person ate, no one would be able to actively work and engage in various activities. It follows that certain foods cause drowsiness more than others.

Foods that make you want to relax

The hormonal system is connected with the digestive system. The hormones glucagon, aniline, and cholecystokinin (CCK) are released to increase satiety, sugar levels, and insulin production.

There are also hormones that cause drowsiness if their levels in the body rise. These include serotonin and melatonin. Food products can affect the production of these biologically active substances, especially serotonin.

Protein food contains the amino acid tryptophan . It is used by the body during the synthesis of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep). The reason for the desire to sleep after eating may be an increased intake of food, which includes tryptophan.

Main products containing the amino acid in question:

  • eggs;
  • cheese;
  • fish;
  • spinach;
  • soy;
  • turkey meat.

The amount of this substance in food can vary depending on the way it is processed and prepared.

Carbohydrates help the body absorb tryptophan, so foods rich in protein and carbohydrates may increase the likelihood of a desire to sleep after eating.

Some studies show that cherries affect melatonin levels, that is, they can increase it, and the minerals contained in bananas help relax muscles. However, these scientific experiments were few and repeated studies on a larger sample of people are required.

Weakness and drowsiness after meals can be affected by the amount of food consumed.

How the amount of food consumed affects sleepiness after dinner

Eating a large amount of food at a time can not only provoke the desire to sleep, but also adversely affect health.

When a person overeats, the level of glucose in his body increases, which inhibits the functioning of orexin (a neuropeptide). Orexin is responsible for wakefulness and controls energy balance.

Large and extra portions contribute to the appearance of heaviness in the stomach, which after eating makes it difficult to return to the active performance of daily work. Overeating leads to the appearance of excess weight, and also provokes deviations in health from the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

To prevent this from happening, you need to normalize your diet: do not eat a large amount of food at one time and refuse large portions.

Unfortunately, the feeling of drowsiness can still occur due to health problems.

Health problems that cause drowsiness

The presence of certain diseases in a person can adversely affect the digestive tract and provoke bouts of drowsiness after breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Diseases that may be the reason why you feel sleepy after eating:

  • diabetes mellitus;
  • anemia;
  • celiac disease;
  • sleep apnea;
  • food allergy;
  • underactive thyroid.

If you often feel like resting after eating, feel unwell, or have one of the following conditions, you should see a doctor.

Poor quality of sleep

Drowsiness after eating may be due to poor quality sleep. If a person does not get enough sleep and feels weak, a desire to rest, then eating even a small amount of food can lead to increased drowsiness. Blood flow to the stomach increases, and on the contrary, less oxygen and nutrients enter the brain, so you start to want to sleep even more.

Going to bed at the same time each day and resting for at least 8 hours a day can reduce the chance of drowsiness after meals.

But what other tips do you need to follow to stay awake after breakfast, lunch and dinner, or any snack?

How to deal with drowsiness after eating?

Medical experts give you plenty of advice on how to stay active and energized after meals.

Consider 5 main ones:

  1. Eat small portions . A small amount of food consumed at one time does not overload the digestive system and does not cause a feeling of heaviness. Many nutritionists and nutritionists advise eating in small portions 5-6 times a day.
  2. Health food . Of course, protein and carbohydrates mainly contribute to the feeling of drowsiness, but fatty, spicy and fried foods adversely affect health. Therefore, the diet should be balanced and exclude or contain harmful products in a minimum amount.
  3. Eat slowly . When eating fast, a person eats more food than when eating slowly. In addition, he chews them less thoroughly, which further complicates and slows down the process of digestion. The longer the food is digested, the longer the lethargy and drowsiness after eating will last.
  4. Physical exercise . The simplest exercise in the morning can be the key to cheerfulness and well-being for the whole day. During exercise, blood circulation is activated and cells receive more oxygen. If you lead a passive lifestyle, having a sedentary job, then after eating there may often be a desire to rest.
  5. Water balance . Lack of water or little use of it can lead to lethargy and poor health. Try to drink the daily norm of water every day (30 ml for every 1 kg of weight).
  6. Quality sleep . Drowsiness both after eating and independently of it can occur due to the fact that a person did not sleep well at night and did not get enough sleep. Therefore, watch your sleep schedule and give up habits that violate it.
  7. Vitamins . The daily diet should include fruits and vegetables, because they are the main source of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are needed for the normal course of many processes in the body, and their deficiency leads to hypovitaminosis, one of the symptoms of which is increased drowsiness.

Watch your diet and keep an active lifestyle, then the risk of sleepiness after eating will be minimal.

Some foods not only do not cause drowsiness, but are also very useful for humans. These are foods rich in vitamins. Read about 5 vitamins to take in the spring for strong immunity.

If you find it difficult to get up in the morning, but it is necessary, then here are 5 effective tips on how to become an "early bird". Read the new article on how to learn to get up early.

Learn more about health at


Correlation between nighttime meals, sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness in severely obese people in the UK / PubMed

Prudent diet is associated with low sleepiness among short-haul truck drivers / ScienceDirect

Why Do You Get Sleepy After Eating? These Are the Top Theories / TIME

Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating? / Healthline

Why do people feel tired after eating? / MedicalNewsToday

Why do we feel sleepy after eating a meal / TheJakartaPost

Sleepiness After Eating Lunch / VeryWellHealth


diagnosis and choice of treatment methods can only be carried out by your doctor! Self-medication may not be safe for your health. is not responsible for possible negative consequences resulting from the use of information posted on the site by users of

Why you feel sleepy after eating: the main reasons

Food should supply the body with energy. But sometimes the opposite happens, and after eating we become lethargic, we want to lie down and rest.

Feeling tired after eating is quite common, and there are many reasons why food can act as a sleeping pill rather than fuel.

Why do you feel sleepy after eating and how to deal with it? We analyze all the reasons that cause the desire to sleep.

Fluctuations in blood glucose levels cause drowsiness

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood glucose levels. It is insulin that ensures that glucose enters tissue cells, where it is used for energy or stored. When we eat, especially something sweet, the sugars coming from the food cause the glucose level to rise sharply.

In response to this, insulin is released, which stimulates the transfer of glucose into tissues, its concentration in the blood decreases. A large drop in glucose levels that occurs some time after a meal can cause a feeling of fatigue. This can be either a normal reaction or a symptom of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

To avoid post-meal energy spikes and prevent the development of insulin resistance, it is recommended to include a mixture of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein with each meal, and to choose foods that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

Digestive enzymes in high concentrations may cause drowsiness after meals

Some foods high in protein and fat, such as pizza, pasta carbonara or fatty roasted meats, may also cause drowsiness. This is due to the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which is especially actively produced in the cells of the duodenal mucosa in response to the breakdown products of proteins and fats.

CCK helps the body break down proteins and fats, and some studies show that drowsiness increases with increasing CCK levels.

It is hypothesized that when we eat foods high in saturated fatty acids (such as red meat or sweets), they stimulate inflammation, and the body may release cytokines (molecules that have a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effect), such as interleukin -1 (IL-1). Studies show that higher levels of IL-1 may be one of the causes of sleepiness after meals.

Caffeine may be associated with the desire to sleep

A modern person can no longer imagine his morning without a cup of coffee. But it is important to know that the effect of an invigorating drink is short-lived. The stimulant effect is usually limited by the half-life of caffeine (the time it takes the body to eliminate and metabolize the substance before it loses half of its pharmacological potential) and is three to five hours after you have drunk a cup of coffee.

Therefore, if the first glass falls at 7-8 am, then closer to dinner the invigorating effect will disappear due to a decrease in the concentration of caffeine in the blood.

Food allergies cause fatigue

Food intolerances and food allergies are often associated with unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach cramps or diarrhea. But sometimes food intolerances that we are not yet aware of can make us feel sleepy.

For example, lactose intolerance, which is found in dairy products, sometimes develops with age and can cause fatigue directly or indirectly through disturbances in digestion and absorption of nutrients and vitamins.

Alcohol intake as a cause of drowsiness

Alcohol combines two seemingly completely opposite effects - stimulating and sedative. Studies show that stronger stimulant effects and a state of euphoria are observed with a gradual increase in the concentration of alcohol in the blood, and sedative - after a significant dose of alcohol and the end of the party.

But even with moderate consumption, a glass of wine or beer can cause drowsiness after a meal. This is due to the fact that alcohol is a poison for the body, which takes a lot of energy to neutralize, which can make us feel tired.

At the same time, you should not take a glass of wine in the evening as a guarantee of sound sleep. A few hours after drinking alcohol, adrenaline levels rise in the body, which increases the heart rate and usually stimulates the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to nocturnal awakenings. Alcohol also relaxes the muscles in the throat, and this relaxation can exacerbate breathing problems during sleep and contribute to sleep apnea (recurrent pauses in breathing).

Circadian rhythm determines fluctuations in the level of activity of the nervous system

Each of us has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. They regulate the body's natural sleep and wake cycles.

Around 2-4 pm, usually after lunch, there is one of the natural peaks of sleepiness, during which the concentration of attention decreases.

Learn more