How well do you sleep on Thanksgiving? When the holiday season kicks in, people cannot wait to have a bite or two of turkey meat and spicy it up with their favorite gravy.
Even dogs look forward to Thanksgiving because they know that people won’t be able to eat everything in a day. For them, it means delicious table scraps.
Plus, after a good and long lunch, people usually feel sleepy or go to bed, which only means more leftovers for cats and dogs – as long as they can save human foods, that won’t harm them or put into a life-threatening situation.
Did you know that Americans eat around 700 million pounds of turkey each Thanksgiving?
If you are a turkey lover and regular foodie around the Thanksgiving table, you know that you might feel a little drowsy from all meat, yams, gravy, and other goodies.
In fact, this feeling is so often and well-accepted, that sleep is expected part of the celebration.
In fact, Thanksgiving is probably the only major holiday where sleep is an expected part of the celebration.
After the feast, it’s common for family members and friends to occupy couches and drift off to sleep.
Even those who plan to watch a football game easily switch a good match for an hour longer sleep, or a 15-minutes long nap.
This famous post-banquet snooze has a why behind it – it has been linked to the tryptophan in the turkey.
What Is Tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body uses to produce serotonin.
As you may know already, serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for acting as an essential precursor for the sleep hormone melatonin.
Did you know that turkey doesn’t contain more tryptophan than red meat, pork, or fish?
To get one gram of tryptophan you would have to eat around five pounds of turkey, and that’s a lot. According to data, people usually eat less than a pound of turkey at Thanksgiving.
Turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving food, and people are fast to blame the turkey for the need to sleep after lunch.
However, it’s that carbs, overeating, and alcohol lead to nap time, not the turkey.
Now that we know that turkey isn’t to blame for heavy after-lunch sleep, there are few tips for avoiding big sleep risks on Thanksgiving.
Other Sources Of Tryptophan
As mentioned earlier, turkey isn’t the only big source of tryptophan that you can come across.
In fact, tryptophan can be found in other sources, such as:
Have you ever experienced that feeling of sleepiness after eating a big grilled cheese sandwich?
If a food puts you right out you are probably dealing with foods that are packed with tryptophan.
How To Avoid Holiday Nausea
- Arm yourself with knowledge on eating style, food, and drink
- Be mindful of what you put in your body and in how large portions
- Eat slowly
- Make smarter choices
- Schedule the lunch earlier around 3 or 4 p.m. – this simple move can allow your stomach to digest a larger deal of food before bedtime
- Avoid spicy food if you want to sleep sounder
- Avoid tomato-based foods
- Stay awake as long as possible
- Stay on your feet by washing dishes or walking around the block
By applying these simple tips you will have more time to digest your food, and you will have fewer issues digesting it.
What About Caffeine?
You may think that you cannot survive without a bunch of caffeine, but in fact, you can.
Coffee can lead to caffeine addiction. If you notice that you drink coffee after coffee you might suffer from caffeine addiction.
If you have any caffeine-related issues, make sure that you talk to your doctor about them.
Did you know that you should never drink coffee on an empty stomach, and when is the best time to have that first cup of coffee?
If you are not sure how coffee can affect your health, make sure that you talk with your doctor.
Did you know that caffeine can be a trigger for indigestion and that it can keep you from getting the sleep you need?
As a general rule, people should stop drinking caffeine at 2 p.m. This means that there is no space for after-dinner coffee and other foods or beverages that might contain caffeine, including ice cream, soda pop, and chocolate.
What About Alcohol?
If you cannot enjoy Thanksgiving lunch or dinner without a cup of favorite wine or beer, there are certain things that you should know about.
If you are sensitive to indigestion or heartburn, you should avoid alcohol. In certain situations, alcohol may act as a trigger and disrupt your sleep.
Your sleep can be in trouble even if it doesn’t upset your stomach. Whenever you are drinking alcohol, you should drink water, no matter what your drink might be.
Alcohol dehydrates you and makes it harder to reach specific stages of sleep.
Also, alcohol will force you to have more frequent bathroom visits. In general, you should avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime.
Food and drinks are important and can affect how well or not you actually sleep.
However, not only food and drink are responsible for your sleep. There are other things that you should take into consideration, such as stress.
Stress can seriously disturb your sleep and keep you awake longer especially during holidays.
It’s family time and family when comes around some of the most difficult topics do come out, such as politics. People can easily get their blood running.
November is also election season, and Thanksgiving just pushes people into that corner.
Stress over politics and any other aspect can push people into stressful moments and painful conversations that may lead to additional stress and poor sleep.
The Best And Worst Thanksgiving Foods For Sleep
If you want to avoid that feeling of tiredness and sleeping during Thanksgiving, and beyond, you should know more about food.
In fact, you should know what food can give you energy, and which one can put you to sleep.
Good Thanksgiving Foods To Enjoy
If you want to eat well, have an easy step, and avoid sleep after lunch, you should focus on the following foods:
- Sour Cherries
It’s not easy to avoid unhealthy food when it’s in front of you, especially on Thanksgiving. However, you need to try.
You don’t have to limit yourself to forbidden food completely, but instead, you should try to limit it a bit.
Here are bad foods that could disturb both your stomach and sleep:
- Any type of carbs
- Sweet potato
- Mac and cheese
- Too much caffeine
- Too much alcohol
- Energy drinks
- Sweetened beverages
Eat And Sleep Better
If you feel more drowsy during the Thanksgiving season, it’s normal and nothing to stress much about.
However, if you feel the constant need to sleep during the day, no matter what you drink or eat, you should visit your doctor.
You might be suffering from underlying medical issues, that you aren’t aware of.
The Bottom Line
Sure, Thanksgiving lasts for only one day, so how big the damage to your sleep may be? Surprisingly big.
A single day can impact your sleep for days and nights after. Luckily, you can take certain steps to prevent the effects.
Be mindful about your eating habits, avoid naps, and stay hydrated. You might be surprised to see just how much cleaning dishes can help with staying awake.