How a lot turkey do it’s a must to eat to get sleepy from tryptophan? – Higher Sleep Council


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Gobble, gobble, buddies! It’s turkey season, a.ok.a. the vacation season. Seize your stretchy pants and prepare for household, buddies, and meals – heaps and plenty of meals. Each third Thursday of November, People collect and gorge on Thanksgiving feasts, inviting diets to exit stage left as we eat like bears earlier than hibernation. 

Most Thanksgiving celebrations characteristic many conventional facet dishes, which might differ from desk to desk. Nevertheless, the star of the present is inevitably the turkey. Whether or not you facet with chicken or darkish meat, we’re all responsible of piling our plates with extra turkey than crucial realizing we are going to seemingly expertise full tummies and sleepiness post-feasting – which brings us to right this moment’s weblog matter: does overeating turkey trigger drowsiness? 

Since sleep is our favourite topic, we determined it’s time to deal with the long-standing rumor about turkey and post-meal sleepiness, which implies having a candid dialogue about tryptophan. 

What’s tryptophan?

Tryptophan is a necessary amino acid and a significant constructing block for protein within the physique. There are 20 identified amino acids, 9 of which (together with tryptophan) can’t be created throughout the physique and should be consumed within the food regimen, thus thought of “important.” 1 Our our bodies use tryptophan to assist make melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, whereas serotonin might help regulate urge for food, sleep, temper, and ache. The liver also can use tryptophan to provide niacin (vitamin B3), which is important for vitality metabolism and DNA manufacturing.

Truth or fiction?

We suspect tryptophan’s affiliation with melatonin and serotonin manufacturing is on the root of the turkey coma rumors. Nevertheless, consuming turkey — or every other meals excessive in tryptophan — can’t produce sleepiness until it enters the mind, which isn’t potential with out hitching a experience on a transport protein to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which is less complicated mentioned than performed.

Principally, turkey meat incorporates many amino acids, and tryptophan is the scarcest amongst them. Like NYC subway passengers throughout rush hour, these amino acids compete for seats on the identical specialised protein transporters to succeed in the mind. Due to this fact, given its paltry illustration among the many group, tryptophan hardly ever scores a seat forward of its competitors. So whereas consuming Thanksgiving turkey might ship extra tryptophan to your system than regular, not a lot of it’s truly reaching your mind to assist produce the hormones related to sleep, like melatonin.

So whereas tryptophan has been lengthy related to sleep induction, the quantity you might want to obtain excessive drowsiness is about 12 grams2. Getting this a lot from turkey alone would require consuming about 8.6 lbs of turkey – so, principally, virtually the complete hen in a single sitting.

Don’t blame the turkey.

Since Thanksgiving is about sharing, it’s unlikely you’re hogging all of the turkey. So, what’s inflicting the post-meal hunch? Analysis signifies3 that the trigger might merely be a perform of scarfing down monumental portions of meals – particularly carbohydrates. Right here’s why – if you eat carbohydrates, your physique releases insulin, which removes all amino acids besides tryptophan out of your blood. So, elevated carb consumption provides the tryptophan in your physique quick access to the transport proteins – and your mind.

So whereas the turkey coma rumors might persist, it’s not one single meals merchandise making you sleepy after the Thanksgiving feast – it’s the feasting itself. Our behavior of overeating carbohydrate and protein-rich meals throughout Thanksgiving meals, to not point out sweets and alcohol, is the true purpose behind post-meal sluggishness. 

Moderation is all the pieces.

In case you are resolving to have a soothing and restful Thanksgiving break this 12 months, don’t overdo the turkey in hopes of hibernation. Slightly, give attention to indulging in slightly of all the pieces – with an emphasis on “slightly.” Moderation is the important thing to preserving the meal pleasing fairly than tiring. 

Except for overeating, you may also incorporate these higher sleep suggestions into your Thanksgiving break to keep away from pointless naps and obtain higher high quality sleep at night time:

  • Preserve your plate colourful by loading up on the salad, leaving much less room for the turkey and heavier facet dishes.
  • Prioritize train by working in motion, particularly after huge meals. Taking walks is a simple technique to incorporate train and high quality household time.
  • Keep on with your routine by going to mattress and rising concurrently regular.
  • Restrict caffeine and alcohol consumption total, and keep away from each not less than three to 4 hours previous to bedtime.

Fascinated with extra sleep-friendly suggestions? Take a look at our weblog at for essentially the most up-to-date analysis and data geared toward serving to you get high quality, restful sleep through the holidays and each day in between. Cheers to higher sleep and a really Pleased Thanksgiving!



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