Many people tend to feel tired and sleepy after a particularly large meal. This can interfere with your daily activities and might even prompt you to take a nap to cope with the lethargy. Keep reading to know why you feel tired after eating, and how you can counter this.

Why do you feel tired after eating?


Reactive hypoglycemia:

Carbohydrates are the most common culprits. Eating carbohydrate-rich foods will lead to reactive hyperglycemia. Excess carbohydrates in your system can increase the insulin production temporarily which will lead to a rise in the glucose levels in your blood. Once your body digests the glucose in the blood, you will experience a sudden crash in the energy levels. This will make you feel extremely tired, and may also result in lightheadedness, headaches, and irritability.

Alkaline Tide:

Within the first two hours of digestion your body produces an alkaline that is injected into the blood plasma of the stomach. This makes the blood in the stomach more alkaline compared to the blood that is being pumped into the stomach. This causes an alkaline tide.


Tryptophan triggers the production of serotonin, a hormone that controls your sleep, bowel movement and sleep. Consuming tryptophan-rich foods can thus make you feel drowsy and lethargic.

Lack of oxygenated blood:

One possible theory is that the body tends to allocate more blood flow to the regions that require it the most. After a heavy meal, your stomach goes into an overdrive when digesting the food. Thus, your body redirects the flow of a significant percentage of the oxygenated blood to the stomach, which reduces optimal blood flow to the brain. The brain thus goes into an energy conservation mode, which makes you sleepy and tired.


Diabetes and hypothyroidism can also make you feel tired after eating. Diabetes can reduce the absorption of the glucose in your body, while hypothyroidism reduces the thyroid hormone production capabilities of the thyroid glands.

Large meal portions:

One of the common misconceptions is that turkey makes you feel drowsy, which is why after a hearty thanksgiving meal everyone slips into a drowsy state. This is not true. What really makes you sleepy after a large thanksgiving meal is the large meal portions. Eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day will keep your digestion at optimal levels. Eating few large meal portions in a day can hamper the digestion capabilities, and can make you feel tired and lazy, especially after a meal.

Beating post-lunch fatigue

One of the easiest ways to reduce sleepiness after a meal is to watch what you eat. Consuming high sugar and carbs laden foods can make you feel drowsy. So, do away with those fries, soda, and donuts, instead opt for a salad or chicken.

Staying active post lunch can help boost metabolism and will burn the glucose in the blood more efficiently. This does not mean you have to hit the gym right after a meal. A brisk walk for a couple of minutes or doing the dishes will suffice.

Caffeine helps too! Down a cup of coffee or tea will stimulate your brain and will keep you feeling active and alert.

If you have the time, take a power nap after a heavy meal. This will ensure that you are well rested while your stomach digests your food. When you wake up, you will feel refreshed and alert!



  1. Garikiparithi, M. (2017, January 30). Fatigue after eating? Reasons why you feel tired after you eat. Retrieved from Bel Marra Health: http://www.belmarrahealth.com/fatigue-eating-reasons-feel-tired-eat/
  2. Steen, J. (2016, January 9). Sleepy After Lunch? We Found Out Exactly Why It Happens. Retrieved from HuffPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/08/31/sleepy-after-lunch-we-found-out-exactly-why-it-happens/
  3. Sugar, J. (2015, September 23). Drowsy After Lunch? Here’s Why. Retrieved from Popsugar: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Why-Do-I-Feel-Tired-After-Eating-37850862

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