ZocdocAnswersIs it normal to be drowsy for an hour after lunch?

Question

Is it normal to be drowsy for an hour after lunch?

Is it normal to be drowsy for an hour after lunch? I think I've been this way since I was a kid, and that everybody's like this. But my wife, who's a fitness freak, says that it's a sign that I'm eating too much or too fast. Is she wrong or what.

Answer

After eating, the body diverts blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract (the organs that work on digestion). Because more blood flow is traveling to the GI tract, this detracts from blood traveling to the brain. This can lead to drowsiness and lethargy, and is considered to be a normal finding after eating. Eating smaller portions and eating more frequently can decrease the feeling of lethargy after a meal. Also, evaluate the food that you are eating because certain foods have a proclivity towards making us feel drowsy. Some people believe that we feel tired after thanksgiving dinner because turkey has a high concentration of tryptophan, which is considered by some to be a natural sleep aide. Also consider light exercise after a meal, this may get your blood flowing and decrease the drowsiness you feel. If the symptoms you are having have been going on for a long time, and have not worsened or changed recently, this is likely a normal finding. If symptoms continue to worsen, or to receive more information on this condition, it is recommended that you visit your primary care physician who can better evaluate your specific medical history and presenting symptoms and decide whether further workup is warranted.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.