Feeling sleepy after eating is absolutely normal. Usually it happens when you consume a meal that is rich in amino acids like tryptophans. But when a person is dealing with food intolerance that can also cause them to feel tired and fatigued. Follow this article to learn more about why I get sleepy after I eat and why it is not a good idea to sleep immediately after eating.      

It is okay if you are feeling sleepy after eating. It might be because of the amino acids in your meal. Tryptophans can also cause a person to fall asleep after eating. Tryptophans occur when you consume a meal that is rich in carbohydrates and protein. Eating a rich meal will make you feel satisfied and you will be able to rest knowing that you had a full meal. It is natural that a person will not be able to sleep if they are hungry. Once they have eaten something only then they will be able to sleep properly.

Although it is supreme that you do not sleep immediately after eating something as it will have an effect on your digestive system. The food will not be able to digest properly and the sugar in your system is not good for your health. Perhaps you will wake up in the middle of the night because of indigestion. Walk for at least ten to twenty minutes, no matter how sleepy you are feeling, this will bring your meal down and then you will be able to sleep properly.

Follow this article to explore more about why I get sleepy after I eat and why it is not a good idea to sleep immediately after eating.

Why do I get sleepy after I eat?

It is okay to feel tired and sleepy after eating your food, we all have been there. But have you ever wondered why this happens? Here are some of the reasons why you get sleepy after you eat.

  • Tryptophan
  • Sleeping habits
  • No physical activity
  • Health conditions


Tryptophan is a type of amino acid that is not naturally present in your body. It comes when a person intakes a meal that is rich in protein and carbohydrates. Spinach, cheese, fish, tofu, and soy are all a source of tryptophan. Tryptophan activates serotonin that is responsible for the sleep activation in your body. According to nutrients, you have to know how many tryptophans you are consuming in your meal.

Sleeping habits:

There is also a possibility that your body has developed a sleeping habit after eating right away, then you will feel sleepy after every meal. When your body is habitual of something then, your brain will automatically tell your body to do that thing.

No physical activity:

If you do not move after eating your meal and there is no physical activity involved, you will feel sleepy after eating. When you immediately lay down after eating then, your body will not be able to digest the food properly and it will immediately your body will be fatigued and you will feel sleepy after having your meal.

Health conditions:

When a person is suffering from health conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, food allergy, celiac disease, and underactive thyroid. These health conditions will make you feel drowsy after your meal. If this continues to go on for a while then, you have to consult a healthcare professional and this way you will be able to figure out a solution to your problem.

What are the foods that can make you feel sleepy?

We know that it is okay to feel tired and sleepy after you eat but not every food is responsible for that. Following are some of the food items that can make you feel sleepy after you consume them.

  • Chamomile tea
  • Basil
  • Tart cherries
  • Goji berries
  • Avocados
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds

Chamomile tea:

Chamomile tea is famous for having a calming effect on your body. It lowers your blood pressure and gives your body a chance to relax. People who drink chamomile tea after their meals, will feel relaxed and sleepy. Drinking chamomile tea can reduce the productivity of your  brain thus, making it slower and relaxed.


Basil, more specifically, holy basil which is a dried herb that has the properties to reduce your blood pressure, your stress, and consists of antimicrobial properties. When you consume holy basil with your meals then, you are likely to fall asleep as your body becomes more relaxed and all of your stress has been released from your body.

Tart cherries:

Tart cherries are a great source for your brain to release melatonin. Melatonin are brain chemicals that are responsible for a person’s sleep. When you consume tart cherries then the melatonin will take over your body and the inflammation from your body will be decreased, making it easier for your body to fall asleep.

Goji berries:

Goji berries are also a great source for melatonin and they are also a huge source of antioxidants. The antioxidants will decrease the inflammation from your body. All of this will make your body feel relaxed and the melatonin will help the sleep take over your body.


Aside from melatonin, magnesium is also a great source for your body to fall asleep and avocados are rich in magnesium. Avocados are also rich in unsaturated fat that increases the production of serotonin in your body. Serotonin increases the chances of your brain and body to get quality sleep.


Walnuts are extremely beneficial for us. They are rich in melatonin, antioxidants, fiber, tryptophans, and fats. The melatonin and tryptophans will help a person feel sleepy after they consume walnuts. Walnuts decrease the blood pressure and can make the body feel relaxed. This will help your body to doze off for some time.

Pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and tryptophans. These two elements can make a person fall asleep after you consume them. The pumpkin seeds are mostly consumed as a snack not as a full meal. They will make a person feel sleepy after they consume them.

What are the foods that can make you stay awake?

There are food items that can make you stay awake for a long period of time. According to healthcare professionals, following are the food items that a person must avoid if they want to have a good sleep.

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy food
  • Sugary food
  • Fast food
  • Processed food


A person must not consume caffeine if they want to enjoy sleeping. Caffeine directly affects a person’s central nervous system. It can stall the sleep, make a person stay awake, and give a bad sleep quality. Caffeine is a drug that can reduce the amount of time a person falls asleep and give a person a bad quality sleep.


Contrary to what people think, alcohol does not make a person fall asleep. Yes, it can make a person dizzy for some time but it is only for a limited amount of time. When a person drinks alcohol then, their sleep quality will be bad and a person will keep on waking up in between with a terrible headache. According to research, alcohol disrupts a person’s second stage of sleep, that is REM sleep.

Spicy food:

According to medical research, eating spicy food can cause a person to have heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion. This can make it uncomfortable for a person to lie down and sleep properly. Perhaps you will wake up in the middle of your sleep because of heartburn and indigestion. It is never a good idea to eat spicy food when you have to sleep for some time.

Sugary food:

Having too much sugar in your blood is never a good idea. When there is excess sugar in your blood then, your blood will be high in insulin rate which can cause serotonin and tryptophans to get affected. The sleep generating chemicals will be affected when your system has too much sugar. Having too much sugar can make a person an insomniac.

Fast food:

Fast foods have unhealthy fat in them. Having fast food before you go to sleep can result in indigestion and heartburn. Perhaps you will wake up in the middle of your sleep because of a stomach ache. All of this will result in a person having a bad quality sleep and not being comfortable in any position. A full stomach will make you feel uncomfortable.

Processed food:

Processed foods include fast foods and ready to cook meals. Although these food items might look convenient and easy, it is never a good idea to consume them when you are about to sleep. Processed foods are high in sugar and fats that make a person uncomfortable because of heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux.

How can you stay awake after eating?

We all know that it is natural to feel sleepy after you eat but there are a few things that you can try to not feel sleepy after you eat.

  • Go for a walk:
  • Chew a gum
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do not eat junk food
  • Control your portions
  • Avoid sugar
  • Eat on your schedule
  • Go in the daylight

Go for a walk:

It is essential that you go for a walk for at least twenty minutes after you are done eating your food. This will help bring down the food and it will help in the digestion of your food. It is supreme that you go for a walk after you eat because sitting or lying down after eating will only make you more lazy and tired. This will make you fall asleep, if you want to stay awake after having your lunch then, do some physical activity like walking.

Chew a gum:

According to research, chewing gum after you have finished eating your food will make you alert and it will instantly change your mood. When a person is chewing gum then, they will be in an active state and their mind will become alert. This happens because your muscles are constantly in action and you are not being lazy.

Stay hydrated:

When a person drinks water according to their choice of temperature then, their mood will immediately change. It is supreme that a person gets their required amount of water for the day. Water can help the food to be digested easily and it can improve the health of a person.

Do not eat junk food:

It is supreme that you avoid junk and fast food. Eating too much junk food can make a person have a heartburn, indigestion, and acid refluxes. These things will make a person uncomfortable. Start consuming a healthy diet and avoid eating junk food and fast food as much as you can.

Control your portions:

You have to realize that there are foods that are rich in tryptophans, amino acids, melatonin, and serotonin. These chemicals will make you fall asleep faster. To avoid that you have to know your food and control the amount of food items that you consume consisting of these chemicals. Have a controlled diet that has low sugar, this way you will not be able to feel tired and sleepy.

Avoid sugar:

Having too much sugar is never a good idea for you. It will increase the amount of insulin in your blood that will make you feel sleepy and tired. It is right that consuming sugar can give you instant energy but that will only last for a short period of time. After some time it will make you feel lazy and sleepy.

Eat on your schedule:

Keeping a schedule for your meals is a very good idea. This way you will be able to know how much you ate and when you had your last meal. Your body will get used to this schedule and this way your food will be digested in a proper time. This will not make you feel uncomfortable, making it easy for you to carry on with the rest of your day.

Go in the daylight:

Another essential thing that you must remember is to never stay in the dark after you finish eating your lunch. This will make you feel tired and lazy. When you are done eating then, go for a little walk outside in the daylight. This will make your brain more active and productive and you will not feel sleepy and fatigued after having your meal.

Why is it not a good idea to sleep immediately after eating?

Although you may get this urge to leave everything and sleep for sometime after you are done eating, it is never a good idea. Following are some of the reasons why it is not a good idea to sleep immediately after eating.

  • It is uncomfortable
  • Heartburn
  • Raise in body temperature
  • Shift in circadian rhythm

It is uncomfortable:

When you sleep immediately after eating then, you will not be comfortable at all. The food will not be able to go down in your system and you will feel like it will come out any minute. This is because you did not give it a chance to go down .


When you lay down immediately after having your food then, it will result in heartburn. This is because of the acid refluxes and indigestion. You will not be able to carry on with your day like you normally do because of this. The acid refluxes will move towards your heart causing your heart to burn because of the indigestion.

Raise in body temperature:

There will be a raise in your body temperature when you sleep immediately after having your lunch. It is supreme that your inner body temperature is cool, this way you will be able to fall asleep peacefully. When you sleep immediately after eating then, your body temperature will start to rise causing you to be uncomfortable.

Shift in circadian rhythm:

Circadian rhythm takes care of our bodies when we fall asleep. It also regulates our sleeping patterns and keeps our body on schedule. But when you sleep immediately after eating then, your circadian rhythm will start to shift and it can make it tough for you to fall asleep at night.


Feeling sleepy and tired after eating something is normal, we all have felt like this every time we had something, especially after having our lunch. This mainly happens because of the amino acids such as tryptophans, and magnesium that we consume as a part of our food. Mainly these elements are found in basil, goji berries, avocados, tart cherries, walnuts, and chamomile tea. These are some of the food items that can make a person feel tired and sleepy after you consume them.

Aside from the fact that it is normal to feel sleepy after eating, you have to understand that it is never a wise thing to do. It can cause ingestion, heartburn, and bloating in a person’s body. It is always best to take a walk for a few minutes before you decide to sit down. This way your food will go down a little bit and it will make you feel comfortable.


Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lone Mind. Apart from Lone Mind, he is a serial entrepreneur, and has founded multiple successful companies in different industries.

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