Does turkey make you sleepy?

For as long as I can remember, I have been told on Thanksgiving to blame my post-dinner sleepiness on the turkey. But after watching a Mythbuster's episode testing the theory that turkey makes you sleepy and busting it, I learned why it wasn't true.
The reasoning is that turkey has a lot of tryptophan, an amino acid that is used by the body to make niacin which is important to the creation of serotonin. Seratonin is a chemical in the brain that makes you feel relaxed. Though turkey is high in tryptophan, it has no more than other types of poultry. In fact, according to WebMD, it has slightly less than chicken.
So if it's not the turkey that's making us sleepy, what is? According to both WebMD and the Mythbuster team, the grogginess is caused by overeating. Digestion takes a lot of energy and that combined with the relaxing vacation atmosphere and possibly alcohol makes for a lots of post-dinner sleepiness.


Hi Haley! I was told the exact same thing for the first time by my 4th grade teacher and have accepted the statement as a fact ever since. I find your blog post very insightful in that it opened my eyes and reminded me that you can't believe everything you hear, even if it is from a teacher (sorry Andrew). I don't know why I have never questioned the theory before especially when you brought up the fact that turkey has no more tryptophan than any other type of poultry, which wouldn't make much sense if it did. I also enjoyed your point where you blamed the post-dinner fatigue to the overindulgence, which makes perfect sense to me because I am a light eater and never feel much more tired after thanksgiving than any other meal. Im glad that you chose to blog about this topic because if you didn't I may have never learned this and would have remained ignorant on the subject... Thank You!

Haley, what better timing for this article! I was actually thinking the same thing considering my entire Instagram newsfeed consisted of pictures with people passed out after devouring their meal. I can see where the third variable of "tryptophan" could cause the correlation between turkey and sleepiness, but clearly it has been proven otherwise. Instead your study insisted that it is the amount a person eats and how it can make them feel tired or "sleepy" afterwords. I decided to do a little research myself! On, they too recognized the common belief of turkey being the reason behind consumer's lethargy. But they also agreed with your conclusion that it is not just the turkey that causes one to feel lethargic. concluded, "Overall volume of food, carbs, fats, and alcohol all appear to contribute to that post-Thanksgiving dinner nap." So considering both studies resulted with the same conclusion, the theory of turkey being the reason behind sleepiness is becoming more and more unreasonable. took a jab at the study as well...visit this website to see how!

Haley, you are not lying one bit, love the post and the title. After I ate that turkey I was so tired it felt like a six hour workout. I never knew overeating could make you sleepy until now. I thought that was backwards because I thought one source of getting energy was through eating, so is there such a thing as "over-energy" and does having too much energy have a reverse affect on our body?

Haley, this is way too accurate. My whole family was hysterical because all the men had fallen asleep. However, recently I fell upon this article & found out that this is a myth. You can read more here:

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

My name is __ and I am an Addict
No matter how old I get I cannot stop the habit of biting my fingernails. I have tried everything…
Why America is so Fat
The whole world knows at this point that <a href="">obesity in the United States</a> is a huge problem. Fast food…
Sleep is for the Weak
Over Thanksgiving break, I have been sleeping for almost 12 hours a night. I have actually done more sleeping than…

Old Contributions