Zzzzzzzz Turkey


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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I couldn't think of a more appropriate blog. After watching football and eating all day on Thanksgiving I'm sure everyones felt pretty sleepy. I'm sure you've also all heard that that sleepiness can be blamed on Tom Turkey. "Turkey makes you tired" everyone says. But for me, this has never really made sense. This is probably because I don't even eat the turkey on Thanksgiving and yet I'm still ALWAYS extremely exhausted. So what's the truth about turkey? I did some research to find out!

Turkey is heavy in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid, that can only be obtained from protein because the body cannot process it on its own. Much to popular belief, the same amounts of tryptophan can be found in other proteins and even fruits! A small amount of turkey would not have much affect at all Tryptophan also helps to make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which helps regulate your sleep patterns. Studies have shown that eating small amounts of turkey really have no affect on you unless you are eating an excessive amount, or eating the fatty skin. 

Although the turkey won't do it to you, overeating will most definitely make you tired. According to studies, the typical Thanksgiving meal has over 3000 calories attached to it! That is sure to make you tired! Eating too much food can reduce the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. This occurs because when you have excess food in your stomach, your pancreas will produce extra insulin in order to remove the sugar from your bloodstream. Many times, it will remove too much sugar which causes you to feel extremely sleepy. This ends up turning into a horrible cycle and many times, your stomach will send mixed signals to your brain, making you think you're still hungry.

Eating lots of food at Thanksgiving is one of the greatest pastimes for all Americans. The nap after dinner is also pretty wonderful after inhaling plates of mashed potatoes and desserts! So after researching, it's safe to say that we can't keep blaming Tom Turkey for making us sleepy. Maybe we should blame that extra plate of stuffing we always go for even though we already feel like we are about to explode! So this year, enjoy that nap,  but make sure you tell your family who's really to blame when you sleep through Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!



6 Comments

I definitely find it interesting that the turkey really isnt always what makes us tired. It can definitely make us tired if we are eating a giant amount, but usually people eat a small amount of turkey, accompanied with a lot of other things for thanksgiving dinner. It never occurred to me that the reason we may be tired is because of how many calories we consume during dinner. I cannot believe that we consume almost 3,000 calories. That makes me disgusted! It is also interesting to know that Trytophan is found in more foods, I should be aware of this. Thanks for a very interesting blog!

Most of my family blames the turkey on Thanksgiving for making them sleepy so I found this pretty interesting that the turkey is not at fault. I do not like turkey so I only eat the side dishes, as well. Like you stated, the sides are enough to make me tired. I found this article which breaks down different combinations of Thanksgiving dinner and predicts what each combination does whether it makes people sleepy or not tired at all. Turkey with a high carbohydrate will make you sleepy, but turkey with a low carbohydrate will not make you sleepy. If you were to eat turkey with a high carbohydrate and another protein then it is predicted that you would not be tired. There are many more food combinations with predictions so feel free to check them out.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2011/11/23/why-does-thanksgiving-dinner-make-you-sleepy/

This is interesting because everyone always gets so sleepy after eating a yummy Thanksgiving meal. I on the other hand (from the comments above) do eat a lot of turkey on Thanksgiving, especially with lots of gravy. Normally whenever I eat a large amount of food I go into a "food coma" making me sleepy. I thought this was at fault because once you're to the point of extreme fullness you always just want to lay down and take a good nap. Heres an article that explains a food coma!
http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/12/what-food-coma-and-does-it-exist

Every Thanksgiving it's inevitable that I pass out after the meal whether I want to or not. I never really thought turkey was completely responsible for this though. Every Thanksgiving I make an effort to eat as much as humanly possible because it's my favorite meal of the year so I have to take advantage of the amazing food set before me. So I found that eating a lot will make you tired, but after doing some research Reader's Digest suggests that there actually are some foods that make you more tired than others, "Carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion have higher glycemic rankings. These foods may help you fall asleep in half the usual time." You can find 10 foods that make you sleepy here:
http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-sleep-aids-high-glycemic-foods-to-help-you-snooze#ixzz2kk7pJa1L//www.rd.com/slideshows/10-sleep-aids-high-glycemic-foods-to-help-you-snooze#slideshow=slide11.

I am actually kind of excited to share this with my family at Thanksgiving this year. It will be nice to show them that I am actually learning something during my first semester at Penn State. This article completely makes sense though. Personally, I always feel tired after eating a huge mean, so I don't know why people choose this meal to blame our sleepiness on turkey alone. Because you said that the lack of sugar is what makes us want to sleep, I wonder if desert was served directly after the meal, we wouldn't feel as sleepy. Personally, at my family dinners, there is at least an hour break between dinner and desert, but maybe this tradition should be changed?

This blog post sparked my interest since Thanksgiving is right around the corner. While I've heard the turkey makes you tired excuse for years, I've said all along it's the excessive overeating that happens which is really to blame. For most people, their diets don't consist of such rich foods that we typically see during the annual turkey dinner and anymore, it seems as though people feel the need to eat as much as physically possible. So while that is obviously not healthy, I started wondering if overeating was to blame for the sluggish society we are seeing today. In an article from npr.org, it discusses this phenomenon saying, "Excess food can trigger an unfortunate cycle: The pancreas produces extra insulin to process the sugar load and remove it from the bloodstream. It doesn't stop producing insulin until the brain senses that blood sugar levels are safe. But by the time the brain stops insulin production, often too much sugar is removed. Low blood sugar can make you feel tired, dizzy, nauseous, even depressed — a condition often remedied by eating more sugar and more carbohydrates." You can read more about the negative effects of overeating just in time for the big day right here, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99074990.

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