Food is a source of energy. But what to do if, after a hearty dinner, you feel sleepy, and your only desire is to lie down on the sofa and take a nap for at least half an hour ? We will tell you how to avoid this and stay awake all day, even after meals.
Sleepiness that occurs after eating can be the result of the nervous system. We are talking about its vegetative part: the one that imperceptibly for us regulates the work of the whole organism. It consists of two components, the function of which is largely opposite: the sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of the nervous system. The sympathetic activates the muscles, improves the reaction – in all its glory you can see its work in the runners, standing at the start, or in the person who was suddenly frightened by something and is under stress. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, relaxes the muscles, slows down the heartbeat, and as a result, the person calms down.
So, after eating, the action of the parasympathetic nervous system reflexively prevails in a person. This has its own meaning: under its influence, the blood supply to the muscles decreases somewhat, but the blood rushes to the digestive tract: after all, the food eaten must be somehow absorbed, and for this the organs involved must receive more blood. In other words, our body cannot simultaneously be in tension and normally absorb food, so it has to choose one thing.
So immediately after eating, the body experiences a strong influence of the parasympathetic nervous system – this allows it to digest food. And to protect you from possible stress (after all, when it occurs, you will have to activate the sympathetic nervous system, which does not contribute to digestion at all), your brain gives you a feeling of relaxation and peace along with the desire to take a nap. This is especially noticeable after a heavy meal.
However, this is just one of the theories – it is possible that sleepiness after eating can occur for other reasons. There are new studies that reveal in this process the role of blood glucose levels and the associated production of the neurohormone orexin . Chronic lack of sleep, which many people in large cities face, also plays a role. Under these conditions, the body tries to snatch maximum sleep for itself, and the time when a person has eaten and is relaxed is perfect for this. And here are the very reasons, eliminating which, you will regain energy and lightness.
You are causing a spike in sugar
This is perhaps the most common cause of sleepiness after eating. We have already discussed why blood sugar is one of the most important indicators of health and how to control it.
Glucose in the human body is the result of the breakdown of carbohydrates. Along with fats and proteins, carbohydrates are nutrients that the body needs in large quantities. And it is carbohydrates that are responsible for the energy level in the body. But if you think that the more carbohydrates you eat, the more cheerful you will be, then you are mistaken.
By their chemical composition, carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex. The speed of their assimilation and, as a consequence, the effect on the human body depends on their structure.
Simple carbohydrates or simple sugars are those that, after entering the body, do not need additional breakdown and are quickly absorbed. Many people know them as fast carbohydrates: they quickly give up the sugar they contain and provoke a sharp jump in energy. Complex or slow carbohydrates work differently. Due to their structure, their breakdown occurs more slowly, and glucose enters the blood evenly.
Foods with a high glycemic index will give you energy for the first half hour after a meal, but later your blood sugar will drop dramatically. And because of this, you are always sleepy.
The indicator of the rate of breakdown of the product to the simplest glucose is the glycemic index (GI). The smaller it is, the slower sugar enters the bloodstream, and the body will be provided with energy for a longer time. Foods with a high GI will give you energy for the first half hour after a meal, but later your blood sugar will drop dramatically. This can make you feel tired and sleepy. But if you opt for slow carbohydrates, you will avoid the spikes in glucose levels, and your body will maintain an energy balance.
There are a lot of fast carbohydrates – in fact, these are all foods that have been heavily processed. For example, white flour and all flour products (yes, say goodbye to buns, puffs and cookies), white rice and sugary drinks. Despite the abundance of fiber, fruits and dried fruits are also fast carbs, albeit less harmful.
Pay attention to foods that have been less processed: they contain a lot of fiber. This is why the body takes longer to process them. This means that glucose from them will enter the bloodstream more slowly, and this will avoid a jump in sugar and energy imbalance. Therefore, give preference to those foods that are rich in fiber – these are all foods made from whole grain flour, buckwheat, brown rice, bulgur , rolled oats, lentils (there is also protein), etc.
You eat more than you need
“Eat more often and in small portions” is not only advice to everyone who is losing weight. Large portions create a feeling of heaviness, and this makes you want to “lie down and digest”. The body is simply tired of coping with hundreds of extra calories.
Overeating is usually the result of prolonged hunger, and regular meals can help you avoid this. In addition, observing the intervals between meals allows you to maintain sugar levels at the same level. Therefore, portion control is important not only for those looking to lose weight, but also for those who want to feel light all day long.
The optimal diet is meals every 2-3 hours. Make sure you always have vegetables on your plate. Firstly, it will help you get satiated much faster, and secondly, the presence of vegetables will have the most positive effect on the absorption of food.
You don’t drink enough water during the day
We have written more than once about why it is necessary to maintain water balance. This is important not only during training but also in everyday life. Water is the most important nutrient (i.e. a substance that must necessarily be part of the food consumed by a person to provide it with the necessary energy, components that promote growth, and substances that regulate the growth and exchange of energy in the human body), about which all why forget something.
Water is needed to regulate blood volume, and this affects blood pressure and heart rate. With dehydration, the blood pressure drops and the pulse becomes weak, so when the body is dehydrated, symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and lethargy.
But do not forget that an excess of fluid in the body can cause swelling.