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Many people believe that eating just turkey makes them sleepy. They feel that all of the delicious turkey consumed at Thanksgiving triggers the oft-experienced post Thanksgiving meal nap in front of a football game in a comfy chair or couch.
That is not the entire story. Like football, there is a competition underway. Turkey does indeed contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is a component of the brain chemical serotonin. This serotonin can get converted into melatonin – a well known and established sleep inducing hormone. But, this is not the entire story.
The real reason why one might feel very sleepy after Thanksgiving meals is because of all of the carbohydrates consumed. The potatoes, stuffing, and sugar and other carbs consumed trigger the release of insulin’ kind of like when you eat pancakes with strawberries and a Twix Bar. Insulin removes most amino acids from the blood. Insulin however does not remove tryptophan.
The carbs are blocking much like payers do in football, and when the insulin clears the playing field the tryptophan is indeed allowed to run in for a touchdown and ultimately help melatonin do its magic. Maybe you will see some touchdowns watching Thanksgiving when the Dallas Cowboys football team is on TV.
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