Why do I get tired after I eat?

Why do I always get tired after eating? I can come home from work, not feeling tired at all, eat dinner (not a huge glutton man meal mind you) but right after, all of a sudden I feel like i need to take a nap and ;ie down, sometimes sleeping for an hour or so.

Does this happen to other people or is there something wrong with me?

We have no idea whether anything else is wrong with you, but the effect you describe is perfectly normal. Digesting food takes a lot of energy, which is why people rescued from near-starvation are only given very small amounts to eat at first; expending more energy trying to digest a full meal could kill them.

In pre-civilization times, you would eat maybe one or two times a day and rest afterwards to digest it. This is why there’s a kind of brown-out that everyone feels after lunch, and many cultures have a siesta then.

This can be a sign of diabetes. Look it up online and see if you have any of the other symptoms- excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, loss of sensation in the feet, etc. It is also a sign of pre-diabetes, especially when the meals have a lot of carbs. An astonishing number of people who have diabetes don’t even know it, so it’s worth checking out.

I have this problem mainly in restaurants. At home, I eat pretty slowly, or I’ll break up the courses over a long period of time, but in a restaurant you have to just sit and chow down. This always makes me incredibly tired, sometimes so much so that I feel too worn out to chew anymore. I always bring home about half my meal and end up eating the rest as soon as I get home.

Maybe if you spread the meal over a longer period of time, it might help. Just a thought.

Are you meals white flour/white sugar/corn syrup heavy? Do you have dessert after your meal?

Sometimes a meal or a snack like that (sugar heavy) can wipe me out- I just have to fall asleep and feel woozy. I do not have diabetes of any type, so for me, it’s totally related to what I eat.

Steak and salad won’t do it to me, but a cookie or white pasta will.

Meals that contain complex carbs can have a draining effect because they require energy to be broken down.

"White carbs’ such as rice and breads affect you two ways to make you tired and/or feel tired: A complex carbs, your body must work to process them, but as white carbs, they can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels, and this can lead to lethargy.

You might want to look into the Zone diet. It basically says to eat balanced amounts of fat, complex carbs, and protein at each meal. It can be a bit of a pain to follow, but I never get tired after I eat a zoned meal (not that I have the discipline to eat that way regularly).

The other answers are well worth considering, but it could just be that that’s the time when you just naturally run out of energy, and the fact that it’s right after eating is just coincidence. Do you get tired after eating other meals?

I don’t know about getting tired, but I always get really cold after I eat, no matter what I eat. Personally, I think that’s a lot weirder.

It does seem normal to take a nice nap after a meal sometimes. Maybe we’re just meant for siestas.

My dad always told me that digestion tends to divert blood flow towards the stomach and away from the extremities, which would explain our feeling cold after a meal. Then again, he’s a chemical engineer rather than a physician, and he’s also voiced some pretty wild biological conjectures before (e.g., Asians have less body hair because they’re “further from the apes” ), so I’m not about to promote this “diverting blood flow” explanation as unassailable fact.

I have to very sincerely doubt that an particular type of meal takes, “a lot of energy to digest,” and that’s what’s causing your fatigue. Basically, I would claim that the diverted bloodflow and whatnot is bullshit.

Very simply, the digestion of these meals takes place with enzymes that you produce constituitively and you aren’t making any stunning amounts of protein for these digestive enzymes. Also, although some of the transport of food across the intestine requires the use of energy, I think this is also a very minor consideration. If you were actually using more energy, I think that you would notice significant changes in metabolic rates (more oxygen used, faster heart rate, faster breathing) rather than simply feeling sleepy.

Even afer very big meals, the resting metabolic rate doesn’t seem to change much from baseline levels after a large meal according to this study:

I think a far more likely explanation is a release of anabolic hormones such as insulin after a large meal. Diabetes or pre-diabetes may play a roll as trublmaker has suggested.

An excess of insulin after consuming your meal might lead to low blood sugar or simply some other process in your body that makes you want to be tired after a meal. I’m not sure that this is necessarily a bad thing, either, although having a very strong version of it could be implicated in some sort of pathology like diabetes, but I’m not sure and I won’t go there.

Whatever it is, I’m pretty confident that it’s not blood just being shunted to your intestine making you sleepy.

Some studies suggest that increased plasma conc. of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) leads to sleepyness after a meal (aka postprandial sleepiness or postprandial dip).
L-364,718, a cholecystokinin-A receptor antagonist, suppresses feeding-induced sleep in rats.
“These results suggest that endogenous CCK, acting on CCK-A receptors, may play a key role in eliciting postprandial sleep.”

World J Gastroenterol 2005 July 28;11(28):4375-4381
“These results together with the observation of a increased feeling of drowsiness after intravenous injection of CCK administration[44], support the hypothesis of a GI effect on postprandial sleepiness. It is conceivable that meal ingestion may release CCK and other neuroendocrine substances, such as serotonin, or activate nervous afferences, that affect the state of consciousness and delay gastric emptying.”

Me too! My lips used to turn blue and my teeth would chatter before I wised up and started putting more clothes on (which only helps a little).

I’ve always bought the theory that it’s caused by our blood being diverted to our stomachs.

I’m thin, if that’s of interest. Also, the cold effect is greater with a bigger meal.