We’ve all had that obscure family member warn us about too much tryptophan right before gobbling up the feast. But is that for real?
The basis for this myth is that turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is a building block of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone released by the brain that regulates our sleep and wake cycles.
One serving of turkey (3oz ) has about 26mg of tryptophan which almost identical to what is in a serving of chicken. Most adults need about 400mg per day. So that debunks the myth that people commonly think of.
But if you have ever eaten too much Turkey you know that true or false a nap afterwards sounds pretty amazing! So why do you feel so tired after a Thanksgiving meal? The likely reason is that you have eaten a larger- than -normal portion of food and your body is using all of its resources to process that food. The pancreas, liver, gallbladder and entire GI tract is sending all available personal in to break up, process, absorb and store all of the delicious food you have eaten.
And guess who is controlling this whole process? You guessed it-the brain. When you brain is supervising and coordinating this project after a large meal you will most definitely feel a bit sleepy!