One of the most common things I hear around Thanksgiving time is that “turkey makes you sleepy”. When questioned about it people “in the know” say that it’s the tryptophan in the turkey that’s responsible for making everyone’s eyelids heavy. But is that true?
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in various protein rich foods such as the traditional Thanksgiving meal, i.e. turkey. The body utilizes tryptophan to help make niacin and serotonin. And as we all know, serotonin is responsible for changes in mood and is thought to affect sleep.
But does that mean that the L-tryptophan in turkey makes us sleepy? Not necessarily. Most people say it will, but they’re simply repeating what they’ve heard. Truth be told, there’s no good evidence to suggest that L-tryptophan induces sleep. In fact, the evidence in the literature is inconclusive. So based on the lack of evidence don’t blame the turkey for your post Thanksgiving meal coma. Instead, stuff your face with great food, unbutton your pants, lay on the couch to watch the games on TV and let nature take its course.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy the time with family and friends.