Always tired after eating? These reasons are questioned – Heilpraxis

Causes of tiredness after eating

Many people get tired and lazy after a long meal. In some cases, the exhaustion after lunch throughout the afternoon. A nutrition expert explains the possible causes of this “food coma.”

Julia Zumpano is a nutritionist at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in Ohio (USA). In a recent article, she explains the reasons for tired after eating may be responsible.

Some drop in energy is completely normal

In the first place, Zumpano points out that a certain energy deficit after eating in a completely natural way it is. On the one hand, food can release hormones that make you sleepy, and on the other hand, the body is busy with digestion.

How tired you feel after eating depends mainly on the following factors:

  • quantity of food,
  • type of food consumed
  • increase in blood sugar level,
  • meal time,
  • duration and quality of sleep,
  • hormones
  • alcohol consumption,
  • personal circumstances (genetics),
  • any underlying disease.

According to Zumpano, however, there are several ways to achieve the so-called postprandial sleepinessas it is called in the technical jargon to the midday depression after a meal.

Getting enough sleep can prevent fatigue after eating

According to the nutritionist, a common cause of midday blues is a insufficient duration or quality of sleep. recommended are average seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

Those who constantly sleep very little disturb their daily rhythm, which is especially noticeable after a heavy meal.

“Everyone needs a different amount of rest”Zumpano emphasizes. She recommends monitoring how many hours of sleep she gets feeling rested and refreshed.

Alcohol increases fatigue after eating

Used before, during or just after a meal alcohol drunk, you can do that “make you feel sluggish after a meal”, according to Zumpano. In addition, sleep is less restful after increased alcohol consumption, which increases the likelihood of midday depression the next day.

Foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins.

If the food consumed is rich in carbohydrates and protein, post-meal fatigue is often more pronounced. “It takes between 30 and 40 hours to digest a meal”Zumpano reports.

The body begins digestion while we eat. If the food is heavy and rich, more food will be added during the digestion process. This can be an energy draining process for the body.

Hormones are involved in digestion.

There is also evidence from studies that People produce more serotonin after eating. “Serotonin is a chemical that regulates mood and the sleep cycle”explains the nutritionist.

In some foods it is the essential amino acid tryptophan Contains. Protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs, cheese, and fish in particular are rich in tryptophan. According to Zumpano, the amino acid helps the body produce serotonin.

“Often when you eat a high-protein meal, you feel more sleepy because it absorbs tryptophan from the protein and then produces more serotonin.”concludes the nutrition expert.

The increase in the level of sugar in the blood causes a drop in energy

A meal also leaves the increase in blood sugar levels. This can result in a power drop. “After a meal, insulin is the key that releases sugar into the bloodstream”Zumpano confirms.

Insulin is released to move sugar out of the blood so cells can use it for energy. AN lack of insulin or a sharp rise in blood sugar levels can cause fatigue.

This is especially the case when many simple carbohydrates either refined sugar is present in the food. Therefore, the following meals and snacks are particularly likely to cause increased fatigue:

  • desserts,
  • Cake,
  • Cookies,
  • white bread and white flour products,
  • pasta,
  • White rice,
  • sweets,
  • Dishes with a lot of added sugar.

Eating a lot = more tired

There is also a direct relationship between the amount of food eaten and subsequent fatigue. “So if you eat a heavier or larger meal, you’re more likely to feel sluggish because your body has to work harder to digest the food.”Zumpano points out.

Measures against the midday low

The nutritionist recommends one balanced food Eat in adequate amounts that include whole grains, ingredients rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats. There are also several ways to reduce fatigue after eating.

Five small meals instead of three large ones

According to Zumpano, anyone who struggles with fatigue after eating particularly often can try instead of three large meals, five smaller ones take.

At mealtime, for example, you can cut your usual portion in half and then have a smaller snack in the morning and afternoon. As snacks are for example Fruit or a portion walnuts very suitable.

“That amount of food is much easier to digest, and you’re more likely to get short bursts of energy from eating than a heavier meal, which makes you more lethargic.”describes the nutrition expert.

Power naps against the midday low

A short but intense period of rest can also be a miracle weapon against midday blues. “If you have the opportunity to take a short nap during the day, it will help you”Zumpano advises.

But the nap should no more than 20 minutes continue, otherwise there is a risk that the tiredness will get worse. For instructions, see the article: “Power Naps: Instructions and Importance of Naps.”

Exercise drives away fatigue

A little Movement after eating helps stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels steady. A short walk or yoga exercise is suitable for this.

“If you eat a large meal, I recommend that you take a 10-15 minute walk to get your digestion going”Zumpano emphasizes.

Exchange of foods in a specific way

“Eat carbohydrates in the form of beans or vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, peas, or red-skinned potatoes”, suggests the nutritionist. In addition, the plate must be left in the middle with non-starchy vegetables Be full.

Fight the midday slump with caffeine?

Many people reach for an extra cup after eating. Coffeewith what is included caffeine counter depression. This can work up to a point, but don’t overdo it.

Too much caffeine can have the opposite effect. Maybe the energy boost will help you get through the rest of the afternoon. But the stimulant can also ensure that sleep is delayed and therefore the problem carries over to the next day.

Bright light can drive away fatigue

Bright light can reduce flaccidity after eating, an effect that is also reflected in the so-called phototherapy is being used. “A lamp with a bright light on your desk or workplace after lunch can help”according to Zumpano.

Tiredness after eating as an indication of underlying disease

If none of the measures recommended here are effective against tiredness after eating, a constant midday depression can also be a problem. Indication of an existing underlying disease be. examples for Diseases that increase the risk of postprandial sleepinessare

“If you have made some changes and the tiredness after eating has not improved, you should go to the doctor”Zumpano concludes. (verb)

Author and source of information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical professionals.


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Cleveland Clinic: Tired After Eating? Here’s Why (Posted 5/20/2022),
  • Hichem Slama, Gaétane Deliens, Rémy Schmitz, et al: Afternoon nap and bright light exposure improve cognitive flexibility after lunch; In: PLoS One (2015),

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.


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