Ramadhan: Why Do We Feel Sleepy After Breaking Fast?

Have you ever felt sleepy after breaking fast? Ever wondered how come you always feel like taking a nap immediately after? There is a good reason why, well actually 2 reasons:

Blood Flow to the Intestines.

Apart from the brain, intestines require a lot of blood to help digest food. So after a long day of fasting, the sudden surge of food kicks our digestion system into overdrive. Here the brain channels a large amount of red blood cells to our intestines. This rush to red blood cells to the intestines leaves the rest of the body, especially your brain, with reduced blood flow. This will make you feel sleepy.

Increased Suger levels

All that food will, of course, increase blood sugar levels – which than results in an increase in insulin. Insulin reacts with a protein in the brain called “tryptophan”, creating a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is responsible to tell your brain to go to sleep. Hence you feel sleepy, especially if you break fast with lots of simple carbohydrates like rice, dates, fruits etc.

For more information, you can read an article I wrote back in 2008 – Serotonin, Nicotine and Why We Feel Sleepy After A Meal?

Basically, foods that rank high on the Glycemic Index will help you fall asleep in half the time you normally do.

Following is a quick list of high glycemic food:

  • White rice
  • French fries (Ketchup)
  • Pasta
  • Potato chips
  • Soft drinks
  • Chocolate bars
  • Ice cream
  • Whole milk
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Baked potatoes