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Serotonin, Nicotine and Why We Feel Sleepy After Makan?

Thats a question someone asked me recently and yeah, this is especially true during bulan puasa where we fast all day and break with a heavy meal. So the question should actually be:

Why do we feel drowsy or sleepy after a LARGE meal!?

Lack of oxygen!

Its simple really. Eating a large meal makes your digestion system work overtime, this draws blood away from other areas, including your brain. Less blood flow reduces the amount of oxygen the brain gets. Hence you feel sleepy.

How to avoid getting sleepy after a meal?

Eat smaller portions. This not only avoids your digestion system from working overtime but also helps you avoid sugar crashes (energy crashes) and keeps your cravings in check. But during puasa or ramadhan, its probably unavoidable to feel mengantuk after a meal as its always a large meal ;)

….during puasa or ramadhan, its probably unavoidable to feel mengantuk after a meal as its always a large meal..

What is serotonin?

This is something I recently read about and find very interesting. Serotonin is a chemical that acts as a calming agent on the brain and plays an active role in sleep.

Some overweight people with low levels of serotonin feel almost compelled to eat more.

Some overweight people with low levels of serotonin feel almost compelled to eat more. Once they get their carbohydrate “fix”, serotonin levels rise and they feel better again, tetapi only untuk jangka masa pendek.

It might also interest you to know that nicotine increases serotonin levels. Nicotine withdrawal has the opposite effect. This is one reason why people who quit smoking find that they rapidly gain weight. They’re trying to get their serotonin “fix” from food instead of cigarettes.

So what about Serotonin and sleep?

When you eat a food high in carbohydrate, your body releases insulin. Insulin helps to clear the competing amino acids from your blood. However, insulin has no effect on tryptophan. Consequently, once insulin has cleared the competing amino acids from your blood, tryptophan is free to enter your brain. This raises serotonin and makes you sleepy (in theory la)

Tryptophan is an amino acid. Your body can’t make serotonin without the help of tryptophan. If you were to eat just tryptophan by itself, then it would enter the blood, flow into the brain, and raise serotonin levels.

The link between serotonin and sleep is one reason why some people feel tired after eating a high-carbohydrate meal. It also helps to explain why foods high in carbohydrate are often described as “comfort” food.

What about Red Wine?

Yup…not that I am a red wine drinker but wine is known to contain Melatoni which produces Tryptophan and we all know how that can raise our Serotonin levels.

Kevin Zahri

I am a US certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Over the years, I have published over 10 books, written for Men’s Health, other fitness and lifestyle magazines, hosted TV shows and appeared on various TV shows, programs and magazines. I am also an avid corporate wellness speaker and web entrepreneur.

More about me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

12 comments

  • ‘….during puasa or ramadhan, its probably unavoidable to feel mengantuk after a meal as its always a large meal..’ – yea, u got that right! ;) thanx for da post ya. now i know why the couch seems very inviting after berbuka hahaha.

    happy hari raya bro.

  • hye Kevin, tenQ so much for the post as it’s very informative. i was always wondered why we usually feel sleepy after eating (lunch was worst during non-puasa months) and now you’ve shed some light onto it.

    p/s: the pic of u is cute ;) what year isit? selamat hari raya!!

  • thx for posting…wanna know ur input about the current HOt topic – MELAMINE. what, why, when, where, who, how. i read/heard that it’s dangerous, and last thing i realize is that all my fav junkies (cadbury choc, walls icey, wrigleys gummy, yakult, mentos chewy…..) all has been banned/labeled ‘NOT SAFE’.
    t.Q

  • hey, this post catches my eye…interesting one. thanx fo da info. and that lil comment by cookie (cute, hope it’s a chick’s) is really good too. can you post something on that topic? thanx dude!

  • Bro Zahri, thanks for informative info. Mmg banyak membantu saya. Saya ke gym 4x seminggu utk build muscle. Berat skrg 74kg dgn ketinggian 165cm.Every sunday morning, saya jogging.Saya ada ambik weight gainer and amino acid. Masalah saya, selalu rasa mengantuk antara jam 2-4 ptg.My breakfast jam 9 pg, lunch hour jam 12 noon. Saya tidur jam 12 mlm dan bangun jam 6.45pg.Mmg mengantuk sgt. kenapa agaknya? sedangkn saya seorg yg active…

  • there’s so much goodness in red wine for instance it can flush down some of the cholestrol in your system and wash your artery frm clogging fat…

  • […] 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? […]

  • […] paying again and there is no danger of overdosing or over medicating.        Click Here to Download the Mind Sync MP3s Many people that suffer with sleep problems do not have en…f serotonin affect your mood and can lead to depression. What most people do not realize is that […]

Kevin Zahri

I am a US certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Over the years, I have published over 10 books, written for Men’s Health, other fitness and lifestyle magazines, hosted TV shows and appeared on various TV shows, programs and magazines. I am also an avid corporate wellness speaker and web entrepreneur.

More about me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.