Does turkey really make you sleepy?

We’ve all heard the tale – the reason behind your post-Thanksgiving feast nap is said to be tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey. While it is true that tryptophan plays a role in the chemicals in your brain that contribute to tiredness, did you know that tryptophan is also found (in similar levels to turkey) in other poultry, including chicken? Or that by weight, cheddar cheese contains more tryptophan than an equal amount of turkey? If this is the case, the average person consumes this particular amino acid fairly regularly without needing to nap right away. Does this mean that tryptophan may not really to blame for the legendary Thanksgiving snooze? Though tryptophan certainly is a factor, the large amounts of carbohydrates (think mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, etc.) consumed with the typical Thanksgiving meal also play a large part in causing the body to feel tired. Furthermore, many North Texans will find themselves drinking a glass of wine or enjoying another alcoholic beverage with their meal, which only further contributes to the post-meal sleepiness. Consuming alcohol and the carb-heavy side dishes in moderation with your meal is not only better for your health, but may also leave you feeling a bit more alert after dinner. So when you settle in for a cozy nap by the fire this Thursday, don’t blame it all on the turkey!!