Thanksgiving is fast approaching. Turkey Day is that celebrated time of year when we eat as much as we can possibly consume, hit the recliner and drift off to sleep while watching the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s inevitable because turkey has so much tryptophan, right?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid – short for L-tryptophan. The long-held rumor is that this amino is in abundant supply in your Thanksgiving Day turkey and solely responsible for the sleepy-induced state that renders us helpless after eating.
Is it true? Not quite. Chalk this rumor up to myth.
It turns out, chicken actually has more L-tryptophan than turkey, and you can find like amounts of this essential amino acid in other foods such as cheese, fish and eggs.
Alright, it’s not a complete lie. L-tryptophan does induce a greater amount of serotonin, a chemical that helps us feel relaxed when released in the body. But the minimal amount means your desire to fall fast asleep has little to do with your choice of poultry. The “Thanksgiving Day gorge” is the primary reason for being so tired after your holiday meal. That’s a lot of calories and a lot of energy being used for digestion!
If you enjoy your holiday ritual of sleeping through football games, there’s actually a better way. Instead of over-eating and adding all those excess calories to your waistline, simply eat a small all-carbohydrate snack. Serotonin shows the biggest boost when you consume a food containing 25-30 carbohydrates.
That’s a great tip to know – not just for sleeping through football games, but for helping you to rest better on any given evening. All carbs with no protein or fat – that’s how you make yourself sleepy with tryptophan.