Tryptophan and Naps on Thanksgiving – Dr. David Long

Tryptophan and Naps on Thanksgiving Summary

  • Dr. David Long explains that diet can affect sleep, and tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods including cheese, chicken, egg whites, fish milk and turkey which aids in the production of melatonin associated with our sleep/wake cycle as well as serotonin for appetite mood pain etc.
  • Despite what we may think about turkey containing a lot of tryptophan there’s relatively little present. 
  • The post-meal drowsiness from Thanksgiving meals has more to do with the amount eaten rather than any particular food item due to blood being diverted away from muscles and brain for digestion purposes. 
  • Enjoy family time this holiday season while also considering all you have to be thankful for!

Full Text

Are you looking forward to having a big Thanksgiving meal and maybe a great nap? It’s clear that our diet can affect our sleep. 

One of the most common compounds in our diet called tryptophan is an amino acid that our body uses to make proteins. It’s also a precursor to the hormone melatonin and the neurotransmitter serotonin melatonin is associated with our sleep and wake cycle.

Serotonin’s involvement in appetite, mood, sleep and pain trip to the fan is common in many foods, including cheese, chicken, egg, whites, fish milk, and yes, turkey. However, despite what we may think about tryptophan in turkey, there’s relatively little tryptophan in turkey. 

The sleepiness that comes on after the Thanksgiving meal has more to do with the amount of food we eat at the meal and the amount of carbohydrates when we eat a large meal, blood is diverted from our muscles and our brain to our digestive system to aid in digestion. 

This causes drowsiness. So I hope that you enjoy a great holiday celebrating family and considering what you have to be thankful for. Enjoy that meal. Enjoy that. 

I’m Dr. David Long, and that was the long story short.

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