Sleep after lunch is a normal feeling associated with physiological mechanisms of digestion. Healthy, moderate eating can help reduce tiredness and drowsiness during the day.
After eating, a greater production of hydrochloric acid begins in the stomach for digestion, as explained by neurologist Mauricio Hoshino.
“As a result, a process of relative excess of sodium bicarbonate begins in the blood, the so-called postprandial alkalosis, which ends up inhibiting the mechanisms that keep us awake,” says Hoshino, who is also a member of the Brazilian Medical College. of Acupuncture.
Doctor Alfredo Salim Helito, from Hospital Sírio-Libanês, says that the feeling of sleep is also associated with changes in blood circulation resulting from the digestive process.
“After a meal, lunch or dinner, the body’s circulation is directed more towards the digestive system because there is a greater need for blood to start digestion”, he says.
“The act of digesting is practically surrounded by an operation in the digestive system for that food to be transformed into the absorption of elements, proteins, glucose and everything else”, he completes.
How to decrease sleep after lunch?
According to experts, the amount or type of food involved can favor drowsiness.
“The greater the volume of food and the greater the fat and protein content of the food, the more sleep you can have”, says Helito.
“It is noticed that the more difficult the digestion process is, for example, fatty foods, alcohol or excessive amounts, they end up favoring drowsiness. It is also possible that foods rich in tryptophan, such as chicken breast, boiled egg, canned tuna, pot meat, fish, spinach, cheese, tofu and turkey, increase the availability of cerebral serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for organizing sleep”, explains Hoshino.
Although drinking coffee after lunch is a strategy used to reduce drowsiness, experts advise caution.
“Caffeine is a psychostimulant and is often used for this purpose. The problem is how easy it is to abuse and its use in the afternoon, impairing the quality of night sleep and effects on the stomach”, says Hoshino.
“Coffee has caffeine, which is a central nervous system stimulant. Theoretically, it can help. But coffee does not interfere with the mechanism by which drowsiness exists. If you drink a lot of coffee or tea, which also have caffeine, using this mechanism to reduce sleep can help, but it is not convenient”, says Helito.
To control sleep after lunch, experts recommend paying attention to the amount and type of food.
“Eat smaller portions of well-balanced meals throughout the day to keep energy levels stable, including a good breakfast to meet the demands of lunchtime. Practice a light exercise, the famous ‘walk to facilitate digestion’. Avoid alcohol use. If possible, a short nap, a maximum of 20 minutes, ends up being invigorating, even improving performance and the cognitive part in the afternoon”, says the neurologist.
“Avoid eating too much fatty food or large volumes of food. In the summer, for example, prioritize the consumption of more vegetables, more fruits, more foods that are easier to digest”, adds Helito.
Individuals who eat properly, more times a day and in small portions, manage to transform food into energy more easily. Those who eat only two meals a day and in large quantities, or abuse fatty foods that are slow to digest, spend more energy on digestion.
“Digested food is the fuel for the body to function throughout the day. But you can’t imagine yourself as a car, which fills the tank all at once. A more balanced and fractioned diet is necessary, so that the body absorbs nutrients better without overloading the system”, says nutritionist Simone Rocha, president of the Nutrition Association of the Federal District, in a statement.
Unhealthy eating habits can also cause tiredness and sleep during the day.
“If someone eats only a few times a day and in large portions, the body as a whole is slower to digest it all. The process works as a defense. The body takes time to process what she ate in excess, so the organism ‘steals’ energy from other places to help with digestion. Many people think that day-to-day tiredness comes from work or other factors, but it could be a matter of eating better. Eat in small portions, several times a day and with a preference for healthy foods and in natura these are actions that will make you more available and help fight tiredness”, he concludes.
Source: CNN Brasil
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