Most likely, it's the whole traditional Thanksgiving meal that can produce that after-dinner lethargy. The meal is quite often heavy and high in carbohydrates -- from mashed potatoes, to bread, stuffing and pie -- and your body is working hard to digest that food. After all, the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat [source: Meeks]. Also, if you drink alcohol with your dinner, you'll likely feel its sedative effect, too.
But there is a way to take advantage of the tryptophan in turkey. If you have trouble getting to sleep one night while there's still leftover turkey in the refrigerator, you could have a late snack of turkey and that, nutritionists say, might be the right amount of tryptophan on an empty stomach to help produce some serotonin.
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More Great Links
- "Ask Dr. Weil: Tired After Turkey?" Wired.com. Nov. 26, 1996. http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/1996/11/634
- Brock, N. Meeks. "Since Plymouth, Thanksgiving Day has seen its share of controversy." Nov. 23, 2004. MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6560439/
- Farley, Dixie. "Dietary Supplements: Making Sure Hype Doesn't Overwhelm Science." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/CONSUMER/CON00259.html
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/ds-tryp1.html
- United States Census Bureau. Nov. 23, 2006. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archivesfacts_for_features_special_editions/007643.html