Why does eating make me sleepy?

By November 15, 2011 hypothyroid No Comments

“I practically fall asleep in my plate after every meal. Why does eating make me so sleepy?”

Feeling sleepy after meals is a common symptom of insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes.

Starchy foods and too much insulin

Insulin resistance is common today and is a stepping-stone to diabetes. Overeating and eating a diet high in sugar and starchy foods causes insulin resistance. These foods include breads, rice, pasta, pastries, chips, potatoes, soda, sweet coffee drinks, and more.

Converting glucose to fat demands energy

Insulin escorts glucose into the cells to make energy. Starchy foods bombard the bloodstream with too much glucose, forcing the release of insulin to lower it. When a person eats a starchy diet on a regular basis, the body overproduces insulin to lower chronically high blood sugar.

Eventually these constant surges of insulin exhaust the body’s cells and they refuse entry to the insulin, which is called insulin resistance. As a result insulin can’t escort glucose into the cells to make energy and the person feels sleepy.

Also, because glucose can’t get into cells, blood sugar climbs too high. The body lowers it to safer levels by converting excess glucose into fat for storage. This is a demanding process that robs one of energy.

Insulin surges overproduce calming brain chemical

A fluctuation in brain chemistry is another factor that causes tiredness. Carbohydrates provide precursors for serotonin, the “joy and well-being” brain chemical that can ward off depression and also be calming.

However, the insulin surge that follows a high-carb meal overproduces serotonin in the brain, contributing to that need for a post-meal nap. After serotonin levels drop, people then may feel depressed, which spurs cravings for more high-carb foods and sweets to get that pleasurable “high” and start the cycle over again.

Restoring insulin sensitivity

If you feel sleepy even after a very low-carb meal, it could be because you overate or because your glucose metabolism has become too disordered to function properly. While adapting a lower-carb diet is vital, you may need the guidance of a practitioner in using nutritional and botanical compounds that can help restore insulin sensitivity.

Dr. Joni Labbe

About Dr. Joni Labbe

Dr. Joni Labbe is a board-certified clinical nutritionist specializing in science-based nutrition with a focus on women's health issues. She has successfully helped pre-menopausal and menopausal women regain and maintain their health since 1995. Dr. Labbe is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Thyroid & Menopause Madness and It’s Not Just Menopause: It’s Your Thyroid. She is also a professional speaker, radio personality, fitness expert, and former host of “Healthier Way With Dr. Labbe.” Dr. Labbe is one of the country’s leading authorities on thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease. Dr. Labbe has also authored numerous articles and blogs on health, nutrition, and thyroid health, as seen in Naturally Savvy, Thyroid Nation, and Fox News. She is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionalist, Doctor of Chiropractic, and has post graduate training in Functional Neurology, Functional Endocrinology, Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, and earned a Diplomate and Fellow in Nutrition from the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

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