Is the Tryptophan in Your Turkey Making You Sleepy?
Chances are very good that someone at your Thanksgiving table is going to say :
Now that our tummies are full of turkey, we're all gonna be sleepy because of the Tryptophan stuff that's in turkey.
Is is true? Here's the truth about that "stuff" so that you can plan accordingly and not miss an exciting moment of football.
Yes, there is an amino acid in turkey called Tryptophan (pronounced "trip-ta-fun") that will help make you sleepy; but there is no more in turkey than in many other foods like chicken, cheese or yogurt. Possibly the reason turkey got the reputation as a sleeping pill is that we tend to eat so much of it on Thanksgiving. But scientists say the most likely reason we get so sleepy after a big thanksgiving dinner is the huge amount of carbs that we eat in addition to the bird.
If we pig out on bread, potatoes, gravy and several helpings of pie with whipped cream, we will get a "sugar high;" and then the downer that comes after that, added to the Tryptophan from the massive helpings of turkey, gives us that relaxed and sleepy feeling.
The experts know that we all eat Thanksgiving dinner about noon. That's why the NFL and TV people coordinated the Detroit Lions playing football (this year they play the Bears in the battle of two teams with losing records) with our meal. We can snooze through that game and get ready for some real football. This year at 3:30, it's two playoff-bound teams: the Bills and Cowboys. Maybe the "trypto" will be worn off by then.