Common sleepiness or drowsiness after eating a meal is called postprandial somnolence.  (Orr, Shadid, Harnish, & Elsenbruch, 1997) .

There is little scientific evidence about this “food coma” but it is taught a group of neurons in the hypothalamus of the brain that modulates satiety causes it. 

Variability between people and types of food consumed makes it difficult study. It has been proposed that postprandial sleep is not invariable; it may be absent in particular individuals or heavily dependent on specific food properties  (Murphy et al., 2016) . Therefore, due to the lack of knowledge on this topic is difficult to determine how this feeling can be avoided.

-What do I need to eat to prevent postprandial somnolence?

People tend to feel sleepier and less awake after eating high-fat-low-carbohydrate meals in
comparison to low-fat-high carbohydrates-meals (Wells, Read, Uvnas-Moberg, & Alster, 1997) . Therefore, eating meals high in carbohydrates rather than high fats seems to help feeling less somnolence after eating.


Bazar, K. A., Yun, A. J., & Lee, P. Y. (2004). Debunking a myth: neurohormonal and vagal modulation of sleep centers, not redistribution of blood flow, may account for postprandial somnolence.

Medical Hypotheses, 63(5), 778-782. doi: Kim, S. W., & Lee, B. I. (2009). Metabolic state, neurohormones, and vagal stimulation, not increased
serotonin, orchestrate postprandial drowsiness. Bioscience Hypotheses, 2(6), 422-427. doi:
Murphy, K. R., Deshpande, S. A., Yurgel, M. E., Quinn, J. P., Weissbach, J. L., Keene, A. C., . . . William, W. J. (2016). Postprandial sleep mechanics in Drosophila. Elife, 5, e19334. Orr, W. C., Shadid, G., Harnish, M. J., & Elsenbruch, S. (1997).

Meal Composition and Its Effect on Postprandial Sleepiness. Physiology & Behavior, 62(4), 709-712.

Wells, A. S., Read, N. W., Uvnas-Moberg, K., & Alster, P. (1997). Influences of Fat and Carbohydrate on Postprandial Sleepiness, Mood, and Hormones. Physiology & Behavior, 61(5), 679-686.

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