Turkey contains a natural sedative that makes you feel tired and sleepy after eating a lot of it.
Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy.
Hoax or Fact:
This is a popular belief among people that eating lot of turkey, especially during Thanksgiving feast will make them tired and sleepy. This is often attributed to a natural sedative contained in Turkey. It is not a fact.
Contrary to the popular belief, eating Turkey is not the main reason why people feel sleepy after a Thanksgiving feast. It is a fact that Turkey does contain the amino acid Tryptophan, which forms the basis of brain chemicals that make people tired, and is sometimes used in sleep-aid. However, turkey is not any more sleep-inducing than other foods. In similar amounts, tryptophan is also found in poultry and many other food products. According to experts, consuming large amounts of carbohydrates and alcohol could be the reason why people feel sleepy post a thanksgiving meal containing turkey.
Medical experts say that it is consuming carbohydrates, but not tryptophan that triggers the release of insulin, which removes most amino acids from the blood. In this lack of amino acids, tryptophan enters the brain and forms serotonin and ultimately melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. A 4-ounce portion turkey breast provides 350 to 390 milligrams of L-tryptophan, while the typical recommendations for tryptophan supplements as sleep-aid are 500 to 1,000 milligrams. Moreover, clinical research has shown mixed results with respect to tryptophan's effectiveness as a sleep aid, especially in normal patients.
To conclude, any big meal containing tryptophan and lots of carbohydrates can trigger sleep — not just turkey. In addition, on thanksgiving, there could be other contributing factors of tiredness, like alcohol consumption and the psychological feeling of vacation.