16 Foods That Make You Sleepy

You just finished a big meal and the couch is calling to you—a post-dinner nap is just what you need.

You just finished a big meal and the couch is calling to you—a post-dinner nap is just what you need. You might think your post-dinner food coma is from eating too much, but it could be what you ate that’s making you sleepy. That’s because some foods contain naturally occurring substances that bring on feelings of tiredness. While many know of Thanksgiving turkey being the most notorious culprit, here we settle the turkey myth and reveal which of your favorite foods could be sending you to bed a little quicker.

Elk

Elk sandwich, anyone? You’ve heard that turkey makes you sleepy—and since it contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that clinical nutritionist Stella Metsovas says helps make sleep promoters serotonin and melatonin, it could. But elk, with 746 milligrams, has significantly more tryptophan than the 407 milligrams found in the breast meat of turkey. This means you’re much more likely to nod off after eating this game meat, especially with a side of carbohydrates. The carbs help the tryptophan reach the brain, where it helps boost serotonin levels, Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, told WebMD.com.

foods that fight sun damage, cherriesiStock/ThinkstockCherry juice

A glass of cherry juice could make you fall asleep faster, according to researchers from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester. They found that cherries, particularly tart cherries, naturally boost levels of melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles. Cherry juice drinkers experienced some improvement in their insomnia symptoms compared to those who drank a placebo beverage, the study found.

Next: More sleepy foods

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