Over the years many people have told us that after a meal they feel like they could easily lie down and take a nap.
This is not normal behavior, but it is fairly common and we can totally relate because it’s happened to many of us at the IBS Treatment Center as well.
This can happen to anyone of any age, including kids as well as adults. What we have discovered is that often there is a link between the what you eat and whether or not you feel tired after you eat. But you may be surprised to learn that it’s not about the size of the meal or the tryptophan content of the meal, as suggested around Thanksgiving time.
What makes people tired after they eat?
It’s the same thing that makes you tired when you have the flu or are fighting an infection. It’s at these times that your immune system is going after the bad guys. This process requires a significant amount of energy and resources. And thus you get tired and need lots of sleep in order to recover from the ordeal.
The exact same thing can happen with food. When you have an allergy to a food, then you produce antibodies against that food. Those antibodies are produced by your immune system, and they are the same types of antibodies that your immune system produces when you are fighting a cold or a flu bug.
The difference is that with a food allergy you are fighting the food.
This is definitely true for gluten intolerance, which involves a major immune reaction. In such cases the food is acting as far more than nutrition. Your body is seeing it as a foreign invader, as something that your immune system must address.
This is not normal or healthy behavior when it comes to food.
We do not normally produce antibodies of any kind against food. Food should just be food. When we eat things that our body can thrive on, then we don’t have any continuous immune system interaction with our food.
However, in the case of food allergies, as your body tries to fight off and deal with the offending food, you get worn out. Therefore a nap after you eat sounds like a really good thing.
Food allergies can also increase your need for sleep at night.
It’s not unusual for people with food allergies to need more sleep than other people, often sleeping much longer on weekends than everyone else. Often they still feel very sluggish even after a long sleep. And ironically they also often have trouble getting a good nights rest.
If this happens to you, or if your kids seem fatigued or stuck in a malaise, then there must be a reason.
Often that reason is an allergy to one or more common foods, such as dairy, egg, or gluten. However, each person is different, and literally any food can be an allergen and has the potential to have this affect on someone.
Proper testing for food allergies can help you to assess this problem and will get you on the road to having much more energy and getting a lot more out of your day. Please email the IBS Treatment Center for more information about food allergy testing and how it can help you.
Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.