Food comas are the worst. You can't think straight, you can't sit calmly, and all you want to do is close your eyes and drift into the land of post-meal dreams. Although eating keeps us alive by giving us energy, digestion also demands energy and time from our bodies. Not all meals are digested in the same manner. In fact, you probably won't feel as sleepy after eating a salad as compared to a generous serving of ribeye steak.
Overeating can make you feel sleepy, too, thanks in no small part to the high levels of sucrose you've consumed. In this instance, your body reacts by producing insulin to cope with the spike in sucrose, but this eventually leads to an increase in serotonin and melatonin — both of which make you want to grab a pillow and doze off. Below, some quick ways to fight that dreadful food coma.
1. Coffee's your best friend
Coffee gets you started in the morning and can be equally useful in shaking off the onset of a food coma. However, we don't suggest drinking it after dinner as caffeine takes time to leave your system and could keep you up well past bedtime.
2. Eat in smaller portions
Sometimes, a little self-restraint goes a long way. It's one thing to take a nap at home after Sunday lunch, but another thing to drag yourself back to the office after a lunch break. Make your lunch-time portions smaller. Ideally, you should eat half of your lunch and let it digest before eating the other half two to three hours later. Big meals will simply make you feel drowsy. Reduce your food portions and you'll see your energy levels go up.
3. Stretch after a meal
Not right after the meal, of course. But if you're really up for it, go for it. Your overall shape and condition will influence how sleepy you will get after a meal. If you exercise regularly, enough oxygen will move through your body and keep you less heavy-eyed. Try walking or taking the stairs after a big meal in order to let some oxygen into your body.
4. Spruce yourself up
A quick trip to the powder room to touch up your makeup or brush your hair will help to keep your fatigue at bay. Putting your best face forward can in fact help you to feel more energised. Alternatively, you could smell roses or bouquets of fragrant blooms to make yourself feel oh-so-fresh.
5. Munch on dried dates
So you're having problems with digestion and we're encouraging you to eat more? Yes, you've read it right. Dried dates are filled with minerals and potassium, and are known for boosting energy levels quickly. Grab a handful of dates and start snacking on them as soon as you feel your energy levels going down.