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General Knowledge

How do we feel sleepy after a heavy meal?

How do we feel sleepy after a heavy meal?

Normally everyone feels sleepy after having a heavy meal – don’t you? We become lethargic after food and if we lie down we often get a sound sleep. What is the reason behind it? There is a scientific explanation behind it.

An average adult has about five litres of blood which gets circulated to different parts of the body. The amount of blood circulation is different to different parts. At an average, 28% of the total blood output of heart is received by the Liver, 24% Kidneys, 15% by Muscles, 14% by Brain. Remaining 19% goes to different parts of the body. The quantity of course changes depending upon the requirement of the different body organs.

After having a meal, a large quantity of blood goes to the small intestine or say to our stomach. It requires more blood circulation for digestion. When more blood is allocated for digestion, it creates a deficiency of blood in the Brain. The Brain becomes less active then. Due to this reason, we feel sleepy. This is also known as Food Coma


Dr. Tomonori Kishino, a professor of health science at Japan’s Kyorin University says Blood flow to the small intestine “dramatically increases” after a person eats. Some of Kishino’s recent works found that, among people who skipped breakfast, one measure of cerebral blood flow plummeted after they ate lunch. “Skipping breakfast could therefore place a heavy burden on the body after lunch by causing greater changes in [blood flow]” he says. This could lead to sleepiness.

Read more on this in an article published at Time

Also read about Food Coma at GetDoc

Disclaimer: Information provided here are gathered from various sources and reproduced for public awareness. The reason for sleepiness can be due to other factors as well. Consult your doctor whenever necessary.

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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