Myth Check: The Turkey Coma

5 years 1 day 12 hours ago Wednesday, November 21 2012 Nov 21, 2012 Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:12:00 PM CST November 21, 2012 in News
By: Peter Terpstra
loading

COLUMBIA - It's something many Americans deal with every Thanksgiving.

Most start celebrating their turkey days at the dinner table, but finish the meal with a tugging sleepiness exerted either on the couch or another comfortable spot to nap.

KOMU 8 investigated whether the "turkey coma" really exists. Many Americans think the chemical tryptophan found in turkey makes people sleepy after indulging in the big bird.

The simple answer is "no." Tryptophan is not the guilty party leaving stuffed families napping after their Thanksgiving meals.

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in Turkey. According to Ellen Schuster, an University of Missouri nutritionist, The amino acid helps make serotonin: a chemical which triggers relaxation in the body. Serotonin helps make the hormone melatonin which helps control people's sleeping and waking cycles.

Many people think tryptophan's interaction with serotonin and melatonin triggers those after-feasts naps. For tryptophan to make people sleepy, they must have the amino acid by itself, in a higher dose than found in turkey and on an empty stomach.

Because Turkey is a protein, tryptophan is combined with other amino acids; therefore, negating the sleepy effect.

So what really makes people sleepy after eating a Thanksgiving meal?

Alcohol: If your feast includes alcoholic beverages, then you could be sleepy from the effects of ingesting alcohol.

Relaxation: Many people spend the holidays relaxing off from work. With a lower stress level, people tend to sleep better.

Digestion: When digesting a large meal, the body's circulation sends blood to the digestive system to help break down the food. These leaves less oxygen for the rest of the body. Less oxygen in the body means a tired feeling in the muscles; a feeling of exhaustion.

 

More News

Grid
List
MEXICO - A 34-year-old man died Thursday morning after he crashed his vehicle. Omar Guadencio Cruz-Martinez, of Mexico, Missouri,... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 12:47:42 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff's Department confirmed a pedestrian died after being struck by a car on Wednesday... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 12:19:00 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - There are school choirs, church choirs, and mixed choirs, but now there is the opportunity to join a... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 11:57:00 AM CST November 23, 2017 in News
BOONVILLE - The breeding home of the Budweiser Clydesdales, Warm Springs Ranch, is hosting its inaugural Holiday Lights Festival starting... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 10:39:00 AM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLE COUNTY - The Cole County Sheriff's Department said it is investigating a shooting that happened Wednesday night. ... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:58:20 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri basketball star Michael Porter Jr. is recovering after undergoing surgery in Dallas Tuesday. MU said he will... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:34:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
BARNETT, Mo - A Morgan County detective is apologizing after shooting and killing a family's dog. He was attempting... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:35:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - On Wednesday, Columbia police released photos of an October armed robbery at Dash Liquor. On October 29,... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:01:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Highway Patrol is joining the fight against opioids. The drug has caused a nationwide crisis,... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:27:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man involved in a deadly shooting in May has been indicted by a federal grand jury... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:04:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – With Thanksgiving comes a lot more traffic on the roads. In fact, according to AAA there will... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 2:14:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley sent a letter to Uber on Wednesday demanding the rideshare take immediate... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 1:51:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to postpone a preliminary plat for Columbia Public Schools’ new middle school... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:03:00 AM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boone County judge approved a change of venue request for a man accused in a deadly October... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 10:56:00 AM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Prosecutor's Office filed more charges Wednesday against a man arrested for two robberies in October.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 8:47:00 AM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Whether it is by car, plane or train, many people will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 2:36:00 AM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A three-car crash temporarily shut down one of the northbound lanes of Range Line St. around 6:00 Tuesday... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 21 2017 Nov 21, 2017 Tuesday, November 21, 2017 7:00:00 PM CST November 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The American Farm Bureau Federation conducted a survey on 16 food items from 25 states across the country... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 21 2017 Nov 21, 2017 Tuesday, November 21, 2017 6:19:00 PM CST November 21, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 57°
4pm 53°
5pm 51°
6pm 48°
7pm 45°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00p
Dr. Phil
4:00p
Jeopardy!
4:30p
Jeopardy!
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show
4:00p
The Goldbergs
4:30p
The Goldbergs

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football Thanksgiving Special
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Arrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld