Myth Check: The Turkey Coma

4 years 3 months 5 days ago November 21, 2012 Nov 21, 2012 Wednesday, November 21 2012 Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:12:00 PM CST 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
COLUMBIA- Local dog boarding facilities are amping up their luxury of care for your pet. Several big city boarding... More >>
3 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:23:11 AM CST in News
HOUSE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say they've arrested a suspect in connection with a weekend shooting death south of... More >>
5 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 9:37:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Residents of older homes in Columbia could be eligible for free water testing for lead. The My... More >>
6 hours ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 8:58:00 AM CST in News
LACLEDE COUNTY — A man accused of assaulting and sexually abusing his 5-month-old daughter nearly eight years ago finally has... More >>
16 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 11:02:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — United Airlines flight schedules posted to its website Saturday night showed two new flights out of Columbia Regional... More >>
17 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 9:48:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., announced Saturday that his local office space will be relocated from its current... More >>
18 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 9:11:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — This weekend Missourians came together to give the Loos family a home makeover. Rhyan Loos, 7, was... More >>
19 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 7:21:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — There is a significant "values gap" between employers and the millennials who work for them, according to a... More >>
20 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 7:05:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Boone County experienced at least a dozen fires Feb. 18, a number that did not surprise fire officials.... More >>
22 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 5:00:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY — People from all over mid-Missouri gathered at the Miller Performing Arts Center Saturday to listen to local... More >>
23 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 4:00:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY — A crash involving an anhydrous ammonia trailer killed one person in Jefferson City Saturday morning. According... More >>
23 hours ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 3:44:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Representatives from two East Campus housing associations spoke at the Unified Development Code public forum Saturday and found... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 1:36:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Hundreds of mid-Missourians attended the 6th Annual Fitness for a Cure event Saturday, an event that benefitted the... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 12:01:00 PM CST in News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — A woman has been accused of stabbing a worker at a General Motors plant near St.... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 10:27:08 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — It could soon be legal for travelers to take their booze from the bar to their... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 10:04:05 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA — It all started with a Madden tournament. Columbia College's new president at the time, Scott Dalrymple, challenged students... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 8:39:00 AM CST in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — The Camden County Sheriff's Department has issued a Missing Endangered Person Report for Chad Hawk. Hawk was... More >>
1 day ago February 25, 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 4:41:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA — The Boone County Sheriff's Department has noticed a decrease in the number of concealed carry permit applications and... More >>
1 day ago February 24, 2017 Feb 24, 2017 Friday, February 24 2017 Friday, February 24, 2017 10:03:00 PM CST in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 48°
4pm 47°
5pm 46°
6pm 44°
7pm 41°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
PGA Tour Golf
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
2:00p
The Bad News Bears
4:00p
My Girl
6:00p
Alfie

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Dateline NBC
8:00p
Neighbors
6:00p
Alfie
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld