Myth Check: The Turkey Coma

3 years 8 months 4 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

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
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — The reward for information in the July 2013 stabbing death of an Independence man has grown to... More >>
39 minutes ago July 27, 2016 Jul 27, 2016 Wednesday, July 27 2016 Wednesday, July 27, 2016 7:47:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia hosted a Central Neighborhood follow-up meeting Tuesday evening as a part of its Strategic... More >>
1 hour ago July 27, 2016 Jul 27, 2016 Wednesday, July 27 2016 Wednesday, July 27, 2016 7:21:00 AM CDT in News
CHILLICOTHE (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered flags to fly at half-staff in a northern Missouri county to remember... More >>
1 hour ago July 27, 2016 Jul 27, 2016 Wednesday, July 27 2016 Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:51:13 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — St. Louis County prosecutors are seeking to increase the bond for a man accused of shooting a... More >>
4 hours ago July 27, 2016 Jul 27, 2016 Wednesday, July 27 2016 Wednesday, July 27, 2016 4:23:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - After nearly two months of construction on the Business Loop exit off of I-70, the ramp is set... More >>
5 hours ago July 27, 2016 Jul 27, 2016 Wednesday, July 27 2016 Wednesday, July 27, 2016 2:41:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A man accused of sexual abuse in a pending civil lawsuit is suing Missouri Republican gubernatorial... More >>
12 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 7:48:43 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police have a new truck — an ice cream truck. Police on... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:16:23 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A southwest Missouri church whose members are from Micronesia says six of its members have been... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:11:49 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — The Municipal League of Metropolitan St. Louis has filed suit challenging a requirement that the region's cities... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:09:39 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Opponents of a cigarette tax hike that would benefit early childhood programs have filed two new... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:06:13 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis has its first-ever chief resilience officer, a position created to help the city prepare... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:02:50 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri delegates to the Democratic National Convention got a surprise visit from Vermont Sen.... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:00:00 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY- Callaway County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 27-year-old Courtney Hutchason and referenced a vehicle theft. On July 4,... More >>
14 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 5:50:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon issued a statement regarding the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling, upholding his veto of a... More >>
15 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 5:20:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A former bank vice president was sentenced Tuesday afternoon for leading a $4.1 million conspiracy to defraud the... More >>
15 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 4:49:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Weathertech Restoration, LLC and its owner, Eric Kroesen, agreed to settlement Monday after taking upfront payments for... More >>
15 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 4:30:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jon Patrick Washington was sentenced five years in federal prison without parole for injecting heroin into a... More >>
16 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 4:05:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Senate hopeful Jason Kander made a stop at Logboat Brewing Co. on the second day of his 50-stop... More >>
17 hours ago July 26, 2016 Jul 26, 2016 Tuesday, July 26 2016 Tuesday, July 26, 2016 3:26:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
9am 77°
10am 80°
11am 82°
12pm 83°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Crazy Talk

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
8:00p
The Night Shift
9:00p
NBC News Special: 2016 Democratic National Convention
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld