Myth Check: The Turkey Coma

7 years 2 months 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
JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday moved to enact strict penalties for people caught with the highly lethal... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:08:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
MID-MISSOURI - A multi-day storm system is on its way to Missouri and could lead to icy roads and snow... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 7:32:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - Fewer families came out to the Food Bank's Mobile Pantry to pick up free groceries. "The line... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 6:37:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - For some businesses, winter weather brings a new type of precipitation. James Magley, an employee for Voss Land... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 6:33:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - In January 2019, the Columbia City Council decided rate payers would collectively pay around $1 million more in... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 6:08:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Police Department was called early Wednesday morning to a report of an unknown person... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 4:25:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media say the city of Wuhan is shutting down outbound flights and trains as the... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 2:21:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Alex Gordon to a $4 million contract for next... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 2:18:51 PM CST January 22, 2020 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri is testing a new way to monitor student class attendance. Spotter was released... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 2:12:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
ASHLAND - Ashland Police Officer George Roberson was recognized at last night's Ashland Board of Alderman meeting for his actions... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 2:03:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council voted 5-1 to allow Raising Cane's the conditional-use permit necessary to build a... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 1:29:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A week after the Supreme Court of Missouri upheld that part of the voter ID law which... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 1:13:00 PM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Winter weather causes many problems, and people get antsy when driving and walking conditions become dangerous. Many... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 9:59:00 AM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — The weather fatigue is making its way here in mid-Missouri, impacting businesses and everyday people. Mackenzie Knierim,... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 9:44:00 AM CST January 22, 2020 in News
Authorities say a suspected drunken driver who was behind the wheel of a stolen Arkansas sport utility vehicle has... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:01:39 AM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One youth organization is looking to make big strides this upcoming year to stop climate change. The... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, January 22 2020 Jan 22, 2020 Wednesday, January 22, 2020 3:22:00 AM CST January 22, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA—Lucky's Market in Columbia will remain open, while the two other Missouri stores, and others across the country will... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 21 2020 Jan 21, 2020 Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:19:00 PM CST January 21, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Memory Strategies is hosting a STEM workshop for parents and teens at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 21 2020 Jan 21, 2020 Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:02:00 PM CST January 21, 2020 in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
1am 34°
2am 34°
3am 34°
4am 34°