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Why You Feel Tired After Eating & What To Do About It

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Postprandial somnolence (aka feeling tired after eating) can have a few different causes, according to Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, INHC, a registered dietitian and author of The Little Book of Game Changers.

She explains that the composition and size of your meals might play a role by altering blood sugar levels and certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, which regulates sleep. Other factors might also have an impact, including how much sleep and physical activity you’re getting each day. 

While it’s pretty normal to feel a little tired after eating from time to time, it’s probably a good idea to check in with a doctor if you’re feeling drained on a daily basis. Functional medicine consultant and weight management expert Emily Doctor, DNP, FNP-BC points out that fatigue can be a sign of many other serious health issues, including autoimmune conditions, thyroid problems, iron deficiency, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

Doctor also explains that a condition called reactive hypoglycemia could also cause low blood sugar levels1 2-5 hours after eating, resulting in fatigue, sweating, and shakiness.

“As always, make sure to advocate for yourself if you feel like you might have any of these medical conditions,” says Doctor. A healthcare professional can rule out any underlying conditions and may even suggest other steps you can take to boost your energy levels.

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