(WTNH) — Thanksgiving is all about gobbling up the turkey, and then maybe taking a nap while watching a game on television. But is Turkey Tom’s tryptophan really to blame for the holiday food coma? Maybe not.
First, what is tryptophan? Tryptophan is an amino acid, which is a a building block of protein. As the New York Times reports, it’s also the first step to making melatonin which is the chemical that helps your brain regulate sleep.
Surprisingly, turkey doesn’t actually have a lot of tryptophan. Both Medical Daily and Live Science report cheese and soybean products have more than the average turkey. In fact, most meats – chicken, beef, and lamb – also have tryptophan.
But what can we blame for the after dinner snooze?
It looks like a combination of eating a large meal with a ton of carbohydrates, as well as plenty of hustle and bustle around the holidays.
Scientific American explains that all the extra carbs – potatoes, stuffing, pie, and even alcohol – can make us drowsy. Medical Daily also mentions the general stress of traveling, cooking, and hosting combined with all the extra food and drinks can make anyone want extra sleep.