General Question

JackAdams's avatar

What is it about the contents of a "typical" Thanksgiving dinner (with all the trimmings) that makes you want to lie down on the couch and sleep through your favorite college football game?

Asked by JackAdams (6492points) August 21st, 2008

No matter how much or how little of the turkey and dressing I eat, my “next stop” after pushing myself away from the dinner table, is either my bed or the living room couch (regardless whose home I am in), where I pass out (for “the duration”) and the next thing I hear is someone waking me with, “It’s Friday night! We need to go home now!”

If I could just “narrow down” what it is that is causing me to get sleepy, I just might avoid it, next time, and if anyone tells me it is the turkey itself, I am going to leap out of my ground-floor window!

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14 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

I read the “Turkey meat and drowsiness” section. After my doctor translates it into English for me, I’ll be able to understand it.

Thanks for the link!

wundayatta's avatar

Tryptofan. It makes you sleep. There’s a lot of it in turkey.

poofandmook's avatar

@daloon: According to my link, it actually says that it’s more the carbs than the tryptophan, which is the same amount in turkey as other meats for the most part.

syz's avatar

Tryptophan is the commonly accused culprit, but I think mostly it’s the overeating. Gluttony will get you every time.

gailcalled's avatar

How about the booze and the relatives? Or dinner at 4:30?

Parse this:” The fluorescence of a folded protein is a mixture of the fluorescence from individual aromatic residues. Most of the intrinsic fluorescence emissions of a folded protein are due to excitation of tryptophan residues, with some emissions due to tyrosine and phenylalanine; note! di-sulfide bond also has appreciable absorption in this wavelength range.”

syz's avatar

Cool! Wavelengths in my guts! (I know, I know, not really, I was just being a smart ass)

shilolo's avatar

@Gail. You want a lay explanation for that? The scientific discussion of amino acid fluorescence is so out of place in that Wikipedia article it makes my head spin. All that section is saying (which is irrelevant to the falsehood that tryptophan causes sleepiness), is that some amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) have more fluorescence when exposed to light than others.

gailcalled's avatar

@Shi: I was hoping for a joke when I saw that you were typing.

shilolo's avatar

@Gail. So sorry to disappoint. Here’s Snopes on the tryptophan myth, and for a (less reputable website), check out emedicine’s take on turkey and sleepiness.

gailcalled's avatar

Aha! Booze and carbs (and Uncle Artie.)

gailcalled's avatar

There is also the odd rituals of holidays that disrupt our normal routines or rhythms.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, I stand corrected about tryptophan. Apparantly it can make you sleepy, but only on an empty stomach. However it seems that the research is inconclusive about the rest of the meal being responsible for sleepiness. I might be. But maybe not. Booze and carbs are definite culprits, but it seems the evidence is not yet conclusive.

Which means I don’t know. Ack!

gailcalled's avatar

@Jack; Try being responsible for the bulk of the meal and a house full of guests. I promise that you will not get sleepy (or watch football.) After 40 years of cooking a turkey, I still can’t get the timing right or the white and dark meat to be both juicy.

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