Basics

Sleeping After Eating

Sleeping After Eating: A Recipe for Disaster

It is fairly normal for everyone to feel a little drowsy after a heavy and full meal. This is our body’s normal response as the blood tends to accumulate in the stomach to help in the absorption of the newly digested food leaving the rest of the body with less energy thus making you feel sleepy. This feeling, however, is temporary and will go away after a few minutes, and then you will have a renewed level of energy to take on new activities again.

There are also cases where the feeling of sleepiness tends to be more severe than the usual ones making it hard to drive or operate machinery after a meal due to the possibility of uncontrolled sleep that could lead to accidents. These are serious conditions that may have underlying medical reasons of it being so. If this is your case, then a visit to your physician would be the best idea to check on what is really wrong with your experience.

Feeling sleepy after eating breakfast or lunch is not a serious case as we tend to glide along our normal activities after an hour or so. The problem lies when you feel sleepy after having a full dinner. The temptation to lie down is just so severe that more often than not, people tend to give in every time. It is said that ideally you should wait for at least an hour or two before lying in bed after a full meal to enable normal digestion of food to continue properly. Some suggest mild or slow walking after a full meal to help the digestion process by burning excess carbohydrates. This is probably the reason why there is a need to have a “siesta time” after eating for us to give our body time to function normally.

But knowing these facts and actually doing them is difficult. You can perhaps get away with doing it once or twice, but the risks will always be there. Here are the medical reasons why you shouldn’t sleep after eating:

●      Gastro-esophageal reflux – regurgitating the food you have already eaten is never a pretty sight. It is always a health risk even if you are awake, but the risks double while you are asleep. The common sign that you are suffering from this disorder is a severe burning pain in their chest and throat. Getting yourself in a lying position with your stomach full will enable the excess contents of your stomach to come back up into the throat and mouth area. Remember, the stomach is very acidic, and the food particles that have already reached the stomach are already acidified. Making them come back up gives the chance for the acid to reach your throat and mouth thereby giving the painful and burning sensation. If this happens quite frequently, then only surgery could deal with it. Surely you do not want to go under the knife just because you sleep after eating. So you might as well do away with these actions.

●      Snoring – heavy snoring at night could be a result of sleeping after eating a full and heavy meal. There could be pressure on the diaphragm as a result of a bloated stomach leading to excessive snoring.  It could significantly decrease the air supply to the body. Lack of air could lessen the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and the entire body in general. When this happens, adrenaline kicks in and the heart starts pumping faster just to compensate for the need of oxygen. This would eventually lead to stroke or brain damage.

●      Diabetes mellitus – Yes, sleeping after eating may potentially be one of the reasons for this widespread medical condition. After eating, the insulin level of the body virtually goes into overdrive as it tries to absorb all the sugars that are products of the digestion. When people sleep right away, it will disrupt the glucose delivery of the body, and it will end up staying undissolved in the blood thereby increasing sugar levels.

Common sense will tell you that sleeping after eating is generally a bad idea. The old red guy in your head with a tail and fork might tempt you to sleep right after a full meal, but it is still your call to give in or to do otherwise. Whatever the sensible choice is, I hope you’ll understand it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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