Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating?

It’s fairly usual to feel weary after eating, and it happens more frequently after lunchtime. Is this typical? Yes.

Feeling weary all of the time after a meal, on the other hand, could indicate an underlying health problem.

The good news is that there are easy things we can do to avoid feeling tired after a meal. 
So, if you’ve been wondering why you’re often fatigued after eating, you’ll learn the most common causes and efficient techniques to avoid it in the future.

Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating?

There are several reasons why you may feel tired after eating. But it may be concerning if it always happens and starts to affect your everyday life. Below are the main reasons why you may feel tired just after taking a meal.

1. You Eat Big Meals

If you’ve ever felt like you’re about to fall asleep after lunch, it’s most likely due to the amount of food you consumed.

This phenomenon has a simple explanation: it takes a lot of energy to digest the things you eat. As a result, the larger the meal, the more likely you are to feel tired afterward.

2. It’s a Natural Part of the Digestion Process

A complete meal takes our gut roughly 2 hours to digest. [1] As a result, you’ll frequently feel drowsy after eating. This is especially true after lunch because we frequently return to work or resume our obligations shortly afterward.

Aside from that, the quality of the food you consume has an impact on how much energy you have after a meal.

3. You Eat Too Much Over-Processed Food

Foods heavy in saturated fat, simple carbohydrates, and artificial tastes (such as junk food) provide poor nourishment and overload your body with calories.

Aside from the time it takes to digest, the large levels of carbs and lipids cause your blood sugar to fluctuate, causing continuous spikes. This is what leads to the frequent energy crashes that occur throughout the afternoon.

4. You Eat Foods That Are Rich in Protein and Carbs

Warning: this article contains spoilers. Each day, you should consume adequate protein and carbohydrates.

Don’t believe you need to consume less protein or cut carbs out of your diet. In fact, these will help you stay healthy by preventing frequent cravings throughout the day. It’s worth noting, though, that certain foods can make you tired after a meal.

Tryptophan levels are higher in protein-rich meals such salmon, chicken, dairy products, soy, eggs, and seeds. It’s also found in carb-heavy foods like pasta, rice,

white bread and crackers, and processed pastries.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin, a hormone that promotes relaxation. Some scientists found that people feel tired after eating because their body is producing more serotonin.[2]

5. You May Be Having Blood Sugar Spikes

While it’s natural for blood sugar levels to increase and fall, harmful sugar spikes might result in the dreaded energy crash.

This occurs when your blood sugar levels suddenly rise, forcing your body to store them, leaving you with a dangerously low sugar level that makes you crave more sweet meals. It’s a vicious cycle you don’t want to get caught up in.

6. You Skip Meals

It’s also fairly typical to feel sleepy after eating if you don’t eat enough during the day or even miss meals. We don’t often know how low our energy levels are until we miss a meal. 
According to studies, not eating at regular intervals (a.k.a. starvation) causes you to feel weary, have less energy, and have the desire to overeat at your next meal. You’re drowsy as a result of your hunger and your large lunch. [3

7. You Consume Stimulants Like Caffeine

There is nothing wrong with starting your day with your favorite cup of coffee. Coffee is one of those foods that can help us stay alert during the day. But overdoing the coffee mugs can cause the opposite effect and make you feel sleepy.

Why do you feel tired after eating or taking caffeine? Simple: Too much caffeine will eventually make the energy-boosting effect wear off. This happens especially during your next coffee break in the afternoon or after lunchtime.[4]

8. You Lack Exercise

This may not appear to have anything to do with being drowsy, but it does. Your body lacks the energy it requires to work efficiently and keep you alert when you are not physically active.

Another reason to include workouts in your weekly program is to prevent injury. You will become more weary and irritable if you do not exercise.

9. You Have Poor Sleeping Patterns

Another reason you may feel sleepy after eating is if you are not getting enough sleep. If you think about it, our bodies require adequate rest in order to function properly and provide us with sufficient energy.

As a result, not getting enough sleep the night before makes you need more food the next day and makes you weary in the afternoon.

10. You Drank Alcohol

Despite the fact that alcohol is not one of the primary causes of fatigue after eating, you should examine your drinking habits.

This means that drinking alcohol with your meals or the night before can cause you to feel tired. Alcohol is a sedative and can deplete your energy, according to Harvard scientists. [5]

Other Health Problems

There may be other underlying health issues related to feeling tired after eating. Excess tiredness after eating could be a symptom of the following health problems:


Diabetic patients could struggle with feeling tired after eating due to unusual blood sugar levels. When it’s too low or too high, there could be dizziness, less energy, and increased fatigue.


Anemia is a condition that occurs when your body lacks specific nutrients, such as iron, folate, and vitamin B-12. This happens when your body’s red blood cell count is too low. Feeling incredibly weary and dizzy is one of the most common symptoms.

Food Intolerance or Allergies

That extra tiredness could be an indication of a food allergy or intolerance if you didn’t know. Digestion problems, such as diarrhea and vomiting, aren’t usually an indication of allergies.

Food intolerances can appear in a variety of ways. As a result, it’s always a good idea to double-check any diagnosis with your local doctor.

Thyroid Problems

People who also have hormonal imbalance related to their thyroid show excess sleepiness or sleep disturbances. This is on top of weight loss, irregular bowel movements, and even muscle weakness. [6]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a very uncommon disorder in which you have difficulty breathing while sleeping. You may feel wearier the next day as a result of the continual sleep disturbance.

Sleep apnea can be caused by a variety of conditions, but the most common are obesity and high blood pressure. [7]

Celiac Disease

Another reason you might be weary more than normal is if you’re gluten intolerant, especially after eating. This occurs as a result of your body’s inability to absorb gluten-containing foods.

As a result, you absorb fewer nutrients and your stomach is irritated all of the time. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of this illness.


  1. Healthline: How Long Does Food Stay in Your Stomach?

2. NCBI: Physiology, Serotonin

3. NCBI: The impact of meal timing on performance, sleepiness, gastric upset, and hunger during a simulated night shift

4. Medical News Today: Why does coffee make me tired?

5. Harvard Health Publishing: Alcohol and fatigue

6. WebMD: Depression, the Thyroid, and Hormones

7. Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea

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