What you eat and how you sleep go hand in hand. Certain foods and beverages will perk you up (hi, coffee!), while others will send you scrambling to find the nearest nap spot. And it’s not just huge meals and fast food grub that can cause you to nod off midday: Seemingly healthy foods can make you drowsy, too. If you’ve been feeling exceptionally tired after meals lately, you may want to consider limiting these five foods during the day.
Cherries: The fruit is naturally high in the hormone melatonin, which controls your sleep and wake cycles. The extra dose of melatonin can send a signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep, so save cherries (as well as tart cherry juice, which also has high amounts of melatonin) for an after-dinner snack instead of munching on them midday.
Bread: Carbs cause your blood glucose levels to jump quickly (that’s why you get a sudden burst of energy). But when these glucose levels start to drop back down, you’ll likely experience an energy crash that will leave you ready for a nap. Processed carbs (like white bread) are especially problematic, while whole grain breads are less likely to leave you feeling sluggish.
Dark Chocolate: Sorry, this is bad news for those with a sweet tooth. Even though dark chocolate has caffeine in it, it also contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you relax. Interestingly, milk chocolate doesn’t contain serotonin and can actually make you feel more awake.
Turkey: There’s a reason that you feel like hitting the hay after Thanksgiving dinner: Lean proteins like turkey, fish, chicken, and low-fat cheese are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that increases serotonin levels.
Bananas: Potassium and magnesium in bananas are to blame for the sleepy feeling. They help relax your muscles and send you off to dreamland. Instead, reach for an orange because its citrus scent can be energizing.