So… do we get tired from Turkey or not??

thanksgiving-sleepythanksgiving-napFor many years, people have assumed that the culprit of the post-Thanksgiving drowsiness is the Tryptophan found in turkeys. Tryptophan is one of the 22 amino acids, and is necessary for healthy diets. But is this really the case? Surprisingly, as shown in the chart below, the level of tryptophan in turkeys is not considerably higher that the tryptophan content in other meats, such as pork or chicken.


The level of Tryptophan in turkeys is too insignificant to create drowsiness from purely the turkey, but consuming Tryptophan-containing protein along with carbohydrates makes Tryptophan more accessible to the brain. This releases insulin, which then clears other amino acids from the bloodstream and allows tryptophan to enter into the brain, where it creates a sedating effect throughout one’s body. Therefore, many people experience drowsiness following a filling thanksgiving meal because of the carbohydrates consumed along with the turkey, not solely because of the turkey itself.

“Dairy Nutrition.” Dairy Nutrition RSS. Dairy Nutrition, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. <;.


Now that you know the truth about Tryptophan, you can quit fearing that innocent turkey. Instead, you can spend your time reevaluating those chicken nuggets. Should they really be eaten for breakfast, or should you save them for a midnight snack?

Since you’re still here, I have something else for you to consider. Is this cartoon politically correct? Post your answer in the comments section below.2010-11-21-lola-lollipop-turkey-tryptophan-and-trust-happy-thanksgiving-comic-strip-131


Still curious about Tryptophan in turkeys? Here are some fun articles to check out:

Does the Tryptophan in your turkey really make you drowsy?

The Truth about Tryptophan

Pictures Cited:



“How Much Tryptophan Is In Turkey Vs. Other Meat?” Lean It UP RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013. <;.




  1. madisonschmidt

    WOW LAUREN I’m so informed and inspired now. I can’t believe it. I trust you so much (it must be the turkey)

  2. I think the comic is just a mother trying to serve a traditional dinner.

  3. This is a fabulous post! Great idea to include the graph of tryptophan in foods. I think it is really fun to include the cartoon and engage your audience by asking them to respond. I’m not sure I totally got the cartoon. I would love to hear your thoughts about what you think.

  4. bonnieeescottl

    Ooh, I LOVE it when people apply science to everyday concerns – thank you for bringing up the topic and explaining the findings so clearly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: