Christmas Turkey makes you sleepy – Myth or Fact?

Eating Turkey makes you sleepy! Or does it? Where does this seasonal myth come from and is there any truth to it? 

 Turkey is a protein and it contains a fairly high amount of the Amino Acid called ‘Tryptophan.’ Tryptophan is an essential Amino Acid, not one your body makes. You have to consume it.


Key information to know about where this myth comes from is as follows, just two points to know. 

First Point: Tryptophan is used by your body to make Serotonin. Serotonin is part of what regulates your mood. 

Second Point: Our body makes Melotonin from Serotonin.  ​​Melotonin is the hormone that makes us sleepy.

So you can see the importance of consuming Tryptophan in your diet. If your Tryptophan levels are not good then your mood can be affected. Low serotonin levels are linked with depression and anxiety.



Melotonin and serotonin are vitally important for your sleep and relaxation levels or the ability to relax. ​This is where the half truth around Turkey making you sleepy comes from. 

Does that mean to eat lots of Turkey and you will feel both great and sleepy? Well, actually no, and actually in fact Tofu contains more Tryptophan than Turkey. 

Final note on this myth about Turkey making you sleepy:
It is true that eating Turkey gives you some Tryptophan.  It is also true that Tryptophan makes you feel relaxed and it is part of what makes Melotonin which is the sleepy hormone. 

However, eating Turkey in itself is unlikely to be the cause of falling asleep after your Turkey dinner!

It is far more likely to be simple, tiredness, overindulgence and excess carbohydrates which has the real sedating effect.


  A key point here with this article is that the cause of irritability, mood swings and insomnia can simply be linked to nutrition factors such as Tryptophan lacking or not being processed effectively by your body. 


If you are reading this and curious about how this information can help you either with your mood balance or with being tired all the time or difficulty sleeping then please contact me to help you.

If you are having issues with sleep then your Tryptophan and nutrition generally should be something to examine rather than immediately reaching for sleeping pills or anti anxiety medication as the only solution.

What I would do as a professional is seek for you to have a blood test. That blood test will tell us what is going on in your body with those essential nutrients that help you stay alert, sleep, keep calm, etc. Your Tryptophan levels will show in the blood test as well as your Serotonin levels.

It is a very good place to start getting real answers into the symptoms you have been experiencing. I work alongside medical doctors and nutritionists where necessary and would refer you where helpful. 

​Clarity Therapy contact information is below. 


Relevant links to read more about this topic: – This article explains all about Tryptophan, Serotonin & Melotonin – Medical Article about what is Tryptophan and what foods you get Tryptophan from. – UCLA professor article in ‘Psychology Today’ about the Turkey/Tryptophan myth. – This explains about protein and what essential and non essential amino acids are. – Top 10 foods high in Tryptophan – My blog article here on Costa Women about anxiety being attributed to diet. There are many links with this article at the end.  Clarity Therapy Facebook Page                   Clarity Therapy Website                                                                  Twitter Page                                          Pinterest