The traditional American Thanksgiving feast is a major highlight of the holiday season for families across the country, but all of the food and revelry can keep you from sleeping properly afterward.
The wonderful thing about Thanksgiving is seeing family and friends, and of course being thankful for the things and people we have in our lives. The feast is the centerpiece of the day, and every year, we hear news reports about how many millions of pound of turkey and potatoes were feasted upon, but we don’t hear about the sleepless nights that resulted from the culinary blowout.”
When the meal is served, what’s on the menu, and what participants do after the feast will help determine whether they’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep on Thanksgiving night.
Here are some tips to ensure you’re well-rested while being thankful:
- If you’re going to have a huge feast, eat in the early afternoon, not in the evening. Give your digestive system a chance to work on a big meal well ahead of bedtime. Going to bed on a full stomach is uncomfortable and can interrupt normal sleep patterns.
- If you have your big chow-down at midday, you can still have a modest late-night snack, but skip the turkey leg. Close to bedtime, it’s best to avoid proteins like meat in favor of dairy and carbohydrates, such as milk and cereal or crackers.
- Other things to avoid close to bedtime: caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages.
- Turkey, the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals, is famous for causing tryptophan-induced sleepiness. While this is largely a myth, a large meal can make you want to rest for a while. If you take a nap after the big feast, try to limit your snooze to no longer than about 30 minutes. Shorter naps lead to less grogginess and are less likely to interfere with your regular sleep that night. And try to take your nap no later than 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
For more tips to help you sleep better, use the search function on SleepBetter.org to find answers to your specific questions. If you can’t find an answer, feel free to contact us.