sleepy after eating ?: Maybe a strange question... - Thyroid UK

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sleepy after eating ?


Maybe a strange question, but Just asking if anyone else here has this as it is becoming quite an issue with me and I'm wondering if it is thyroid connected? It happens to me after any food - boiled egg and gluten free bread for example - but worse the larger the meal. I'm vegetarian and gluten free if that is relevant. Quite a disturbance to daily life actually, but if it is thyroid related would be useful to know.. Thanks. j

32 Replies

This can happen if you're intolerant to something in what you're eating. Try keeping a food diary for a few weeks, to see if there's a link after certain foods.

Try to avoid sugar and caffeine while you do this.

jib70 in reply to Cooper27

Thanks Cooper. My food is varied though, boiled egg, stir fry, baked veg. Wondering if it was a digestion thing?

Cooper27 in reply to jib70

It could be digestion related, but i'd still think a food diary would help. Just looking for trend, compare ingredients. I get a bit funny after eating lentils/legumes, but it could be grains (sweetcorn, rice, quinoa), nightshades (potatoes, peppers, aubergines) are common between a lot of your meals, or that sugar/caffeine are affecting you.

Food intolerance symptoms can last 3 days as well.

I'd back off the carbs & starches, inc. the gluten free breads, etc.

jib70 in reply to Londinium

Appreciate your help Londinium. Thanks for your reply. I eat maybe one slice of gluten free bread a week and have very simple veggie meals like stir fry & rice. Would that cause the sleepiness? I'd like to relate it to something especially as it is happening so much more now. I'm not on any thyroid meds, but just started B and vitD supplements and awaiting an endo appointment if that helps.

Londinium in reply to jib70

Carbs & starches e.g. bread, rice, spuds, crackers, biscuits, cakes, wheat, corn, maize, polenta, popcorn, tortilla chips, naan, popadoms, sugars, dried fruits, etc.

This film will give you some ideas:-

This may/not be the full version; otherwise, it's on Netflix.

I used to have a bowl of homemade soup and a couple of slices of GF bread for lunch and it was guaranteed that I would want to go into a very deep nap shortly after and would be really sluggish.

Knocked off eating the bread because I wanted to follow a high fat/low(er) carb diet and BINGO no nodding off after lunch.

I tend to eat soup and half and avocado for lunch now, in other words upped my healthy fats and I feel so much better....and started losing weight and excess body fat as a bonus, so I'm quite happy with that. :)

jib70 in reply to spongecat

Thanks spongecat. Do you think this was a gradual reaction to carbs you had, or did they always have this effect ? Has to be an individual thing I suppose or everybody would be dozing off after breakfast toast :)

spongecat in reply to jib70

I used to be fine. I used to have GF porridge for breakfast with a protein shake mixed in...absolutely fine in the morning but the toast at lunchtime just seemed to tip me over the edge to feeling really sleepy.

Back in my twenties I went veggie and would be knocked out by meals with beans and brown rice. I think I was going back to subclinical hypo after being a bit hyper in my teens. More recently I went through a period when a meal of sardines, salad and raw veggies would have me drifting off, and I couldn't decide whether TSH > 2; sleep apnoea; or a calcium channel blocker were principally to blame. For some of the science, see:

jib70 in reply to SmallBlueThing

Thanks, I've found all the replies so interesting. Going to try the food diary that Cooper above suggests, see if I can get to the bottom of it. Always good to hear of other people's experiences.


jib70, I would be looking at your thyroid hormone levels to see if that might be the cause. This extreme tiredness after eating can happen with both too little and too much thyroid hormone.

jib70 in reply to RedApple

Thank you RedApple. I wondered whether it was connected {why I asked here:)} I really don't think I was like this all my life. :( j

RedAppleAdministrator in reply to jib70

I see in a previous recent post you mentioned you'd lost 2 stone in weight. That might suggest excess thyroid hormone. Delving a bit more and I see you previously wrote this:

Gp did tests early August -

TSH 0.076 (0.27-420) -- Comments "Suppressed but normal"......

Free T4 14.2 (12.00 - 22.00)

HypERthyroidism presumably ruled out then, due to 'normal' FT4.

BUT what about FT3? That should have been measured!

You might be producing an excess of T3, which could easily account for the suppressed TSH, and the extreme tiredness after eating.

Digesting food consumes a lot of energy, some more than others, and it's such a common phenomenon that if you've ever attended a conference, you'll know that the after lunch speaker will generally bewail the fact that the audience is going to nod off instead of listening to them. Add this to the amount of insulin produced after certain meals, which can trigger our 'happy' and 'sleep' hormones..... Excessive secretion of insulin causes the essential amino acid tryptophan to move into the brain, triggering increased serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters that have both a calming and sleep effect (c90 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the gut). Turkey and other high protein foods such as spinach, soy, eggs, cheese, tofu and fish contain higher levels of tryptophan. Then of course, food allergies and intolerances are associated with post-prandial lethargy.

RedAppleAdministrator in reply to MaisieGray

I get the impression that jib70's extreme tiredness is much worse than the classic 'nodding off' that we all know about. It's not just being pleasantly sleepy after a big Sunday Roast :) I've experienced what I think she is describing, and it happens after even a light lunch. For me it was due to excess thyroid hormone.

MaisieGray in reply to RedApple

Yes, I too have experienced it in my earlier years of being hypothyroid although not in recent years. I wasn't intending to downplay the OP's experience in anyway, simply offering a broader picture of the possible causes in much the same way as we don't suspect a headache is a brain tumour until everything is considered.

jib70 in reply to RedApple

Thanks RedApple. I certainly sounds as if it is probably thyroid related. I had hoped that by getting my vitamins up to scratch and going GF symptoms would lessen, so a bit frustrating that this one seems worse :( . I do find it reassuring to hear others had/have the same though.

Sabine_es in reply to jib70

Have you ever checked your blood glucose after eating? Sleeping after a meal is usually related with too high insulin. Best to check 1h after mean and your BG should be below 140.

jib70 in reply to Sabine_es

Thanks Sabine_es. No I've never done that - wouldn't know how to or what to look out for. I thought that was only important if you're diabetic?

Sabine_es in reply to jib70

Not only as lot of women with pcos or thyroid issues have also insulin resistance. My sister whenever she eats some carbs or sugar falls asleep and the better she eats the more sensitive she seems to be to it. Maybe it is not your case but that is very easy to roll out with glucometer if you have access to it. I also have insulin resistance so must watch for carbs and starch.

jib70 in reply to Sabine_es

Thank you. I wasn't aware of this but I shall do some searches on the subject as it sounds really interesting. Much appreciated.

GF porridge oats send me to sleep and I love it!!,

Best wishes for finding the answer x

I had never felt tired after eating until I had my thyroid removed. Now I feel sleepy after every meal and didn't realize that other people had this issue too. All of my levels are fine including my vitamains and minerals and I have no gut issues or Hashi

I makes no difference what I eat.

Yes, now you mention it, I used to fall into a 'black' sleep often after eating until given T3, now it rarely happens. It was rather terrifying as my body produced the paralysing chemicals as in dream sleep and I used to have nightmares that my children were about to be attacked and I could not move to protect them. Once the chemical was explained the nightmares eased but the sleep remained. Is this similar?

jib70 in reply to thyr01d

I'm not sure how similar thyr01d. I have begun to almost 'zonk out' after eating. It lasts at least an hour and I feel quite disoriented when I wake - and for a few minutes I'm very confused as to where I am, the time of day, whether I have eaten, so must have been in a deep sleep.

I have now googled 'insulin resistance and thyroid' and some interesting info available. I regret I still don't understand the thyroid, so complicated, so no idea how correct or relevant.

thyr01d in reply to jib70

On reflection, not so similar, because it didn't happen to me early in the day I don't think. Good luck in finding an answer.

Are you diabetic maybe?

Or do you have high blood pressure salt can affect the system as well

This is a problem with me and if its a big meal its even worse

jib70 in reply to Crazy-horse

No diabetes that I know of Crazy-horse. I am medicated for blood pressure, but have always disliked salt so never use it in my food.

Strangely when several months ago I mentioned my weight loss (2 stone) to a GP I asked if maybe it was caused by undiagnosed diabetes and was told that people with diabetes usually put on weight, not lose it so very unlikely to be that :(

Thank you so much for responding, I am so grateful for all the replies and suggestions. This forum is remarkable for help without judgement. :)

Crazy-horse in reply to jib70

No harm in just asking GP for a blood glucose test and also ask for your ferritin levels to be checked

I recently was experiencing this very same thing and thyroid blood results showed my FT3 had fallen dramatically (dipping below range) and my FT4 had also dropped. My endo advised me to increase T3 as well as up my T4 dosage. It seems to be doing the trick so I must have been under medicated. Perhaps the same thing is occurring with you?

jib70 in reply to milkwoman

Thank you for responding milkwoman. I'm not on any thyroid meds, soon to see an endo (after a 5 month wait). I hope it is something I can get to the bottom of, but with so many others here experiencing it I'm convinced it is thyroid related and will make a point of bringing it up with the consultant.

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