If you’re getting sleepy at work in the afternoon or after your midday meal, it may be because you’re eating too many calories of carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. So how do you avoid getting sleepy after meals?
Certain foods trigger the body to produce chemicals or hormones that induce drowsiness. Also, eating too much can induce a food coma, as they are jokingly called.
To stay alert in the afternoon or whenever you have your meal during your shift, eat smaller amounts of food with less carbs, fat, and sugars.
You’ll have the added benefit of cutting down on calories if you opt for small servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains (in small amounts), nuts, seeds, and low-fat meats.
Some people complain of drowsiness after a big holiday meal, especially where turkey is served. People have come to blame tryptophan in the turkey, but Huffington Post says  there is just as much of the amino acid in eggs and cheese.
Foods high in carbs, fat, and sugar trigger a neural response in the small intestine that directs the body to slow its metabolism and work on digesting what you’ve eaten rather than going out and acquiring more food to eat, Huff Post reports. This response takes place in what is called the parasympathetic nervous system.
Researchers determined certain brain cells, the orexin neurons of the hypothalamus, react strongly to glucose, which spikes after a fattening meal. The neurons produce a protein named orexin that helps moderate wakefulness.
Another neurohormone affected by food is insulin, which the body releases in greater amounts as you eat bigger quantities of food. Huff Post states:
The insulin, in turn, increases the amount of serotonin and melatonin that flood the brain, two chemicals associated with drowsiness (and, for that matter, happiness).
Huff Post says the drowsiness one feels after a meal isn’t dangerous. But if you feel it a lot it may be a sign of overeating, which does hold dangers of obesity and related heart disease, diabetes, stress on bones, muscles and tendons and other health problems.
Healthline reports  on other foods that can cause drowsiness:
Though all foods are digested in much the same manner, not all foods affect your body in the same way. Some foods, like turkey, can make you sleepier than others. Turkey and other high-protein foods, along with spinach, soy, eggs, cheese, tofu, and fish contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is used by the body to create serotonin, possibly responsible for that post-meal haze.
Cherries affect melatonin levels, carbohydrates cause a spike and subsequent fall in blood sugar, and the minerals in bananas relax your muscles. Any one of these factors could leave you sleepy.
Healthline discusses energy-destroying foods.
Healthline says there are foods that have the opposite effect, foods that wake you up and make you ready to tackle any boring task your boss may throw at you right after lunch:
The good news is, there are foods that can have the opposite effect. For instance, a balanced diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats promotes sustained energy. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding too much sugar and eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help.
Woman’s Day has an article  on certain high-energy foods that can help combat low energy. The article states foods high in fat and calories can make you feel fatigued because they require a lot of energy to digest.
The 10 foods that Woman’s Day identifies as high in energy compounds are:
(The fact that one publication says high-carb foods like rice and potatoes, bananas and spinach cause drowsiness and another publication says they boost energy may point to a lack of research on the matter.)
It makes sense, too, as Healthline says, that a decent night’s sleep can help ward off drowsiness after a meal or during the midday.
Exercise also helps. Healthline says:
Multiple studies found that regular exercise helps increase energy and reduce fatigue. In other words, being sedentary doesn’t create some sort of energy reserve that you can tap into at will. Instead, being active will help ensure that you have the energy to push through your days.
Healthline’s article has the subhead: Feeling Tired After a Meal Is Completely Normal, but the site advises that talking to your doctor if the drowsiness interferes with your day or a change in diet and lifestyle don’t help mitigate it.
That said, WebMD advises  you to eat a good breakfast, eat a well-balanced diet during the day, and eat good fats and a lot of protein.
Cut out certain foods if you suspect they are making you drowsy, and see if that works. If it doesn’t work, consider having a blood test for celiac disease, which affects about 1 in 100 people.
Another thing you can try not mentioned by the articles we linked to is to take caffeine. As long as you keep your intake to 200 to 300 mg per day, caffeine is considered no problem. It is a stimulant that does not harm the body. In fact, many studies claim in moderate amounts caffeine benefits people, not just in boosting alertness but in reducing risk of disease and other types of pathology.
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Sublingual Viter Energy Mints deliver a quick kick to the bloodstream. One of the fastest ways to get a drug, vitamin or caffeine into the body is through sublingual administration—that is, under the tongue, where the substance dissolves and quickly gets absorbed into the body.
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Stories of coming back from a downfall after great success are inspiring for anyone—even for young people who haven’t made their mark on the world yet. History and mythology are filled with people who were at the height of success, crashed and came back again.
Sometimes, people need to lose everything material to realize that they didn’t need it, or that the health and safety of their families are worth more than all the success and gold in the world. Sometimes people come back even stronger and more successful than before they “fell.”
Unless you work outdoors or indoors in a job where you are physically active all day, it can be difficult for some people who have desk jobs to stay awake at work without caffeine.
Maybe the most important thing you can do to make sure you don’t nod off at work is to get a good night of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours, at a regular time every night. Boredom can also cause you to nod off. Other than getting a good night’s sleep and having a fascinating job, there are things you can do to stay awake.