What an exciting holiday! You got your coloured eggs, your giant invisible killer bunnies that hide candy, your Good Friday, your Easter Sunday, your Christians, your messiah dying, your messiah coming back to life, your bread and wine, and enough chocolate to kill a small mousse. (I’m so sorry about that.)
But wait there’s more: you got lent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, holy week, Silent Saturday, Eastertide, and that’s just the western version of Easter. If your travel east you will find a whole new can worms, with a whole new set of various goings on. To be fair its mostly just variations of the same theme, but with different names for stuff, like “Great Lent” instead of just regular Lent. I guess they just wanted to one up those filthy westerners. I gotta tell you, when Christians decide to make a holiday, (as opposed to co-opting pagan ones) they sure don’t screw around.
Whatever differences there may be in observing the holiday, there is one thing I think we can all agree upon. A common ground that ties us all together, and that is FOOD! Lots and lots of food. Is there anything better than that sleepy contented feeling after gorging on a huge turkey dinner? You know with all this religiousness, I think we need something to make a delightfully contrasting counterpoint. What could that possibly be though? You guessed it, science! Let’s bring the science bitches!
Everybody knows why you get so sleepy after a big turkey dinner right? It’s all that pesky amino acid tryptophan. Well, that may not actually be entirely accurate. In fact turkey has an extremely average amount of tryptophan in it compared to many other foods. Eggs for example have almost four times the amount that turkey does. Well then, if it’s not that, then why do we get sleepy? Ready for the science? here we go:
A turkey dinner usually is accompanied by a wide selection of various dishes. When you are done stuffing your face, you will have no doubt ingested a great deal of carbohydrates. Ingesting said great deal of carbs triggers your body to produce insulin, which in turn stimulates the uptake of branch amino acids in your muscles and blood stream. This sets off a sort of chain reaction of chemical events in your body which eventually ends up with all that tryptophan being converted into serotonin. That serotonin gets further metabolised into melatonin. Aha, now we are finally getting to the bottom of this little mystery. Melatonin, is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that helps control your sleep patterns, amongst many other things. Eureka! So in a very roundabout way tryptophan does cause you to become sleepy, but only when ingested in combination with way more carbs than you should have. You may have noticed that the inevitable turkey sandwich leftovers don’t usually make you want to pass out, unless of course you take your turkey sandwiches with a side of Vodka. In that case you have a drinking problem, and should seek help.
Dark Pixels: Proudly looking up useless shit on Wikipedia since March of 2012 so you don’t have to.