Please pass the Tryptophan – oops, I mean the Turkey!

turkeyIt’s Thanksgiving time again and many households will be feasting on good food and gratitude. You ever wonder why you feel like you need a stretcher after eating your thanksgiving meal? It’s not only because you have stretched your stomach and innards to the max, it’s because of a chemical called Tryptophan.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps produce serotonin, which can stabilize your mood and make you more relaxed. Serotonin is a chemical manufactured in the brain and the intestines. The majority of the body’s serotonin, can be found in the gastrointestinal tract. When you combine tryptophan with foods like turkey, poultry, complex carbohydrates and even alcohol-you get tired quickly. You see, “carb” loading allows the tryptophan to get into the bloodstream faster due to the increased insulin that is produced with a caloric meal.

One way to minimize this “coma” feeling is to eat slowly during your meal and have a Thanksgiving breakfast. This will keep your blood sugars stable and keep you from over eating. Another way to slow down the process is to have dialogue and discussion at the table. The Thanksgiving meal is an open forum for conversation and gratitude.

Enough with the scientific stuff, let’s talk sleep and relaxation. What if we were able to reach that level of satiety without the big meal once a year? What if we are able to regularly reach that with meditation and mindfulness? Well, we can! Research shows that even 5 minutes of meditation a day will lower blood pressure, release serotonin, reduce anxiety and make you feel rested, sleep well and stay relaxed.

So pass the Turkey or Tofurky! Enjoy your friends and family and think about adding just 5 minutes of meditation and/or gratitude. Not only will you feel more relaxed but you’ll sleep better too!

If you are looking for meditative ideas? Try the 5 minutes Relax-a-bye Baby Guided Meditation downloadable on or iTunes.—Bye-Guided-Bedtime Meditation/dp/B00MSNCEYW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1417104538&sr=8-3&keywords=relax+a+bye+baby

Happy Thanksgiving!



Mimi Sommers