15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news
15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news

Jennifer McShane

This home on Palmerstown Road, Rathmines is on the market for €2.15 million
This home on Palmerstown Road, Rathmines is on the market for €2.15 million

Megan Burns

Chunky wedges, midi dresses and light summer cardigans – What to wear to an Irish garden wedding
Chunky wedges, midi dresses and light summer cardigans – What to wear to an Irish...

Sarah Finnan

Lynn Enright: Who will I be then, if I am not the one cackling in the corner of the pub late into the night?
Lynn Enright: Who will I be then, if I am not the one cackling in...

Lynn Enright

Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be tied to your desk, here’s how you can multitask on the move
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be tied to your desk, here’s how...

Melanie Morris

James Michael Tyler: Friends’ Gunther reveals cancer diagnosis
James Michael Tyler: Friends’ Gunther reveals cancer diagnosis

Jennifer McShane

Love Island’s Greg O’Shea is heading to the Olympics with the Irish Sevens side
Love Island’s Greg O’Shea is heading to the Olympics with the Irish Sevens side

Megan Burns

Nicola Coughlan teases details of new project she wrote with a pal
Nicola Coughlan teases details of new project she wrote with a pal

Sarah Finnan

What’s on June 2021: The new TV, streaming shows, books and podcasts to try
What’s on June 2021: The new TV, streaming shows, books and podcasts to try

Lauren Heskin

Prince William reportedly ‘threw Harry out’ of charity foundation over Meghan Markle bullying claims
Prince William reportedly ‘threw Harry out’ of charity foundation over Meghan Markle bullying claims

Sarah Finnan

Image / Self / Health & Wellness

The science behind those after-dinner Christmas naps


by Jennifer McShane
25th Dec 2020
blank

The post-dinner Christmas slump is a very real thing. Even if we eat nice and early (some of us like to save the snacking for later), chances are we’ll still crave some shuteye. But guess what? It’s not all down to the turkey…


That’s right — there’s a very-real science behind those festive naps. Here are all the factors that go into us wanting a few zzzs instead of the Christmas games.

Your gut dictates your energy levels

For starters, Dr Deirdre G. O’Donovan, Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Blackrock Clinic says our energy levels are profoundly affected by our gut health.

“This can be through a number of mechanisms — we are all familiar with that desire to have a nap after Christmas dinner and that is because a high-calorie meal requires an increase in blood flow to the gut as part of the digestive process. This is combined with an associated drop in blood pressure systemically and in particular, to our brains, hence that sleepy feeling,” she explains.

Meal composition is important

She also says said meal composition, in general, is important – the aim is a nice balance of macronutrients to allow an easier digestive process. “In some cases, people will drop their blood pressure significantly after a carbohydrate-rich meal. This applies particularly to people with diabetes and older patients, so they may feel tired after a meal (or feel faint) and that’s caused by a problem of the autonomic nervous system.”

Be mindful of conditions which may cause fatigue

“In many cases, conditions like coeliac disease, which left untreated, causes fatigue because patients are not absorbing necessary nutrients, such as iron in their diet,” Dr O’Donovan continues. “Other gut-related diseases which cause bleeding from the bowel can also result in anaemia and lack of energy and may be the only sign to alert someone that something is wrong.”

Trust your gut

“For others, alterations in the natural gut flora can contribute to what many refer to as ‘brain fog’ and profound lassitude. This can be helped by introducing a good probiotic. Alflorex is one I generally recommend,” Dr O’Donovan adds.

However, she explains that if you’re constantly feeling fatigued and these simple changes don’t work, don’t leave it alone. “If simple interventions such as these don’t work, people should be advised to see their GP.”

“I think there is a growing awareness in the public that what they eat/the gut health has a direct bearing on their energy levels. What I would be more worried about is people not making the connection that if it’s not improving it may be a sign of a more significant process going on that needs medical input”

The little things

She also recommends small things to help, such as getting a good night’s sleep, reducing alcohol and caffeine. Getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet also helps.

“Be aware of how stress affects you as an individual — we are not designed to cope with stress 24/7 so make sure to keep up that idea of self-care whether it’s getting up and going for a walk, learning to say no, mindfulness and so on – all this plays a role.

“It sounds corny but we all need to listen to our bodies.”

Main photograph: Unsplash

Also Read

blank
REAL-LIFE STORIES
The reality of learning to love a tattoo that wasn’t *quite* what you wanted

Getting a tattoo isn’t for everyone, but a drawing on...

By Geraldine Carton

gut health
HEALTH & WELLNESS
6 steps to improve your gut health, according to a gastroenterologist

Gastroenterologist and gut expert Professor Barbara Ryan (@Thegutexperts) on why...

By IMAGE

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
James Michael Tyler: Friends’ Gunther reveals cancer diagnosis

With all the talk of the Friends Reunion, one of...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
ADVICE, REAL-LIFE STORIES
The life-changing act of breaking up with crap friends

Breaking up with friends is a dirty business but sometimes...

By Sophie White

blank
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
‘When I was offered the vaccine, I had assumed it was a scam of some sort and debated not showing’

Alice Sommers was attending a Dublin hospital as an outpatient for a yet diagnosed but presumed minor issue yet found herself identified as being ‘at very high risk of severe disease or death’. What did the hospital know that she didn’t? And how would her high risk, non-vaccinated, friends react?

By Alice Sommers

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
5 simple ways to help reduce your sugar cravings

By Jennifer McShane

blank
CULTURE
5 of the most extraordinary revelations from Demi Lovato’s must-see documentary

By Jennifer McShane