Reasons to Get Yourself Checked if You Feel Lethargic after Eating

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is falling asleep after eating a sign of diabetes. Source: Freepik

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It’s no secret that what we eat affects our bodies in different ways. Sometimes, it makes us sleepy and sluggish — also known as a food coma. Even studies suggest that food coma affects our cognitive performance.

But if it happens every time you eat, is it something more than just exhaustion? This blog post explores the connection between post-lunch drowsiness and diabetes, looking at whether this is just a normal body reaction or an early sign of a bigger health problem.

How One Becomes Two: Post-Meal Sleepiness vs. Diabetes

Yes, there are millions of people around the world who feel tired after eating — especially after a big meal. Unfortunately, not all can just get up and grab another cup of coffee. Some have to face a bigger problem than just tiredness-inducing meals, like diabetes.

And as we all know, diabetes is no joke – a disease that’s spreading like wildfire. A survey conducted in 2021 found that 8.4 million people or 11.6% of the US population had diabetes.

Diabetes is known for causing high blood sugar levels that last way too long. It could result in frequent urination, sudden weight loss, and endless increased thirst throughout the day. But what nobody talks about is the possibility of getting tired after every meal being an early symptom as well.

This condition has two types: insulin deficiency1 and insulin resistance. The first one doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, causing fatigue; while the second one stops your body from using insulin correctly, resulting in glucose always staying in your digestive system way longer than it should.

high blood sugar levels
falling fall asleep immediately after eating. Source: Freepik.

Telling Them Apart: Normal and Abnormal Fatigue

Feeling drowsy is falling asleep after eating is a sign of diabetes isn’t so bad when it only happens once in a while — especially when downing a few plates at Thanksgiving dinner.

But how do you know if your fatigue goes beyond the kitchen?

Here are some signs to look out for:

How often does it happen?

Feeling sleepy isn’t alarming when done irregularly. But if every meal you have makes you fall asleep faster than usual, you may want to check if your body is warning you of something.

Just how tired are you?

Normal post-meal sleepiness doesn’t make you want to snooze throughout the entire day. And it definitely shouldn’t stop you from going through your tasks like a regular human being. If this happens, it could be an early sign of insulin deficiency or resistance.

Are any other weird things happening?

It’s never just one symptom when it comes to anything related to our health. And when it involves diabetes, there will always be a few more red flags — excessive thirst and urination, and sudden weight loss should also come up once in a while.

Examining the Connection Between Blood Sugar Levels and Sleepiness

When you eat, blood sugar levels rise — particularly from consuming carbohydrate-rich foods2. In non-diabetics, the body handles these increases without a hitch. However, if you have diabetes, it can be a different story altogether. You may find it hard to regulate blood sugar levels, leading to excessive sleepiness. Here, let’s take an in-depth look at how changes in blood sugar control and levels can affect poor sleep quality and alertness.

Detecting Risk Factors for Diabetes

The likelihood of developing diabetes heightens with certain factors — other factors than genetics3, age, and lifestyle choices play a considerable role too. Familiarizing yourself with these risk factors can allow you to proactively take steps toward prevention.

Spotting Warning Signs of Diabetes

Fatigue after meals is only one serious sign of diabetes that could point to the disease. There are others that should never be taken lightly or left unattended — such as blurred vision or slow-healing wounds. This portion will go into greater detail about these signs and the importance of regularly keeping track of them in order to maintain good health. If any of these warning signs manifest themselves in your life, it’s vital that you reach out for medical help.

How to Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Sleepiness

For individuals with diabetes, properly eating sugar and maintaining their blood sugar levels is crucial if they don’t want to fall asleep every time they eat a meal. Luckily this can be achieved through plenty of methods including:


Insulin or some other medications prescribed by professionals can really make all the difference when it comes to regulating and reducing fatigue caused by these high or low blood sugar levels.


Following a balanced diet packed with complex carbohydrates that contain lean proteins as well as healthy fats will do wonders in stopping low blood sugar crashes from even occurring in the first place.

feel tired
Junk food can cause diabetes. Source: Freepik

Regular exercise

No lying around! Getting moving with some exercise is beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity. Doing so will allow you to regulate blood sugar and sleepiness which will reduce the risk of feeling tired after munching too much insulin alone on a meal.

Monitoring your blood sugar levels

Recording the daily updates of your blood sugar levels can give you useful information on how certain foods and activities affect your blood glucose levels too.

Stress management4

It’s no secret that a high-stress lifestyle only brings harm. Notably in this case, it can make a mess out of your blood sugar and energy levels, and serve as a contributing factor in feelings of fatigue. To avoid all this, try meditating or relaxing whenever you can.

When Medical Attention is Needed

A consultation with healthcare professionals should be everyone’s go-to option if they are experiencing persistent sleepiness or any other symptoms of diabetes. Alongside offering personalized advice and guidance on diagnosing tests, they can provide peace of mind.

Whenever testing for diabetes is required, methods such as the fasting plasma glucose test5 (FPG) or the hemoglobin A1C test will be used. Both are capable of providing clear answers regarding whether someone has diabetes or not.

high blood glucose
A closeup shot of a doctor with rubber gloves taking a blood test from a patient. Source: Freepik

Lifestyle Changes and Management

Starting to Eat Healthier

Making smarter food choices is key to managing blood sugar levels and overall health. We’ll delve into discussions about balanced meals, portion control, and specific food selections that come into play when trying to prevent and manage diabetes.

Working Out More

Another essential component of maintaining an all-around healthy lifestyle that doesn’t involve eating healthy not eating is physical activity. Making time to do even small amounts of it regularly is beneficial for insulin sensitivity which ultimately helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Monitoring Your Blood Sugar Levels

Don’t forget about checking your blood sugar! When it comes to blood flow in individuals with diabetes, it is their job to keep track regularly because not doing so could lead to dangerous consequences. Here we offer guidance on how best to monitor these levels effectively.

Some Final Thoughts

So there you have it. While falling asleep after eating could just be a normal response to feeling full after a meal, it could also mean that you are experiencing signs of diabetes. Especially if you experience other signs along with it. It’s important to learn about diabetes symptoms and the link, understand the risks and consult professionals if needed. Then individuals will be able to properly manage their health which can potentially prevent diabetes before it starts.

  1. Taylor, Simeon I., Domenico Accili, and Yumi Imai. “Insulin resistance or insulin deficiency: which is the primary cause of NIDDM?.” Diabetes 43.6 (1994): 735-741. ↩︎
  2. Widanagamage, Rahal D., Sagarika Ekanayake, and Jayantha Welihinda. “Carbohydrate-rich foods: glycaemic indices and the effect of constituent macronutrients.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition 60.sup4 (2009): 215-223. ↩︎
  3. Klug, William S., and Michael R. Cummings. Concepts of genetics. No. Ed. 7. Pearson Education, Inc, 2003. ↩︎
  4. Greenberg, Jerrold S. “Comprehensive stress management.” (2002): 301-320. ↩︎
  5. Tong, Jia-Ning, et al. “Fasting plasma glucose in the first trimester is related to gestational diabetes mellitus and adverse pregnancy outcomes.” Endocrine 75.1 (2022): 70-81. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Sanjana

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