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My Five Approaches in Resisting the Heavy Sleepiness After Meals

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ICU (Japan) chapter.

Have you ever experienced a food coma? 

I know I have, and I have been a victim of it… many times.

I recently learned the term “food coma”; “The feeling of sleepiness that’s sometimes experienced following a meal.” Personally, I find it a little strange to use the word “coma”….So I want to include the more formal expression, which is “postprandial somnolence.”

Sometimes, regardless of the size of the meal I’ve just eaten, I find myself overwhelmed by a sense of fatigue and drowsiness. These moments tend interfere with my next task, leaving me feeling even more discouraged and tired.

So, I’m writing this article with the hope of inspiring you to find your own way to approach this sleepiness. I want to offer comfort and let you know that you are not alone in experiencing this. Friendly reminder that this article is not a medical diagnosis or a solution; instead, it’s a personal reflection sharing five approaches that have been effective for me.

1. Change up the order of MY meal.

According to WENELL, eating your vegetables first, then your high-carbohydrate foods like rice, noodles, and bread, can help reduce the rapid rise in blood glucose levels. This is because the soluble fiber in vegetables slows down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates. Overall, this method could help maintain energy levels by preventing rises and rapid drops in energy.

2. Chew gum

I’ve often heard that chewing gum helps with your memory. Since this seems to stimulate brain activity, I’ve taken to doing it after meals to steer clear of the “food coma.” I recommend a minty-flavored gum to chew, and for the maximum “wake-up effect,” pair it with a glass of water, and your mind will get going!

3. Have a refreshing drink or eat something sweet.

I’ve also found that it helps to get a nice cold drink, an iced coffee, or even just a piece of sweet chocolate.

4. Listen to or watch a high-energy song or video.

I find that listening to music and/or watching fun videos have an amazing ability to shape one’s mood and energy levels. So, it will be great to use it to our advantage!

5. Exercise (move your body!).

The idea of exercising immediately after a meal might not be too appealing. Personally, I always dreaded post-lunch PE sessions when I was a student. However, I’ve also found that doing stretches isn’t particularly effective. What I’ve discovered makes a difference is getting up and moving around! It could be as straightforward as taking a short walk to the restroom, doing the dishes, or tackling some of that laundry.

I hope that the tips and suggestions shared here can help you and maybe even inspire you to find your own approach for resisting these post-meal sleepiness!

Rina Muguruma

ICU (Japan) '26

Hi I'm Rina, I live with 3 cats and I love to read and write.