21 Popular Breakfast Foods That Make You Sleepy Immediately

breakfast on a plate

Certain foods can trigger sleepiness, especially when consumed in the morning. While eating abnormal food portions is a common cause of sleeping after breakfast, what you eat can have an even bigger impact.

Related: Sleeping After Breakfast: 21 Epic Tips to Stay Awake

The 21 most common breakfast foods that make you feel sleepy immediately after eating is as follows. 

21 foods that make you sleepy after Breakfast

1. Toast

toast on a plate

Toast is probably the number one breakfast food on the planet. Whether it’s an early morning meal at home or in a restaurant, it is almost impossible not to have some sort of bread on the menu.

However, many people experience dozing off a few minutes after munching on their favorite toast. This may be due to the high carbohydrate content. Remember, white bread, in particular, may contain up to 32 calories per slice.

But how does eating a few slices of bread at breakfast make you sleep? Well, toast can give your body a quick increase in blood sugar levels. This spike declines equally rapidly, leading to a sudden lowering of energy levels.

2. Cereal

bowl of cereal

What do Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, and Fruit Loops all have in common? Sugar…. and lots of it too. If you’ve ever checked the nutrition figures on any cereal box, you’d be amazed at the fructose content of your favorite brands.

As noted earlier, large amounts of sugar can crash and burn the body’s energy levels. This is why many of us struggle to avoid sleeping after eating cereal in the morning.

Also, corn is the other main ingredient in cereal. And it is no secret that corn contains extremely high amounts of carbs. The powerful corn-sugar combo is not good for you under any circumstances. Well, unless you’re having breakfast in bed.

3. Oatmeal

a bowl of oatmeal

No breakfast meal makes me sleepy and as quick as oatmeal. And I know I’m not alone. In college, I always skipped it on test days to stay as alert as possible.

But why does this popular breakfast induce sleep so quickly? Like toast, oatmeal contains complex Carbs which trigger rapid rise and fall of blood sugar levels.

Also, the majority of us pour insane amounts of sugar and milk on our oatmeal. This results in an even bigger spike and decline in blood sugar levels.

If you’re serious about staying awake after breakfast, this is one of the meals to avoid.

4. Bagels

plate of bagels cut in half

When you’re in the mood for a quick breakfast, bagels are one of the first options that come to mind. But do you know why you feel sleepy after munching on a bagel or two?

Bagels give your body an instant infusion of energy. But this energy is unsustainable due to the absence of fiber and protein which slows down the body’s ability to break down carbs.

You can still go for your bagel. Just know that you’ll be at a greater risk of nodding off after. Also, you should probably digest the fact that a typical bagel contains as many carbs as 4-5 slices of bread.

5. Banana

ripe bananas ready for breakfast

Bananas offer a lot of vitamins which are crucial for your health. But they’re not exactly a good choice if you want to stay awake after breakfast.

Eating a few bananas can supply your body with potassium and magnesium. But, the natural muscle-relaxing properties of these nutrients make dozing off a real possibility.

Bananas also contain L-tryptophan, a serotonin-producing amino acid that makes you feel so good that dozing off becomes easier.

If you’re eating bananas the morning after a sleepless night, you might as well bring pillows to the breakfast table.

6. Pancakes

fresh pancakes on a plate

A couple of pancakes can be mouthwatering especially when you have a long day ahead. Sometimes, the aroma can be so tempting that you lose all your motivation to stay away. But unless you have plans of taking the day off and catching up on some sleep, you should rethink your choice.

Pancakes contain carbs and sugar – a deadly combination that surges your energy levels instantly and drops down as quickly. This can lead to an energy deficit characterized by tiredness and sleepiness.

Before you know it, you’re looking for the perfect reason to seek the day off or work from home.

7. Cherries

red cherries on a plate

Did you know that your body has a built-in clock that controls sleep? Well, Melatonin is the hormone tasked with sleep regulation. Only a few foods have been linked with stimulating Melatonin production and cherries are one of them.

Thus, if you’re fond of eating cherries during breakfast, that could be the reason behind the non-stop dozing that occurs after.

Drinking cherry juice at breakfast is another surefire way to dozing off immediately after. The fact that many insomniacs eat cherries or drink the juice as a natural sleep booster explains why you must avoid it at breakfast.

8. Turkey Bacon

frying pan with turkey bacon

Turkey bacon in the morning serves as a reminder of life’s little pleasures. This is why everyone almost always eats more than necessary when it comes to those tasty delights.

Sure, it may be a little less calorie-packed than pork. But Turkey bacon can get you into trouble if you have an eventful day ahead. And the fact that turkey is a healthy alternative to pork doesn’t mean it contains any less salt.

Many studies have revealed that salt increases the production of sleep hormones in the body. Thus, the sodium content in turkey bacon can put you into sleep mode even before the day starts.

9. Grapes

fresh red grapes

Grapes are tasty and can be a great addition to your breakfast. Whether you’re eating grapes as part of a meal or as a standalone, you can expect a lot of great health effects. But eating it in large quantities can make you feel dazed.

This is thanks to grapes’ natural melatonin production properties. The good news is that you’ll have to consume a large quantity of the delicious fruit before sleepiness sets in. Unless they’re in season and you have a big plate of grapes on your breakfast table, you probably have nothing to worry about.

10. Orange Juice

cup of orange juice

Everyone loves a chilled glass of orange juice in the morning before. Many of us drink it more regularly drink it more frequently due to the belief that juice is healthier than soda.

Well, we hate to burst your bubble but most orange juice brands contain more processed sugars and corn syrup than actual fruit.

And these sugars put you in a napping mood in addition to other negative effects. That glass of orange juice could come back to bite you while on your commute to work or school.

11. Muffins

muffins and fruit on a plate

Muffins are a popular quick-fix breakfast option. Many pastries are topping off their muffins with different fruits including berries. But don’t let the fruit component fool you. Eating muffins in the morning can give you symptoms not far from taking some sort of mini-sleeping pills.

Muffins contain as many carbs and sugars as bagels. Hence, ditching one in favor of the other to minimize your sugar intake is not only counterproductive. It could be a contender for the joke of the year as well.

As long as muffins remain an attractive proposition, you’ll always be at risk of nodding off after breakfast.

12. Almonds

almonds ready for breakfast

Almonds are a great source of protein – just don’t be surprised if you find yourself dozing off after eating them at breakfast. They belong to the exclusive melatonin-producing foods club. They boost the production of the sleep hormone which in-turn makes you feel drowsy.

Adding almond milk to your cereal or any other food during breakfast can make you doze off too.

Also, almonds are great at reducing Cortisol levels in the body. The moment Cortisol levels depreciate, the brain receives signals to encourage sleep.

Essentially, almonds do a similar job to sex in terms of sleep enhancement.

13. Frozen Pizza

slice of frozen pizza

There’s something about frozen pizza that many of us can’t get our heads around. We just know that it can be the perfect breakfast for your taste buds. That is, as long as you don’t mind dozing off immediately afterward.

It is no secret that Pizza contains high amounts of fats. This can be a huge burden on the digestive system because it struggles to break them fats.

Even a few slices of pizza requires a lot of energy to digest. Since digestion begins immediately after a meal, your body gets weaker with each moment. This can lead to feelings of sleepiness even in bodybuilders and those with high stamina levels.

14. Red Meat

steak on a barbecue grill

Thinking of having a plate of steak or ribs for breakfast? Be careful what you wish for. Red meat is another prominent member of the high-fat foods. Sure, it may contain impressive amounts of healthy proteins but the fat levels can be significant too.

Thus, digestion can only occur when a lot more of the body’s resources are diverted towards it.

This can make you so tired that taking a nap becomes the next logical step. Have you noticed that you’re always in the mood for a nap after eating red meat in the morning? This could explain why.

15. Lettuce

fresh lettuce

Who would’ve thought that lettuce could be a reason behind your sleepiness after your morning meal?

According to doctors, lettuce and opioids are not so different in terms of their effect on the brain. Have you ever taken any strong pain-killers or prescription medicines? If yes, do you remember how drowsy they made you? Eating lettuce for breakfast can have a similar effect.

Lettuce stimulates the brain to produce lactucin, a substance proven to lower stress and pain levels in various studies.

16. Smoothies

glass of smoothie

Are you a member of the morning smoothie club? No wonder you’re always tired after breakfast.

Many people think that the combination of different fruits into a powerful blend can only be healthy for the body. But that is not always the case. While smoothies offer many positive effects, a long-lasting dose of energy may not be one of them.

Remember, the sweetness of smoothies is no coincidence. Each fruit component brings a significant amount of sugars to the mix.

Hence, a smoothie in the morning is likely to cause a sugar rush which culminates in tiredness once the effects wear off.

17. Hotdogs

read-to-eat hotdogs

If you work in a major city area, grabbing a hotdog from your favorite food truck in the morning may be something you always look forward to. It could even be one of the things that motivate you to get out of your bed. You probably know that hotdogs and other greasy meals can expand your waistline. But what has that got to do with dozing off after your meal?

Yet you soon find yourself struggling to stay awake in your office or cubicle a few minutes after your meaty breakfast.

Well, sausage and meat sandwiches contain lots of protein and hard-to-digest fats. Since those foods are not the easiest to digest, it is only a matter of time before fatigue sets in after your meal.

And when that happens, sleepiness becomes unavoidable.

18. Coffee

A cup of hot coffee

If you love your coffee black then staying wide-eyed after drinking may not be a problem. But the majority of us have gotten used to Starbucks, Costa Coffee, McDonald’s McCafe, and Dunkin Donuts.

All of these brands have great-tasting coffee and other snacks that keep you going back for more. But, the sweet taste is no miracle because they achieve that by infusing lots of sugar and corn syrup.

No wonder you still nap at work in spite of your early morning Starbucks visit.

19. Berries

A bowl of blue and strawberries

Strawberries and Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which makes them important for your health in many ways. One of their core functions is to battle insomnia and sleep disorders that arise from the multiple oxidative processes.

Unfortunately, this can lead to sleepiness especially after consuming them either independently or as part of a whole breakfast meal.

This is why eating berries in small quantities may be the best way to stay awake in the morning.

20. Flavored Yogurt

bowl of flavored yogurt

Experts continue to tout the positives of eating Greek yogurt in the morning. But are all yogurts the same? Well, sugar-flavored options can affect your ability to stay alert and active. You’re already aware that a rush of sugar increases the body’s energy levels forcefully only for it to decrease at the same rate when the effects expire.

Besides, the high amounts of sugar can inhibit delicate areas of the brain that sense wakefulness and the ability to get aroused. This stimulates general body weakness and sleepiness.

21. Soda

can of soda being poured into a glass

Soda is just filled with sugar, caffeine, corn syrup, and empty carbs. This is one of the reasons why they’re so addictive.

If you’re looking for a meal that can activate the brain and keep you focused, it couldn’t get worse than soda.

Any surge in energy levels after drinking any brand of soda usually only temporary. You’ll soon feel lethargic when the effects of the caffeine and sugars wear off.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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