As people unbutton their pants and curl up on the couch on Thanksgiving night, they often claim the turkey is the reason they’re tired. But is the chosen meat of this holiday really to blame for your sluggish nature? Though the turkey isn’t without fault, could be other reasons you’re tired on Thanksgiving? I raise this question because, as a vegetarian, I don’t ever have turkey. But even without eating meat on Turkey Day, I still find myself completely exhausted by the end of the day. Is it because I’m a mom chasing a toddler, spending too much time prepping, busy entertaining guests, or something else?

How am I supposed to prepare for Black Friday, when all I wanna do is pass out on the couch? For many, the biggest shopping day of the year is just as big of an event as Thanksgiving itself. Why spend it feeling like a zombie? I was determined to get to the bottom of this phenomenon and settle the debate once and for all. Whether your Thanksgiving gathering is more like a Friendsgiving or a large family reunion, chances are you have felt the exhausting effects of the holiday. Here are some non-turkey related reasons you might feel tired on Thanksgiving.

1. Sugary Sweets

The holidays are full of delicious desserts and tempting treats. Although it’s not so bad to indulge your sweet tooth every once in awhile, filling up on candy might be why you’re feeling drowsy after dinner. Nutritionist Oz Garcia told Good Housekeeping that simple carbs, like sugary sweets, are quickly digested, which causes a spike and subsequent crash in energy levels.

2. Too Much Noise

Just like turkey is a staple of Thanksgiving, so are family gatherings. Whether you have a big family or a football game is blaring on the TV, noise levels tend to get pretty high during the holidays. Psychologist Arline Bronzaft, told Redbook that your pulse rate and blood pressure increase, putting a strain on your nervous system, which can make you feel exhausted. Schedule some quiet time to combat the volume of your family (even if it means hiding out in the bathroom.)

3. Beige Food, Basically

Dietitian Dawn Napoli told Women’s Health that carbs high on the glycemic index zap your energy. This includes foods like bread, rice, chips, mashed potatoes, and even honey, so proceed with caution unless you want to fall into a carb coma.

4. Skipping Breakfast

Some people, in preparation for the Thanksgiving feast, forgo breakfast or only eat lightly throughout the day. But trying to save room for turkey may not actually be such a great idea. Dietitian Amy Goodson spoke with Time magazine advising that you need to have your morning meal to refuel your energy from the calories your body burned overnight.

5. Going Hard

There are just too many fun things to do on Thanksgiving. Whether your activity of choice is socializing, shopping, or playing outdoor sports, it’s easy to push yourself too far. Alice Domar, director of The Mind-Body Center for Women's Health at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told Redbook that doing too much activity or more than you’re used to can drain you physically and mentally.

6. Pies

What’s Thanksgiving without some pie, right? As it turns out, this is another dish that can make you drowsy. Cynthia Pasquella, a certified nutritionist, told Good Housekeeping that nuts and cherries are natural sources of melatonin,whichcansendyouintoasleepystate. Add in the sugary carbs, and you’ve got a recipe for exhaustion.

7. Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Along with the holidays comes the pressure to participate in activities and help prepare meals. It can be hard to just say no, and you may end up exhausted from helping out so much. Licensed psychologist Susan Elbers told Time that people-pleasing can actually drain your energy. So try saying no to things you really don’t want to do. The only thing you have to lose is your exhaustion.

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