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Thanksgiving warning: drowsy can look like drunk

Like any other holiday, tradition is a part of Thanksgiving. Friends and families get together to celebrate and give thanks for the good things in their lives. You can find a feast with turkey, stuffing and cranberries on many tables. Sports fans will settle down to watch the Cowboys and the Lions take on this year’s opponents.

If you are like most, you might include that afternoon drowsy spell that seems to appear like clockwork every year. Traditionally, it’s the turkey that gets blamed for causing the holiday sleepiness, but researchers say you shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

Many different factors contribute to your body’s drowsy response to Thanksgiving. What are they?

  • Stressful conversation: Even when you love your family and friends, conversations can be stressful. Your body responds by sending amino acids and sugars straight to your brain. Not only does this make you feel stressful, but it can also prevent your body from feeling full.
  • Overworked heart: Like a car needs gas, digestion needs blood. Your heart works overtime to get enough blood into your digestive system to handle the increase in food consumption.
  • Insulin: The amount of food and alcohol you may consume during the day can cause your pancreas to release more insulin. Again, your body will respond to the change. It will send sugar out of your bloodstream, which is another reaction that makes you feel… you got it… tired.
  • Expanded stomach: Consuming more food than usual can cause your stomach to expand. You still feel hungry, you eat more, the cycle repeats and you feel tired.

The important thing to remember is that the symptoms of drowsiness look a lot like alcohol impairment. If you swerve across the center line, jerk the car after nodding asleep, slow down or miss a stop sign, a police officer could pull you over in Virginia.

When the officer stops your car, you can bet that they will ask about alcohol. Your body’s response to excess food may have caused the traffic infraction, but even a drink or two could become the basis of a DUI.

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