The holidays are here, and something that’s on a lot of people’s minds is food and health. Does turkey actually make you sleepy? Does sugar make kids hyper? Are the holidays really the most stressful time of the year?
We sat down with Healthcare2U’s co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Rodriguez, to ask him if he thinks these holiday health “myths” are true or false.
Turkey makes you sleepy- FALSE
We’ve heard this theory numerous times, but it is, in fact, false. Tryptophan, the chemical in turkey that people are referring to that causes sleepiness, doesn’t make you sleepy on its own. What does make you sleepy, however, is when you eat foods that contain this chemical and a large number of carbohydrates. This includes carb-heavy foods like bread, desserts, potatoes, etc. So no, you won’t fall asleep if you eat turkey on its own, but if you add a whole Thanksgiving meal on top of it, you might need a nap!
Sugar makes kids extra hyper- FALSE
Research shows that while some people may believe children experience a “sugar rush” where they become hyperactive, studies show that is not the case. Doctors have surmised that the extra energy is due to emotions of excitement, not from extra sugar in their system. Having said that, it is still not advised to give children large amounts of sugar at once, as it isn’t healthy!
The holidays are the most stressful time of the year- TRUE
Unfortunately, this myth is very true. Most American adults – 74 percent – say that Christmas is stressful, and 55 percent say it is the most stressful holiday of the year. A large percentage of the stress is due to the extra money spent, preparing one’s home for guests, and spending time with family.
Here are some suggestions for people who find themselves stressed around the holidays:
- Make sure you’re planning ahead and keeping everything organized, as the holidays can easily become chaotic, and that adds to the stress.
- Keep track of holiday spending- overspending is a large part of holiday stress.
- Take time for yourself. Take some deep breaths and maybe do a hobby that you enjoy to take your mind off any stress you might be experiencing.
- Ask for help if you need it!
- Limit your drinking. While some people drink around the holidays to help relieve stress, it can make it worse.
Were you surprised by any of these myths? We hope you enjoyed us debunking some classic holiday health myths, and if you’re interested in learning more about how to manage holiday stress, check out our blog from the last holiday season or a WAFB-9 News interview Dr. Rodriguez was featured in.