Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Does turkey cause drowsiness?

We had our official Christmas day yesterday. Paul and Josephine arrived safely on Sunday after a hair raising drive up from London that was delayed when they discovered that their hire car had been vandalised leaving them having to hire another on Sunday morning at very short notice. Despite the setbacks resulting from the local council's failure to clear any ice from the road between Southport and the M58 they got here in one piece. We did all the usual present stuff and then Marion cooked the most fabulous Christmas dinner and we all promptly fell asleep.

Now I know that falling asleep after somebody has slaved for hours cooking a dinner isn't exactly the best way of showing one's gratitude but we were all (apart from Marion who spent the remainder of the day tidying up) flat out. Josephine told me that it is a well known fact that turkey has soporific effects. Being American she knows these things and it seems that in the USA everyone flakes out straight after Thanksgiving dinner. Now I don't know if it was the turkey or the large glasses of Ironstone Zinfandel but it took me, Paul and Josephine out for a good couple of hours.

Not being one to take things as fact just on one person's say so (even one with such authority as Josephine), I decided to research this further and indeed the Internet is awash with articles on whether or not turkey can cause drowsiness. It seems that the meat is full of an amino acid called Tryptophan and this induces sleep. However if you check the Tryptophan per 100g in turkey compared to other foods you'll find that there's almost twice as much in Cheddar cheese so surely that blows the whole theory out of the water.

So I decided to carry out an experiment today. After our lovely young couple left for home at noon (thankfully now on slushy rather than icy roads) I made a couple of rounds of turkey sandwiches and settled down with them in my special hospital chair together with a glass of red wine and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Within half an hour my eyelids were heavy and I decided to lie down. I woke up ninety minutes later. Whilst I had been taking regular siestas as part of my post operation recovery programme  I had stopped needing these a week ago.

So, if you can draw any conclusions from my, admittedly not very scientific, research, turkey does have soporific effects. As I have not been sleeping very well since my operation, perhaps I'll now have to start eating a turkey butty  before I go to bed.

Then again, a nice glass of red wine might also do the trick.