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Feeling dizzy and sleepy after eating food. Why?

Some people especially those who are elderly may feel dizziness and sleepiness after having a meal. This problem is less common in younger individuals but may occur if they are suffering from some underlying physical or emotional disorder.

Why do you feel dizzy and sleepy after eating? (Causes and Mechanism)

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the causes and also the mechanisms of these causes, how they lead to this dizziness after eating.

Feeling dizzy and sleepy after eating food

Postprandial hypotension means a fall in blood pressure after taking a meal. Blood pressure may fall in older individuals after taking meal and this fall in blood pressure may make them feel dizzy, sleepy and sometimes may make them unconscious. Why is this fall in blood pressure occur after eating? The mechanism behind this is stated below;
When somebody takes a meal, his intestines start working to digest and make it absorbable. To work efficiently the blood flow to intestines increases several folds. Our body has this ability to increase or decrease the blood flow to one or more parts of the body. Our Body increases the blood flow to those areas which are active and require more blood, and in order to increase the blood flow to these areas, our body does two things.
  1. It increases the heart rate and power of contraction so that more blood enters into the vessels
  2. it dilates the blood vessels that supply the active part and contracts those blood vessels which supply the less active parts. Thus, it diverts the blood flow towards a more active part.
As our intestines work very hard after eating, therefore, our body diverts the blood from less active parts to the intestine. It contracts the blood vessels that supply to skin, arms and legs and dilates those blood vessels that supply intestine so that less amount of blood should go to peripheral areas and more should go to intestines where it is required. If this mechanism is working fine in an individual then he won’t feel dizzy or sleepy after taking a meal. But if there is some problem in the heart or blood vessels then he may face the problem. For example, if his heart is not strong enough to increase the blood output or the blood vessels of peripheral areas fail to contract then the dilation of intestinal blood vessels combined with decreased heart response will lead to falling in blood pressure and this makes the person dizzy and sleepy.

Why do old people feel dizzy and sleepy after eating?

This problem is more common in older people because they often have some heart pathologies or their heart is not strong enough to respond properly to the changing body environment. Moreover, their peripheral blood vessels become hard and sclerotic and fail to contract and dilation of intestinal blood vessels without counter-contraction of peripheral blood vessels decrease the blood pressure and this makes them feel dizzy and sleepy.
Now you should have understood the cause of feeling dizzy and sleepy after taking a meal. Below are the few other causes of feeling dizzy after taking a meal.
  • If you have some heart problem, and your heart is unable to increase the blood output.
  • If you are taking some medications that decrease the blood volume, for example, diuretics or you are already taking blood pressure lowering medicines, for example, beta blockers or vasodilators then again you may feel dizzy after taking a meal.
  • If you are suffering from gastritis, thyroid, kidney, labyrinth or emotional problem, then again this may lead to dizziness after meal through variable mechanisms.
If you are feeling this problem more often or it has made you unconscious then consult your doctor.

Some Home Solutions.

  1. Avoid large meals and take small meals at regular intervals.
  2. Drink plenty of water and keep your body well hydrated.
  3. Avoid exercise and strenuous activity after taking the meal. 
  4. Avoid drinking soda, instead take healthy drinks, such as lime juice or fruit shakes.
  5. Take your last meal of the day at least two hours before going to bed.
  6. Don’t skip your breakfast, and eat your meal on time.
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