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the sleepy-turkey myth lingers around each year because it sounds so logical. Alas, it is only marginally true. What's making you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is any combination of booze, bad conversation and a carbohydrate-heavy meal, but not the turkey itself. The tryptophan trip Tryptophan is an essential amino acid crucial for good health. Human bodies need tryptophan to build certain kinds of proteins. There is a sleep connection, though. The body uses tryptophan in a multi-step process to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate sleep. Turkey does have tryptophan. But all meat has tryptophan at comparable levels. Cheddar cheese, gram for gram, has more. While cheddar isn't the most exciting cheese in the cheese cellar, no one connects it with sleep. Turkey gets singled out for no other reason than being eaten during the biggest meal of the year.
So is that why when I'm feeling a bit down mac and cheese always makes me feel better?