Feeling Sleepy After Eating: Breathing and Digestion
For most people, sleep produces the worst
effect on personal breathing and body oxygenation. The next most
damaging factor is eating, especially eating too much. You can easily
confirm the strong negative effects of these factors with the body oxygen
test. It is common that the body-oxygen test results are reduced by 20-40%
or by 5-10 seconds due to hyperventilation.
Overeating produces a serious biochemical shock
on the whole organism due to factors related to heavy breathing.
Feeling sleepy after eating and even falling asleep after meals are
typical signs of such biochemical shock. This effect of being
sleepy after eating meals is much stronger when junk foods are consumed, and
especially after overeating (see the second half of this page for more info
about this effect). We start to generate free radicals (causing
oxidative stress or damage to cells), when the body-oxygen levels drop
below 20 s (see the body-oxygen test below).
Effects of overbreathing on digestion
Hyperventilation is an important part of our “fight-or-flight”
response. In such conditions, large muscles require an increased blood supply to
improve chances of survival. That means that more blood would be diverted
to the large skeletal muscles, resulting in less blood for vital
organs including the organs of digestion.
British and Japanese
scientists found decreased blood flow to the liver (Hughes et al, 1979
and Okazaki et al, 1980), while American medical doctors confirmed the
same effect for the colon (Gilmour et al, 1980). Hence, the more
heavily we breathe, the less blood and oxygen goes to our digestive
organs (and the brain too) due to
In addition, the suppressed Bohr
effect reduces oxygenation
of the digestive organs, as documented by various Western studies.
Almost a century ago, Yale Professor Yandell
Yale’s School of Medicine found that low CO2 in the arterial blood
(due to hyperventilation) resulted in loss of tone of the intestines,
producing extreme intestinal congestion. Saturation of the blood with
CO2 rapidly eliminated the congestion (Henderson, 1907). The results
were published in the American Journal of Physiology.
Warning: In some people, mild voluntary
almost halt their digestion so that it can take up to 5-7 hours or more
to empty the stomach. Note that such “experimentation” can be dangerous
leading to the aggravation of existing gastrointestinal problems.
Breathing less (or hypoventilation) can also make some digestive
chronic hyperventilation can interfere with normal
digestion. Poor blood and oxygen supply can lead to a lack of digestive
enzymes, accumulation of metabolic waste products, slower digestion,
putrefaction of some foods and nutrients and mal-absorption. Systematic
research in this area is absent and there are more questions than
From a practical viewpoint, the above suggests that lower
CPs (with less body-oxygen content) correspond with slower digestion. For example,
a person with the normal
it takes about 2 hours to digest a regular meal (when
almost no food is left in the stomach). The same meal for a sick
individual (e.g., 15 s CP) with an
breathing pattern would need 1-2 hours more of digestion.
The person with normal breathing after this meal would still be
reasonably fit and able to exercise (not very rigorously, of course)
after eating the same meal. The sick person would definitely need a
Feeling sleepy after eating (for overweight people)
Many modern people, especially obese ones,
feel sleepy after eating. This
indicates overeating and ineffective breathing at the same time. The
solution to this common problem for obese people is to practice reduced
breathing so as to prevent hunger and eating fats and
complex carbohydrates. Any time an overweight person eats complex carbohydrates
or fats, his body-oxygen levels and breathing immediately become much
worse. Furthermore, hunger for starches and fats indicate a state of stress
and lower CP with higher heart rate.
What is the mechanism? Why can hyperventilation cause obesity?
According to Russian Buteyko research conducted by Russian
medical doctors, CO2 is also responsible for
the control of permeability membranes of fat cells. When we hyperventilate,
due to low CO2, glucose is driven from the blood into fat cells and
the blood glucose level naturally becomes low just due to hyperventilation
alone. Since glucose is crucial for the brain and well-being, it
is sensible to eat in a manner that increases blood sugar levels up to
the norm. Eating more intensifies respiration and this leads to the
formation of a vicious circle: hyperventilation drives glucose into fat cells;
the person gets hungry; he eats more and ... hyperventilates more.
Hence, over 70% people "naturally" gain weight when they hyperventilate.
when people start to slow down their breath while practicing
reduced breathing (especially with the DIY
breathing device or the Frolov device), they naturally have
less hunger and, if they
start eating only when really hungry, they can easily lose weight.
Physical exercise with only nasal breathing is
another great way to fight obesity. These are the most natural methods
or techniques to
lose weight and increase body-oxygen levels. Moreover, breathing less
makes obese people more alert and
more energetic. All these factors make breathing retraining more
advanced than other weight loss techniques.
Be observant. When we are acutely sick with
a flu, cold or another
infection or disease, our CP probably decreases about 2 or more times
from its usual level. What happens with your digestion? How would you
feel if you were to eat your regular meal while sick? What would happen
with your CP? Which meals and foods do you prefer when you are sick?
Questions. For primitive people, it was vital to defend
themselves any time, day and night, including after meals. Could they
be physically strong and mentally fit after meals if their usual CPs
were about 20-25 s (as in a modern population)? What would you expect
their usual CPs to be?