Does eating tuna for lunch make you sleepy? We investigate a theory...


There are many reasons not to eat canned tuna for lunch if you work in an open-plan office – and they all have to do with the distinctly fishy smell.

But the Mamamia Out Loud team might have discovered another reason not to chow down on the smelly stuff at midday.

Rachel Corbett, Jessie Stephens and Mia Freedman discussed a theory first proposed by Mia’s husband Jason Lavigne: that tuna makes you sleepy.

“He discovered that when he ate tuna he would get really, really sleepy in the afternoon. He started Googling it and found some evidence to support it – and I said ‘that’s rubbish’,” she said on the podcast.

“And then I had tuna yesterday and he said, ‘you can test my theory’ and I went ‘that’s rubbish’ and I had a tuna wrap and I swear, within 45 minutes I was just ready to crawl up under my desk and go to sleep. I was exhausted”.

Mia shares her (very anecdotal) tuna theory. Post continues.

Rachel Corbett was a fan of the theory, only because she’s someone who firmly believes tuna should never be consumed in an office.

“It is not a good office snack. So this is probably a good thing. If you don’t want to get sleepy in the afternoon, don’t bring in your tuna sandwiches.”

Jessie Stephens joked she’s never eaten tinned tuna and she’s never been tired – so it must be true.

As for the scientific evidence to back this theory up, well some foods are known to make people sleepy.


For instance, bananas are high in magnesium – a nutrient that aids sleep, while foods high in fat and/or simple carbohydrates (like pizza) are known to result in a blood sugar spike and insulin crash as well as zap you of energy from work it takes the body to process fat.

When you do want to get a good night’s sleep, try some of these sleep hacks we tested. Post continues.

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Some digging found that tuna is a good source of vitamin B6, which the body uses to make melatonin (aka the sleep hormone). (It also contains tryptophan, which aids sleep, but does not cause drowsiness.)

Author and doctor, Pamela Peeke told fish high in B6 is best eaten at night to harness it’s “sedative effect”.

But then again, there are people who eat tuna for lunch every day and never feel like dozing off at work. So maybe it’s just Mia.

Do you find tuna makes you sleepy? Tell us about it in the comments below.