Does Oatmeal Make You Tired? Causes & Solutions

What we consume in the morning affects our productivity during the day. So, it’s important to choose a diet that has the essential nutrients and ingredients to help you stay energetic.

Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast meal with healthy fiber and enough carbohydrates that the body needs.

Unlike most cereals, it can help you maintain energy levels for a long time. However, a few people have complained of feeling tired after eating breakfast oatmeal.

If you often feel tired after eating oatmeal or experienced fatigue at a point in time after indulging in a bowl of oatmeal, this article explains why.

Can oatmeal make you feel tired?

Yes. Although oatmeal is a recommended healthy breakfast, eating highly processed brands in the morning can make you tired.

Study shows that foods with high glycemic index load quickly raise the sugar level, but it also crashes quickly because insulin takes sugar from the bloodstream.

Tiredness and irritability are associated with fluctuations in blood sugar. This is why eating processed oatmeal brands with high amounts of sugar can cause tiredness.

Can oatmeal make you feel sleepy?

Yes. Oatmeal contains tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium, ingredients that make the body calm and relaxed. These ingredients also help relieve anxiety and stress and act as sleep inducers.

As soon as you eat a bowl of oatmeal, the carbohydrate promotes the release of insulin, which aids the transmission of tryptophan into the brain.

The brain then converts this tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, appetite, mood, and pain.

Therefore, eating oatmeal in the morning and especially at night can induce and improve sleep. It could help you relax, destress and feel better.

How to eat oatmeal to avoid fatigue

Follow these recommendations to avoid tiredness after eating oatmeal:

1. Choose the right oats

Some brands of instant oatmeal contain sugar and add-ons in high quantities which gives them a high glycemic index. Eating them can spike up blood sugar levels and make you feel tired and cranky after a while.

To avoid this, you have to consume oats that are less processed.

Steel-cut oats, old-fashioned oats, and plain versions of instant oatmeal are the healthiest to eat. They are not packed with sugar like processed cereals.

2. Control what you include in your oatmeal

While some people prefer to cook their oatmeal with water, others prefer milk. Either option gives you a longer-lasting boost, but you should be careful with the add-ons you use.

Instead of sweetening your oatmeal with sugar, use brown sugar, a little honey, or a drop of stevia. Also, add flavorings like cinnamon, blueberries, or raisins.

These make your bowl of oatmeal more nutritious without really increasing the carb count.

3. Eat a moderate portion

The quantity of oatmeal you eat can cause a sugar spike and make you tired. The more oatmeal you consume, the higher the glycemic index.

Moreso, oatmeal doesn’t digest quickly. Overfeeding yourself with oatmeal in the morning may cause bloating.

This means that your body won’t maximize the nutrients from the food and you’d feel too full. You may begin to feel tired as a result of the heaviness.

You should stick to a cup or one and a half cups at most in the morning. Also, instead of adding more oatmeal to leftover milk, drink it.

How does food affect energy levels?

As carbohydrate enters the body, the sugar from the food goes into the bloodstream and gradually increases blood sugar level.

During this process, the body secret insulin which transports sugar from the bloodstream and stores it in the muscles and liver so that it can be used later.

The higher the number of carbohydrates in the food, the more insulin the body releases to normalize blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index determines how food affects sugar levels. Foods with a high glycemic index lead to a greater spike in blood sugar and how long it stays high.

Foods that cause tiredness are known to have a high glycemic index, but those with less sugar but high fiber help your blood sugar rise slowly and sustain energy for a long time.

Which foods cause fatigue?

Here are some foods that will make you feel weak and tired:

1. Baked goods

Most baked goods such as cakes, cookies, donuts, and muffins, contain bad fat and sugar in high amounts. Hence, they cause a high energy boost at first, but it often doesn’t last long.

Moreso, they are made up of refined carbohydrates. This type of carbohydrate lacks essential nutrients that the body needs.

2. Potato chips

It’s a spicy, salty, and crunchy snack that could be quite addictive. But in all its sweetness, it’s a chunk of fats and unhealthy carbohydrates.

Because of its high sugar content, it can boost your energy fast but only for a short time. Eating it with a creamy dip makes it even more dangerous.

3. Caffeinated drinks

Avoid starting your day with caffeinated, carbonated, and sugary drinks. They have no nutritional value; they can also make you feel tired upon digestion.

Instead start your day with a cup of water, coffee, or herbal tea.

4. Cherries

Cherries are great for bedtime than for breakfast or mid-day. This is because it contains tryptophan in high amounts. So, eating it in the morning or for lunch can make you tired and sleepy.

5. Banana

Bananas contain tryptophan, magnesium, and potassium which are nutrients that reduces anxiety and helps the body relax better. So, if you take a lot of it during the day, you may begin to feel sleepy.

How long does oatmeal give you energy?

Oatmeal contains a healthy amount of carbs and a high fiber content which is responsible for slow digestion and energy absorption. This means that oatmeal helps to sustain energy in the body for up to three hours.

Oats also contain vitamin B and minerals like niacin, thiamin, and folate which work together to aid energy metabolism in the body.


Which foods boost energy during the day?

Oatmeal, potatoes, nuts and seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and unprocessed foods.

What happens if you eat oatmeal before bedtime?

You will have a good night’s sleep. Oatmeal contains melatonin, tryptophan, and magnesium, ingredients that help you relax better and induce sleep.

Is it better to eat oatmeal in the morning or at night?

It’s okay to eat oatmeal in the morning or at night. Oatmeal contains nutrients that reduce LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. It also reduces hunger pang and eases bowel movement and metabolism.

Is oatmeal good for breakfast?

Yes. Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast food that is rich in fiber and carbohydrates to sustain energy during the day. However, those processed brands with added sugar and additives are less healthy.

So, you should avoid eating them if you must stay productive during the day. Instead, go for plain instant oat, steel-cut oats, and old-fashioned oats.


Foods with high sugar could make you tired, but there are more prevalent causes of fatigue.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and the shortage of healthy red blood cells in the body popularly known as anemia are also common causes of body weakness.

Constant fatigue can also be associated with insulin resistance. It affects the body’s ability to digest carbohydrates which could lead to sugar spikes.

But, if you often feel tired after taking oatmeal, you should see a doctor.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.

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