What makes you Sleepy after Thanksgiving?

CO2 or Trytophan

For years, scientists have told us that the reason we feel tired after eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal is that turkey contains tryptophan, a natural sedative. But the staff at CO2Meter has also known for years that high carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in any space filled with individuals, can directly affect us as well.

But, could high CO2 levels around the table be the reason everyone feels so drowsy after their Thanksgiving meal?

In the interest of science (and the holidays) we decided to bring back our 2013 "Thanksgiving Test", see the original 2013 video here

In the past, some of the CO2Meter team would get together for our annual "thanksgiving meal" while logging the CO2 levels in the break room.

In the original break room, eight of our staff members sat down to a traditional dinner featuring turkey, dressing, cranberries and all the trimmings. While eating, a large CO2 meter was placed on the wall for the video, and a second meter was used to log CO2 levels

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we thought it would only be fitting to re-do our original test and see those CO2 levels in action using the IAQ Mini CO2 Monitor. 

Now, not only did the CO2Meter team double in size from our 2013 video, but the room space doubled its size as well. 

Watch the 2023 CO2 test video here: 

Here are the results from the study:

CO2Meter Friendsgiving CO2 Levels

A - Beginning of meal. The CO2 levels in the office had settled at 400 ppm when the office opened to 1,000ppm once everyone started to enter and settle in. This is normal every day.

B – Thanksgiving lunch is served. From the time the staff was seated until the meal was over, CO2 levels rose dramatically by the minute! By the end of the meal, the CO2 level peaked at 1,600 ppm! 

C – Cleanup. People began to leave the room. Opening and closing the doors lowered the CO2 levels to about 1,200 ppm.

D – Dessert. Everyone came back into the room, and the CO2 levels returned to their peak of 1,600 ppm. The general consensus was that everyone was sleepier than when the meal began.

E – Experiment Ends. During discussion, we realized that we didn’t have a control group of people who did not eat the turkey, so our results were fairly inconclusive. Everyone finally left the room for some fresh air so they could wake up before getting back to work!

Happy Holidays everyone, and of course, we hope that this test may have inspired you to create your own CO2 Thanksgiving experiment at home and share your results with us, too!

For more information on Carbon Dioxide Monitoring, visit us here.


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