FREE Histamine Guide

Exploring How Histamine Impacts Your Sleep and Ways to Improve It

histamine sleep

Do you find yourself tossing and turning, desperately seeking a good night’s sleep? If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, struggling to sleep, there might be an unexpected culprit responsible for your sleep troubles: histamine.

Yes, histamine – a natural chemical our bodies produce–is key to the sleep puzzle. It helps orchestrate a delicate dance within us, regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Normally, histamine levels ebb and flow through the day, nudging us into wakefulness when the sun comes up. But when these levels become imbalanced or go haywire, they can wreak havoc on our rest, leaving us drowsy and worn out. 

But together, we’ll shed light on histamine’s role in keeping you wide awake at night and guide you toward restful nights. It’s time to take control of your sleep so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on your day! 

The Role of Histamine in Sleep-Wake Regulation

Have you ever wondered how your body knows when to wake up and fall asleep?

Well, histamine is partially responsible. This naturally occurring substance in our bodies acts as neurotransmitters and communicates messages in our brains. One of its main jobs is to promote wakefulness and keep us alert during the day, which is vital in our sleep-wake cycle.

When you’re awake and going about your day, it is released by specific brain cells called histaminergic neurons. These neurons produce histamine and send it to different parts of the brain, triggering a chain reaction that promotes wakefulness and alertness. 

When histamine is active, it boosts your brain’s activity levels. It helps you stay focused, pay attention, and be ready to respond to things happening around you. It’s like having an internal alarm clock that keeps you awake and attentive during the day.

But histamine’s role doesn’t stop there. It also helps in initiating sleep.

When histamine levels decrease, they signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep. As histamine levels lower, other sleep-promoting mechanisms start to take over. These mechanisms include the release of other chemicals and the activation of different brain regions that support sleep. Together, they create the ideal conditions for deep and rejuvenating sleep.

By understanding its role in sleep-wake regulation, we gain the power to optimize our sleep patterns and cultivate healthy sleep habits. With this knowledge, we can make informed choices to prioritize restful nights and energized days.

Influence of Histamine on Sleep Structure and Disruption

It’s role in sleep extends beyond wakefulness promotion. It actively shapes the structure and progression of your sleep stages, and an imbalance in histamine levels can impact sleep quality and contribute to sleep disruptions.

During the sleep cycles, histamine levels undergo significant changes. When we enter the wakeful state, histamine activity increases, promoting alertness and vigilance. As we transition into non-rapid eye movement (NERM) sleep, histamine levels decrease, allowing for deeper and more restorative sleep. However, during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, histamine activity rises again, contributing to the vivid dreaming experiences characteristic of this stage.

Disruptions in histamine signaling can lead to sleep disturbances. For instance, an excessive release of histamine (commonly called a “histamine dump”) can contribute to insomnia, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. On the other hand, a deficiency in these levels may result in excessive daytime sleepiness and fragmented sleep patterns.

Histamine Intolerance and Sleep Disruptions

Histamine intolerance is a condition where the body struggles to break down and metabolize histamine, leading to its accumulation. This can result in various symptoms, including sleep disruptions. 

Excess histamine can interfere with sleep-wake cycles, making it difficult to fall, stay, or experience restful sleep. It can also increase wakefulness, making achieving deep and restorative sleep challenging. Other sleep-related issues, such as insomnia, vivid dreaming, or restless legs syndrome, may also be triggered by histamine intolerance. 

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance at Night

histamine intolerance

Histamine intolerance can manifest with various symptoms at night, impacting sleep quality. Here are some common symptoms of histamine intolerance that may occur specifically during nighttime:

  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness and tossing
  • Itching and skin irritation
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Nasal congestion, sneezing, or difficulty breathing
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares

Experiencing these symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate histamine intolerance, as various factors can contribute to them. But, if you suspect histamine intolerance or have persistent sleep disturbances, talk with your healthcare provider to evaluate your symptoms and get personalized guidance.

Contributing Factors for Histamine-Related Sleep Issues

Allergies

Allergies trigger an immune response in the body, leading to histamine release. When histamine levels increase due to allergies, it can result in symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching, disrupting sleep and making breathing difficult.

Histamine-Rich Foods

Certain foods are naturally high in histamine or can stimulate histamine release in the body. Consuming these foods can contribute to histamine overload, leading to symptoms like insomnia, restlessness, and digestive issues, which can interfere with sleep quality. Additionally, some individuals may have specific food intolerances or sensitivities that trigger histamine-related symptoms, further impacting sleep.

Learn more about cooking low-histamine foods with my cookbook, Low Histamine Cooking in Your Instant Pot

Medications

Certain medications can interfere with histamine metabolism or directly release histamine in the body. For example, antihistamines are commonly used to block histamine receptors and alleviate allergy symptoms, but they can also have sedating effects that aid in promoting sleep. Conversely, some medications, such as certain antidepressants or pain medications, can increase histamine levels or interfere with its breakdown, potentially leading to sleep disturbances.

Stress

High levels of stress can impact histamine levels and exacerbate histamine-related symptoms. Stress can stimulate histamine release in the body and disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties in falling and staying asleep.

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as during the menstrual cycle or menopause, can affect histamine regulation and contribute to sleep disruptions. 

Environmental Triggers

Environmental factors, such as allergens, pollutants, or irritants, can trigger histamine release in susceptible individuals. Exposure to these triggers, particularly during sleep, can result in nasal congestion, sneezing, and other symptoms that disturb sleep.

Underlying Health Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) or some gastrointestinal disorders, can be associated with histamine intolerance and impact sleep. Addressing and managing these underlying conditions is crucial for improving sleep quality.

Alcohol and Other Beverages

Alcohol consumption can stimulate histamine release and disrupt sleep. Additionally, beverages like wine, beer, and fermented drinks contain histamine, which can contribute to the overload and sleep disturbances.

Strategies for Improving Sleep in Histamine-Sensitive Individuals

sleep histamine

If you are sensitive to histamine and experience sleep disruptions, specific strategies can help improve your sleep quality. Here are some strategies to try:

  • Consider a low-histamine diet: Some people find relief by following a low-histamine diet, which involves avoiding foods with high histamine content and focusing on fresh, low-histamine alternatives. This approach can help reduce the overload and alleviate symptoms affecting sleep.
  • Identify the root of your histamine intolerance: By pinpointing specific root causes, such as dietary triggers, gut health issues, hormonal imbalances, environmental allergens, or underly medical conditions, you can take targeted steps to address them and significantly improve your sleep quality.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene: Establish a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Create a relaxing sleep environment that is cool, dark, and quiet, and avoid stimulating activities and electronic devices close to bedtime.
  • Reduce stress: Incorporate stress-reducing techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or gentle yoga. Managing stress levels can help balance histamine levels and promote better sleep.

Everyone’s response to histamine and strategies for managing histamine-related sleep issues may vary. It’s important to find an approach that works best for you.

Get Started On Your Journey to Wellness

It’s never too late to get started on your journey to wellness! And I’m living proof of that!

I was in my 30s and a practicing functional medicine provider before I began piecing together my histamine intolerance issues. But when I realized that my symptoms and food sensitivities were being driven by histamine intolerance, I began following the plan outlined in my book and online programs. And now, I can eat most foods without any problems, most of my symptoms are gone, and I live a pretty normal life. 

And now it is your turn!

Learn how histamines impact your health and access my simple 3-step plan for overcoming your histamine intolerance with the Histamine Reset Online Program.

It’s time to change and take control of your health! Get started on your wellness journey today!

 

Resources

  1. “Histamine in the regulation of wakefulness – PubMed.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20851648/. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.
  2. “Histamine: neural circuits and new medications | SLEEP.” https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/42/1/zsy183/5099478. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.
  3. “HISTAMINE IN THE REGULATION OF WAKEFULNESS – PMC – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016451/. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.
  4. “Histamine Intolerance: The Current State of the Art – PMC – NCBI.” 14 Aug. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7463562/. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.
  5. “Restless legs syndrome is associated with mast cell activation ….” 15 Mar. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7075100/. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.
  6. “Evaluation of symptoms and symptom combinations in histamine ….” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6667364/. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.
  7. “The Circadian Clock Drives Mast Cell Functions in Allergic Reactions.” 6 Jul. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043637/. Accessed 12 Jun. 2023.

 

EXPLORE THE RECIPES, THE STORIES, THE METHODS AND CHANGES TO GET YOU BACK WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

DR. BECKY CAMPBELL

Hi, I am Dr. Becky Campbell. I work with men and women who’ve had a health set back and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach optimal health so they can perform their best in their careers and be fully present with their family again.

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