Histamine and Sleep

Spring is here, which means that a lot of us are struggling with allergies yet again. In most cases, the allergic reaction is produced by histamine activity, so we usually take antihistamines to stop the allergic reaction.

But how does all this affect your sleep?

Watch this week's episode of the Sleep Like the Boss podcast for more info on histamine, what foods might be affecting your histamine and your sleep and what to do about it.

If you enjoyed the episode, please support us, comment, like & subscribe to the channel.


If you're struggling with sleep, get 15 easy-to-implement sleep tips here:


I'm Annika Carroll, Women's Sleep & Health Coach, CEO of Sleep Like a Boss.
I help women get their sleep & energy back and want to help you feel like you're in your 20s again.

Because hormones impact sleep, every client at Sleep Like a Boss gets a DUTCH Hormone Panel, among four other lab screenings, so we can assess what is going on in their body and support their sleep, energy and overall well-being.

Want to work with me, reach out at contact@sleeplikeaboss.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

#sleeplikeaboss #histamine #allergies #womenshealth #foodintolerance

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About the Author: Joy Packard


  1. This is an amazing video, thank you Annika. What do you think about histamine and exercise? That is a big issue for me. I lift weights or run or paly football, and then I can get to sleep, but wake up at 4am and can’t go back to sleep.

    1. Hi CS, I am glad you liked the video.

      The link between histamine and exercise is a great question. If you look into the studies done on this, you can see that exercise increases histamine in a lot of people.

      Exercise is great AND it is a stressor on the body (which we want). The body releases cortisol when we exercise. This can also have an effect on histamine.

      Do you eat right before you work out? Do you take protein powders or eat protein bars before exercise? For people who have an issue with histamine, this can make the situation worse as certain foods push the release of histamine.

      Also, gut issues and increased estrogen can contribute to histamine issues.

      A 4 AM wake-up could be all kinds of things: parasites, sluggish liver detox, stress in general or from too much exercise or exercising too late in the evening, low blood sugar, getting too hot.

      Lots of potential reasons to explore.

      I hope this helped.

  2. My symptoms are severe diahhrea, nausea, vomiting,itching and all the rest. There is not much safe food to eat .

    1. Hi Helen, I am very sorry to hear that. Do you know what I causing your high histamines and these reactions? Have you looked into your gut health? Dysbiosis? Low DAO because of villi atrophy? These things can be healed.

    2. @Annika Carroll I don’t know what is causing my high histamine issues.I have had some problems all my life, am 86 now and only lately has it affected my stomach. I put it down to old age when everything gets worse. Yes, I know I have to take DAO or kidney extract with every meal, as well as betaine hydrochloride and enzymes and avoid fermented foods. I also take a antihistamine. I’m not too bad this way.

    3. @Helen Ndow well it sounds like you have a few remedies – and those are all great. And diarrhea, nausea, vomiting sound like there is more going on. I used to have severe gut issues, and my doctor ran all kinds of tests and never found anything. Until I started working with a functional practitioner who ran tests looking for different things and found the issues.

      I hope you can find some relief soon.

    4. @Annika Carroll oh yes I found Ginger tea works well for nausea and is so delicious, I drink it all the time,yes I know it’s a blood thinner, I take that in to consideration

    5. @Annika Carroll  Hi Annika, it sounds like you know a lot about this topic. I am literally suffering with after doing some research I’m positive I have issues with gut microbiota dysbiosis. I started having severe anxiety, depression, nausea, severe reactions to almost everything I eat. Can you please share with me what I can do to heal myself? I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. It’s such a vicious cycle. Not sleeping will put more stress on the body and raise cortisol for energy. Cortisol will break the gut lining and can cause digestive issues. That is why I run a stool test on all my clients to see what is happening.

      If you haven’t done so, it might be a good idea to look into that.

    2. @Annika Carroll you wouldn’t believe all the tests I have had including quite evasive ones but nothing wrong with me was found. My doctor told me the only training for histamine problems they have here in U.K. is to prescribe antihistamines. Thank you for your interest.

    3. @Helen Ndow I am glad to hear nothing was found to be wrong, but it still doesn’t get you a step further with this issue.

  3. Too many foods to count in my case, I’m desperate, don’t know exactly what antihistamine to take that would literally black all that histamine in my body, constantly puffy face, please help (I’m already not eating much, hungry and tired and sleepless nights for decades)

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. Sounds like you have lots going on. Keep in mind that the body doesn’t only get histamine from foods we consume but also makes histamine. Certain bacteria in the gut are histamine producers; Candida is a huge histamine producer in itself. Stress (elevated cortisol – hello insomnia) causes the release of histamine. Then there is the question: does your body still make sufficient amounts of DAO to keep that histamine in check. If not, why not? Is there a leaky gut at play?

      A puffy face can also be a detox issue.

      You might be a great candidate for functional testing to get to the root of what is going on, address it and resolve it. An antihistamine is a bandaid in most cases, but will not fix the issue. And if you need to avoid a ton of foods, this will cause nutrient deficiencies, low energy, etc.

      I don’t work with drugs, only natural supplements to balance what might be off. And most of these things should be taken temporarily and not long-term. At least, that is always my goal.

      You can always reach out if you would like to learn more: contact@sleeplikeaboss.com.

    2. Think of MCAS, for me all has began with HIT, now MCAS is considered. Do Stress makes all worse? Ah and I forget: Dont smoke. This is horror. Leaky Gut, Pathogens are negative. I think Antibiotics against Lyme killed my gut. And my cervical surgery made all worse

  4. This was very helpful. Thank you and YouTube for recommending this video to me! I never realized Histamine issues affect sleep… but makes total sense as I’m up late… again. 😂

    1. Hi Eileen, thank you so much for your comment and feedback! I am so happy it helped, and it might be a missing piece to solving your sleep puzzle. And yes, I would also like to thank YouTube for sharing this with many people.

      Wishing you a good night’s rest in the future!

    1. Hi @dreambotter6389, I am not an expert in skin conditions, but I took a quick look into a few studies on pubmed.org, and it looks like mast cells in the skin can react to histamine and cause the reactions. I would always look into gut health and hormones with any skin condition. Just what I also do with my sleep clients. I have had clients with autoimmune skin conditions (not psoriasis, though), which are in remission now. Gut health is key to that.

    2. @Annika Carroll – Sleep & Health Coach for Women Thank you for the reply, quick question: how to fix / better gut health?

    3. @DreamBotter with an autoimmune condition, I would test for it (a stool test) and then look into what needs addressing in particular. Is there an overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria, candida overgrowth, a parasite? You can work with a naturopath or a functional practitioner to do that.

      I would also go on an anti-inflammatory diet for a while and go 100% gluten-free to see if that makes a difference.

    1. Hi @justinebourke9449, I’m sorry to hear that. Anti-histamines don’t work for everyone. They can actually have a stimulating effect on some people (I am one of those). Everyone is an individual, and what might work for some (or lots of people) doesn’t work for all. It can be frustrating, I understand, but antihistamines are a bandaid, not a solution to a sleep problem.

  5. Can someone become dependent on antihistamines like Benadryl?
    Aren’t pharmaceutical antihistamines implicated in developing dementia?

    1. If you look at the research, people can build up a tolerance to Benadryl and will need to increase the dosage for it to work – and that would be considered dependent then. It is not intended for long-term use as people often do to address sleep issues.

      And from my research, the studies on dementia aren’t 100% conclusive yet. Diphenhydramine, the class of drugs Benadryl is part of, has been studied, and the result was that it may disrupt cognitive function, including memory. And long-term anticholinergic use has been associated with increased dementia risk. This, however, does not seem to be the case for the newer antihistamine drugs that are not in the diphenhydramine class. But a lot of them still don’t work for sleep either.

      That is why trying to get to the root cause of the histamine or sleep issue is the healthier and long-term more effective way to address sleep issues.

  6. my worldrecord today: slept until 15:45 h in the afternoon…- bloating, stomachache, diarrhoa, cant sleep at night, – tomatoes, camembert, spinach are deadly also mushrooms….

    1. Oh wow. I’m sorry to hear about your digestive issues; they interrupt sleep. Have you had a proper stool test to determine what is going on in your gut? Bad bacterial overgrowth, dairy issues? Issues with oxalates, nightshades and moulds maybe?

  7. I have inflammed turbinates throughout the year, which means blocked nasal passages mainly at night (they flow so much better during the day) and just had surgery to reduce them and made it worse, I barely sleep often and get 0-3 sleep a night and wake up with a dry throat. I have gut problems and many high histamines food you outlined, ie high volumes of lemon, vinegar, white beer, etc causes me bloating and diarrhoea. I don’t know where to begin to get to the root of the problem, but lack of sleep is driving me mad 😣Any suggestions please?

    1. I am sorry to hear this. Sounds like histamine is really an issue for you. It can be linked to gut health, hormone imbalances or copper. I would start working with a functional practitioner if you can to get on top of these issues. You can send me an email at contact@sleeplikeaboss.com to see if I can help.

  8. Thank you, very informative and interesting. I suffer with insomnia. I can fall asleep but constantly wake myself up. When my kids were little I first started struggling to sleep. I took a lot of antihistamine-based sleep aids. I also suffered with allergies as a kid and took antihistamines then. Do you think this abuse could lead to high histamine levels?

    1. Hi Paul, I’m sorry to hear about your sleep issues. Long-term use of certain antihistamines can lower DAO enzymes and thus make you more intolerant to histamine or lower your body’s ability to deal with histamine. But you can check your DAO levels in the gut to see if low DAO might be an issue for you.

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