Can’t sleep? It could be due to allergies…

Histamine is an incredible natural chemical that helps regulate immune reactions, gut function and central nervous system processes. It’s also the chemical responsible for common allergy symptoms like swelling, itching, mucus and sneezing. But did you know it can affect the quality of your sleep?

 

Histamine and sleep

To understand how histamine affects sleep, you must first understand the role of histamine receptors.

Histamine receptors are proteins that bind with histamine so that it can perform its various functions. Humans have four different types of histamine receptors. And three of these receptors (H1R, H2R and H3R) are present in the brain.

 

What you need to know

H1R receptors respond to high histamine levels by stirring up neurons in the brain, which stimulates arousal and increases perception and learning. (This is why anti-histamine medications that block the H1R receptors can cause drowsiness and have a sedative effect.) (1)

H3R, on the other hand, regulates histamine levels by inhibiting the release of histamine (and other neurotransmitters) when levels get too high. This is why medications that block H3R receptors increases alertness. (2)

 

The bottom line?

Simply put, excess histamine that interacts with the H1R receptors in your brain can keep you awake and lead to insomnia. And excess histamine that binds with H3R receptors, which inhibit the release of histamine and other stimulating neurotransmitters, can make you sleepy and may contribute to hypersomnia.

 

Manage your histamine levels

If you believe your sleeping patterns are being affected by high histamine levels, try the following:

  • Watch what you eat – some foods, particularly foods that are cured or fermented, are naturally high in histamine.
  • Restore the balance – Some gut bacteria are responsible for breaking down histamine. So, if your gut bacteria are out of whack due to illness, antibiotics, stress or lifestyle, your histamine levels will increase. Speak to your health practitioner about a probiotic that can help restore the balance.
  • Try vitamins – Some vitamins are thought to lower histamine in the body. For instance, studies show that vitamin C increases diamine oxidase, the primary enzyme involved in the breakdown of histamine. Talk to your healthcare professional about a vitamin or supplement that is right for you.
  • Try Positive Association Technique (PAT) – Chronic allergies and sensitivities contribute to high histamine levels, so managing those can be the best way to reduce your overall histamine levels. PAT is a non invasive, natural allergy treatment which:
    • is performed by qualified Naturopaths
    • draws on kinesiology and acupressure techniques
    • aims to identify your individual triggers and re-train your body to no longer react to them
    • Contact us today or book your appointment here

 

This blog is general information only, always talk to your health care professional before making lifestyle changes. 

Photo credit – http://arvadachamber.org/biofeedback-insomnia-leslie-burgess-nd-calm-spirit-acupuncture-massage/