How to Stop Nighttime Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

How to Stop Nighttime Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

You’re fast asleep. You're not eating, you're not drinking and you haven’t taken any medication for hours.

And yet, you wake up in the early hours of the morning with a range of histamine intolerance symptoms - a headache, a streaming nose, or you’re finding it difficult to breathe. After another disturbed night’s sleep, are you tearing your hair out wondering why this keeps happening?

What are these nighttime histamine symptoms trying to tell you?

Histamine Levels Peak at Night

You may have already identified certain foods or beverages that cause a flare up of your histamine intolerance symptoms. And, you are probably trying very hard to avoid them. You may even be successful at making these changes to your diet. But our histamine levels are not only influenced by what we eat and drink.

Research studies from as long ago as the 1960’s, discovered that there are variations in our histamine levels according to our circadian rhythm (1). Your circadian rhythm refers to the natural cycle of fluctuations in body functions and processes that occur in a 24-hour period. This biological clock is influenced by changes in light, temperature and our environment (2)

It has been shown that histamine release is one of the many reactions in the body that are affected by the time of the day or night.  Histamine release tends to be lowest in the afternoon and then peaks in the early hours of the morning (1). Anyone who struggles with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or asthma will likely tell you that their symptoms seem to get worse between midnight and waking up in the morning (2).

Most people aren’t even aware that this is happening. But for those of you who are sensitive to the release of histamine, you are tuned in to what is happening within your body. You know when you are going to be hit with a possible long list of symptoms - and, the middle of the night is certainly not the best time to find yourself under attack.

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms at Night

When histamine release peaks at night, most people carry on sleeping, completely unaffected by this chemical change in their body. Histamine is normally degraded quickly by the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO), keeping levels low.


But, if you have histamine intolerance, your histamine levels are generally higher than they are in most people. The normal breakdown of histamine does not happen as efficiently as it should.  In someone with histamine intolerance, DAO activity is often reduced, resulting in rising histamine levels (3).

Excess histamine may cause one or more of a long list of symptoms. These include: headache, diarrhea, runny nose, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, itchy skin, anxiety and flushing (3). Because histamine is found in different parts of the body, the symptoms of histamine intolerance can vary and be widespread (4).

Problems arise when histamine levels continue to rise, often due to inefficient breakdown by a lack of DAO enzymes. When you consume food, beverages, alcohol and certain medications that either contain histamine or provoke the release of histamine, your histamine levels become so high that you are constantly on the edge of histamine intoxication. It doesn’t take much to tip you over the edge (5).

So when your body is naturally stimulated to release histamine in the early hours of the morning, and you are already teetering on the brink of a reaction, you wake up with some rather unpleasant symptoms.

4 Ways to Reduce Nighttime Histamine Symptoms

1. Drink ginger tea before bed - Ginger is a natural antihistamine and drinking ginger tea is one of the easiest ways to reduce histamine levels in the evening. Additionally, it can be a very calming warm drink to wind down with! To make an antihistamine, all-natural ginger tea, simply slice up fresh ginger and pour hot water over it. Steep for several minutes (the longer you steep, the spicier it will be with ginger flavor!) - in fact, I simply wait until the tea cools and leave the ginger slices in while drinking!


2. Use helpful supplements - Using supplements that reduce histamine levels such as DAO enzyme supplements and natural antihistamines can be helpful for degrading existing histamine in the body, stabilizing mast cells to reduce histamine release and, bringing down overall histamine levels. Although supplementation is, of course, always optional, it's important to weigh the benefits of it when considering your symptoms.


3. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule - ensuring your body is well rested will not only assist with appropriate biological functioning but will also assist with reducing stress, which is actually a known contributor to histamine symptoms. Ensuring you're sleepy, relaxed, and minimizing stress when it comes to bed time - as opposed to wide awake, agitated and worried about symptoms - is certainly going to assist with regulating histamine levels and improving your overall wellbeing and symptoms.


4. Follow a low histamine diet - Your body is programmed to release histamine overnight and in the early hours of the morning whether you like it or not. The best way to make sure that your histamine levels are not already high, and to avoid having a reaction, is to avoid ingesting histamine in the first place (6)


Get the FREE low histamine diet

A low histamine diet is an effective way to stop your symptoms in their tracks. Researchers found that following a diet that excludes high histamine foods, resulted in an improvement in urticaria - red, itchy hives - in just 4 weeks (6). Other studies have reported a symptom reduction of up to 70% when treating histamine intolerance with a low histamine diet (7). That looks like pretty good odds to me!


Keep in mind, although a low histamine diet is mainly focussed on symptom control, it is still a first and necessary step on your histamine intolerance journey. First off, a low histamine diet can give you information on whether or not you're histamine intolerant. Most individuals who are histamine intolerant experience significant symptom reduction within just 1-2 weeks of beginning the low histamine diet.


Additionally, the reduction in symptoms you will experience during the diet also helps to give your body a "break" from the damage being done during histamine flares. This break allows any other therapies or treatments you are doing to work more effectively, since your body is not in such a distressed state.


To get started on the low histamine diet with a list of foods that show you exactly what to eat and avoid, plus information on the next steps after beginning your diet, download my free low histamine diet guide. It's an e-book that contains all of the information you'll need to know for taking the correct steps on your histamine intolerance journey!


Get the low histamine diet guide



  1. Nakamura Y, Ishimaru K, Shibata S, Nakao A. Regulation of plasma histamine levels by the mast cell clock and its modulation by stress. Scientific Reports. 2017;7(1). 
  2. Christ P, Sowa A, Froy O, Lorentz A. The Circadian Clock Drives Mast Cell Functions in Allergic Reactions. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018;9. 
  3. Maintz L, Novak N. Histamine and histamine intolerance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(5):1185-1196. 
  4. Sánchez-Pérez S, Comas-Basté O, Rabell-González J, Veciana-Nogués M, Latorre-Moratalla M, Vidal-Carou M. Biogenic Amines in Plant-Origin Foods: Are They Frequently Underestimated in Low-Histamine Diets?. Foods. 2018;7(12):205.
  5. Kovacova-Hanuskova E, Buday T, Gavliakova S, Plevkova J. Histamine, histamine intoxication and intolerance. Allergologia et Immunopathologia. 2015;43(5):498-506.
  6. Son J, Chung B, Kim H, Park C. A Histamine-Free Diet Is Helpful for Treatment of Adult Patients with Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria. Annals of Dermatology. 2018;30(2):164. 
  7. Sánchez-Pérez S, Comas-Basté O, Veciana-Nogués M, Latorre-Moratalla M, Vidal-Carou M. Low-Histamine Diets: Is the Exclusion of Foods Justified by Their Histamine Content?. Nutrients. 2021;13(5):1395.
Author Photo

Anita Tee

My name is Anita Tee. I'm a nutritional scientist specializing in histamine intolerance. I hold a Master of Science in Personalized Nutrition and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Psychology.

For the past ten years, I have used my experience in nutritional and medical health sciences to create a scientifically backed, natural approach to healthcare that relies 100% on evidence-based research.

As I previously suffered from - and overcame - histamine intolerance, my focus is to increase recognition and expand the available resources and protocols available for resolving this particular disorder. To date, I have helped over 4,000 individuals fully resolve or better manage their histamine intolerance symptoms.

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