Stress and Histamine Part 6: Sleep

Good sleep is essential for stress reliefGood sleep is essential for stress relief

Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential factor in stress relief. It’s especially beneficial for people who suffer from histamine intolerance.

Cortisol is the “stress hormone”. When we are sleep-deprived our cortisol levels rise. [Leproult et al]

Nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, author of “The Cortisol Connection”, says that when we sleep for only six hours per night instead of the recommended eight, our cortisol levels rise by a whopping fifty percent!

While we sleep, our bodies cease producing cortisol, because sleep is meant for healing and regenerating. [Weitzman et al]

Stress can cause poor sleep, and poor sleep can cause stress.

If you’re sleep deprived, due to stress or some other cause, your mind does not function as well as it should. It’s harder to concentrate and to think rationally. This, in turn, can exacerbate stress.

Stress and anxiety can contribute to insomnia and restless sleep. Even when we are asleep, anxiety can permeate our dreams and disrupt our quality of slumber. It’s important to curb anxiety before you lie down to sleep at night.

Some Tips for Good Sleep

Sleep on your side

An Australian survey found that people who slept on their side reported better sleep and fewer aches and pains.  Lying on your stomach gives you the worst sleep. [Gordon SJ. et al]

Don’t hit the snooze button in the morning.

Robert S. Rosenberg, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona says that after you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock, your sleep will be of poor quality. You’d be better off simply continuing to sleep for that extra 10 minutes. To make matters worse, by waking up enough to hit the button then falling back asleep for a very short time, you’re interfering with your body’s natural sleep patterns.

Do not use the bedroom for work

We subconsciously associate places with activities. For example if we use our bedroom as a study or office, the brain will associate that space with working, thinking, being alert, and solving problems. Whereas your place of repose should be associated with relaxing and unwinding.
Set aside a dedicated space for work and a dedicated space for sleep.

Teenagers should be allowed to sleep in when practicable!

Teenagers need 9 – 10 hours of sleep every night, yet most adolescents only average about seven or eight hours. Some sleep even less. The hormones swirling throughout the body during puberty shift teenagers’ body clocks forward by one or two hours. This means they are naturally inclined to stay up late at nights, and then sleep in when morning arrives. (Sound familiar to you?)
Early school starts prevent teenagers from sleeping in. Over time, they build up a  ‘sleep debt’ of chronic sleep deprivation, which can adversely affect their health and studies.

Other strategies

Meditation, a warm bath, soothing music – these are some other useful tools for pre-sleep relaxation.

Good sleep is a top priority for management of histamine intolerance.


References:

[Rachel Leproult, Georges Copinschi, Orfeu Buxton and Eve Van Cauter.  Sleep Loss Results in an Elevation of Cortisol Levels the Next Evening. Sleep, 1997. Researchgate.net.]

[Elliot D. Weitzman, Janet C. Zimmerman, Charles A. Czeisler, Joseph Ronda; Cortisol Secretion Is Inhibited during Sleep in Normal Man. 1983; 56 (2): 352-358. doi: 10.1210/jcem-56-2-352]

[Gordon SJ, Grimmer KA, Trott P. Sleep Position, Age, Gender, Sleep Quality and Waking Cervico-Thoracic Symptoms. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2007 Jan 01;5(1), Article 6. ]

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Low Histamine Christmas Pudding

Recipe of the month: DECEMBER
Low Histamine Christmas Pudding

Low Histamine Christmas Pudding – without dried fruit.

It’s impossible to make a traditional Christmas pudding when you’re avoiding dried fruits. You can, nonetheless, ‘have your cake and eat it’.
You need not be deprived of pudding just because you are on a Strictly Low Histamine diet. Make this delicious steamed golden syrup pudding, specially modified for people with HIT. The original version was a great favourite with my own mother and grandmother.

Ingredients

4 oz. (110g or 1/2 cup) sugar
2 free-range, pastured eggs
4 oz. (110g  or 1/2 cup) coconut butter or palm-oil-free vegetable shortening, melted
4 oz. (110g  or 1 cup) all-purpose plain gluten-free flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1.5 oz. (40ml) coconut milk, oat milk, brown rice milk or dairy milk
½ teaspoon natural, alcohol-free, oil-based vanilla extract
5 oz. (140g) golden syrup
rice bran oil spray or other vegetable oil spray

Equipment

Electric mixer with bowl
Another bowl
A sieve
A spatula
A steamed-pudding tin/mold, with a lid that can be fastened on securely
A large cooking pot with a lid
A wire rack that fits in the bottom of the cooking pot

Instructions

  • Sift together into a bowl the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer, add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • Pour in the milk and butter and continue beating until they are well blended.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, fold in the vanilla essence and the sifted dry ingredients from the other bowl, to make a batter.
  • Spray the inside of the pudding tin with oil and pour in the golden syrup.
  • Pour the pudding batter into the tin and fasten the lid.
  • Put the wire rack inside the large cooking pot. Cover it with water, place it on the stove-top and bring the water to the boil.
  • Lower the steamed pudding tin into the pot, so that it sits on the wire rack.
  • Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and boil the pudding for an hour and a half.
  • While it is cooking, lift the lid of the pot occasionally to check the water level. If water has boiled away, add more boiling water to keep the level up.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, lift out the pudding tin. Immediately invert it on a serving dish and lift away the tin from the pudding.
  • Serve drizzled with maple syrup, low-histamine custard, more golden syrup or coconut cream.

Decorate with a sprig of plastic holly for a festive look.

The pudding can be re-heated later if it is not to be eaten straight away, but do remove it from the tin while it is hot.

Wishing you a happy, healthy Festive Season!

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