Sundown syndrome will occur in many people with dementia as the day progresses, with worsening confusion and behaviors such as wandering. Sundown syndrome symptoms are usually at their worst late in the afternoon or early evening.
Sundown syndrome can include:
- Agitation and irritability
- False beliefs
- Increased confusion
More Louisville and Southern Indiana patients in need of neurological or neurosurgical care get their treatment from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other provider in the area. Our providers have the experience and skills to help those with sundown syndrome and support their families.
Sundown Syndrome Treatment
Sleep medications can make a condition worse for those who have a cognitive disorder like dementia.
Taking steps in the home to create a regular sleep-wake cycle can help.
- Natural light and keeping lights on in the home during the day will help maintain the daytime orientation.
- Physical activity and doing things that tire the person will help them sleep more at night.
- Use meals to set a routine to the day.
Look for opportunities for scheduled social interactions. Isolation tends to cause patients to deteriorate faster, but a regular schedule of activities and visits can help establish a routine.
Also, be mindful of safety around the house. Put locks on doors and windows. Motion sensors are cheaper than you may think and can alert you that someone is up and about.
What Are the Early Signs of Sundown Syndrome?
The personality and behavioral changes associated with sundown syndrome can be subtle and inconsistent at first. There may be some signs of unusual confusion, irritability and disorientation. The changes may not happen every afternoon or evening, but as the condition progresses, the changes will be more noticeable and more consistently associated with time of day.