Sunset may be a period of heightened memory loss, confusion, agitation, and even fury for many older persons who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia, particularly in the evening. Sundown syndrome, also known as sundowners syndrome, or sundowning, is a type of behavioral change that occurs towards the end of the day.
Even though sundowners can occur at any stage of Alzheimer’s disease, they are more common during the later stages of the disease. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may be modest and inconsistent in the early stages, but they will increase with time until gradually diminishing at the end of the patient’s life.
The onset of sundowning can be triggered by a variety of activities and situations, such as exhaustion, loud sounds, pain, strenuous tasks, or a change in the environment or caretakers for your loved one.
When someone says they are ″sundowning,″ they are referring to a condition of bewilderment that occurs in the late afternoon and continues into the night. Sundowning can result in a range of behavioral responses, including bewilderment, anxiety, anger, and disregarding directions, among others. Sundowning might sometimes result in pacing or walking about aimlessly.
To keep older adults in bed throughout the night, provide a pleasant sleeping environment, ensure that their requirements are addressed, and develop a nocturnal routine.
If a person is diagnosed with cancer when they are in their 80s or 90s, their life expectancy is reduced. A small number of persons with Alzheimer’s disease live for a longer period of time, often for 15 or even 20 years.
An alteration in the ‘internal body clock,’ resulting in a biological misalignment between the hours of day and night. Reduced illumination can make shadows to appear larger, which may cause the person suffering from the disorder to misinterpret what they are seeing and become more irritated as a result.
In the evenings and as the person with dementia approaches night, calmly soothing them and providing clues to help them orient themselves is also beneficial. Keep the person going to bed at the same time every night if at all possible. People with dementia may benefit from relaxing activities at the end of the day and before bedtime. This may help them sleep better at night.
Sundowning can be treated with a variety of drugs, including melatonin, antipsychotics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and cannabis, among others.
Anxiety, restlessness, impatience, and confusion are some of the symptoms that can emerge in people who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia when the daylight hours shorten and the temperature begins to drop. Sundowning usually begins about dinnertime and lasts into the early hours of the morning.
Sundown syndrome affects up to one in every five patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. However, it may happen to older persons who do not have dementia as well as those who do.
When used to treat sundowning and other sleep-wake problems in Alzheimer’s patients, melatonin replacement has been proven to be helpful. The antioxidant, mitochondrial, and antiamyloidogenic properties of melatonin suggest that it may be able to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Suggestions for coping with the symptoms of sunset
Belsomra® has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to treat insomnia in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This medication is supposed to work by reducing the action of orexin, a kind of neurotransmitter that regulates sleep and waking cycles.