Caring Tips for Sundowners Syndrome


Sleeping problems occur in almost all people with mental disorders, including those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Sleep determines our ability to do daily functions and maintain our physical/mental health. Many people believe that a difficulty sleeping is the center of the problem.

Sundowners describes an increase in behavior problems usually in the late afternoon and early evening. People may show signs of increased confusion, anxiety, straying, hallucinations and general disorientation. For those living with or caring for someone exhibiting “sundowning” symptoms, it can be frustrating to experience.

Once a routine is in place, life becomes easier when caring for someone with Sundowners Syndrome. Not all of these ideas will work for everyone; through experimentation, you may find the right one for your circumstance.

Care Tips for Sundowners Syndrome:

  • Allow for light in the morning to help establish an internal clock.
  • Daytime napping should be minimized to help regulate their sleeping cycle.
  • Encourage exercise to help expend excess energy.
  • Limit caffeine intake in the afternoon.
  • Create a private place just for decompressing.
  • Music or sounds like waves or birds can be soothing.
  • Consider purchasing a bedside commode frequently getting up and down can make it hard to get back to sleep.
  • Keep a comfortable temperature in the bedroom to avoid disruption during sleep.

Frustration for family members and caregivers is not uncommon when dealing with loved ones experiencing episodes of Sundowners. Outbursts and odd demands are not unusual, requiring absolute patience on the part of family members and caregivers to make it through this. Following these tips above may bring comfort back into your life. If you need additional assistance, contact us to experience the Orchard difference.