What is Sundowning Syndrome, Neurological Condition Triggered After Sunset? All You Need to Know

Sunsets are usually something that people love to watch. As noon falls and we embrace the light and romanticised evening, it’s a part of the day that people usually enjoy. But for some people, it is not that happy. People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease may witness some changes in their physical and emotional being during the late afternoon or early evening. This is called the sundowning syndrome.

It usually affects people with dementia. According to the Mayo Clinic, ” The term “sundowning” refers to a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and lasting into the night. Sundowning can cause different behaviours, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions. Sundowning can also lead to pacing or wandering.”

What is Sundowning Syndrome?

Alzheimer’s and dementia are neurological disorders related to sundowning syndrome. While it is a recognised phenomenon, it is not clinically written in books. There is still a lot a research that is ongoing about this syndrome in a bid to properly comprehend the symptoms and what exactly triggers it. According to some experts, there may be a relation with the circadian rhythm of the patient.

Sundowning can have a negative impact on the quality of life. So far, certain lifestyle tweaks and medication can help manage the condition.


  • Restlessness
  • Irritable
  • Agitation
  • Disoriented

Risk Factors That May Trigger Sundowning

  • Fatigue
  • Spending a day in an unfamiliar place
  • Low lighting
  • Increased shadows
  • Disruption of the body’s internal clock

What is Dementia?

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) Dementia is a syndrome – usually of a chronic or progressive nature – that leads to deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological ageing. Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

What Is Alzheimer’s ?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behaviour. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
As per Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia case

While this is just generic information, it is important to note that it is always advised to consult a medical professional to chart out a proper course of action to manage the condition and be able to happily and healthily live with it.


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