Sundown Syndrome Mysteries

Sundown syndrome is considered to be quite mysterious in basis. This is a condition where an individual experiences mild to severe confusion, and even varying degrees of agitation. Individuals that suffer from impairments that are cognitive based and those that suffer from dementia are most likely to experience this syndrome. The mystery behind this medical condition is that the symptoms typically only occur in the evening, or around the time that the sun is known to set. Medical professionals also refer to this condition as “Sundowning” and even as “Sunsetting”. Those that suffer from Alzheimer’s are also known to suffer from this condition.


While there is actually no specific cause behind the mysterious onset of this health syndrome, medical professionals have established many theories on why this condition develops. One of the most agreed on theories is that the individual that suffers from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of cognitive based impairments may become exhausted on a physiological and a psychological level towards the end of the day. As a result, there is a type of switch that occurs in the internal based body clock from the daylight hours to the evening hours. As a result, cognitive changes occur naturally. There are many that believe that complications associated with the sleep cycle such as insomnia and sleep apnea may result in the cognitive changes associated with the medical symptoms of this mysterious syndrome.

Common Symptoms

There are many symptoms that are commonly associated with this mysterious medical condition. The following represents these often challenging signs that an individual is suffering from this condition:

• Many individuals that suffer from sundown syndrome will exhibit the symptom of agitation. There may or may not be a culprit for this agitation.

• Most that suffer from this condition will become quite restless when the evening and night hours occur.

• It is quite common for an individual to experience mild to severe confusion.

• If a person suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may start to wander in an aimless fashion in the evening and the night hours.

• Emotional outbursts are quite common among those that suffer from this challenging syndrome. These outbursts may include anger, crying, screaming, and other symptoms that are similar in basis.

Caring for the Sufferer

If you know someone that is experiencing the symptoms of sundown syndrome, it is important to know and understand that this is a medical mystery. While it is not a new condition and many important facts have been concluded about the issue, it is still a challenging condition that medical professionals are working to learn more about on a day to day basis. If you are caring for a patient that suffers from this condition, it is important to avoid allowing the person to become too tired. It is also important to ensure that stress is reduced in the person. Working to ensure that the sufferer remains calm and offering a high level of reassurance is important to appropriately caring for the individual that suffers from sundown syndrome.

Return to Sundown Syndrome Top of Page

Return to Medical Mysteries Main Page

Return to Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Home Page