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Yesterday she had the sundowning symptoms. She was agitated, angry and wanted to leave. I tried to ask her where she wanted to go and what happened to make her upset, since I was not home at the time.


Now it is 7:30 in the morning and she is still not sleeping. What can I do?

My mother takes Trazadone, melatonin and Ambien at bedtime. She sleeps like a rock and never wakes up during the night. Yes, all prescribed by the same doc. She lives with YB and he states she doesn't even move from the original position she lays down in. He says he checks on her when he goes to bed and makes sure she's still alive, she sleeps that deeply. I think she goes to bed about 9 and sleeps 12 hours. Now she's 90, she also dozes in front of the TV much of the day, but there's nothing for her to DO, so as long as she's not up and wandering, they've left her on this combo of meds for years and years.

Every person is a different animal. My friend takes 1/2 of a Benadryl and sleeps for 10 hours. Benadryl makes me drowsy, but sure doesn't 'knock me out'. Friend is very worried about addiction, which makes me laugh---Benadryl is so mild.

But, hey, whatever works!! At some point, you have to get sleep or you go crazy. The older I get, the more sleep I need, I think 40 years of being sleep deprived due to family, work, etc., I now sleep like a rock most nights with the aid of Seroquel.
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Reply to Midkid58
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I found that you mom went through the same thing. I do my best no to let her nap during the day. If I notice her falling asleep I suggest a walk or other exercise. Her Doctor prescribed her Remeron and she seems to sleeping much better. Every night at bedtime though she starts getting agitated and worrying about everything. Many nights just reading to her calms her down. It’s funny how the same things she did with me as a child also work with her now! This is a tough thing to go through. Best of lick to you. Hang in there!!
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Reply to Nanababies
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Re-evaluation at her neurologist.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Melatonin. Works like a charm.
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Reply to redsnappa7764
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Usually there is a flurry of recommendations to test for UTI, but haven't seen any from others yet. Your profile mentions UTIs, so I would definitely have her tested - you could start with a home test. Even if not positive, follow up with doctor. Sometimes it doesn't even show up in their "simple" test and might require a culture. If that is ruled out, I would ask for a specialist who can perhaps tailor appropriate meds for your mother.

Just throwing out various medications here doesn't help a lot. You still need Rx for most and some are contraindicated, depending on the type of dementia or other medical conditions. Not all meds work for all people, so even if they suggest one, if it doesn't work, go back and see what they can recommend!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Sundown syndrome is common. I see a lot of it as an RN. Here's what we do to help. Lots of sunlight during the day. Turn on more lights in the early evening - shadows play all kinds of tricks with memory. Limit naps during the day to 30-90 minutes (about 1 REM cycle). Limit "blue lights" (TVs, phone screens, computer screens...) in the later evening - none for the last 2 hours before bed. Follow a bedtime routine. Get person up at same time every morning.

If your LO has difficulty sleeping occasionally, you can give Benadryl 25mg at bedtime. If your LO has difficulty sleeping most nights, get a doctor appointment to get prescribed sleeping medication(s).
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Reply to Taarna
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There are some things you can try. I have found that lavender in a diffuser is helpful. Hand massages with lavender based products sometimes help. Have you thought about having her evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist? They can assess the insomnia and sundowners and prescribe appropriate medications. When she is sundowning and agitated, do your best to remain calm, validate her concerns, and then redirect. Herbal tea or warm milk before bed? If she is sleeping a lot during the day, try waking her up so that she is more tired at bedtime. Best of luck.
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Reply to Peanuts56
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My mom started this before the time change...the other night I fell asleep wondering if she kept going to bed earlier, and then getting up earlier, if ultimately she'd come full cycle and it would normalize again LOL. I can't imagine our getting her to take a pill that she's not used to, and right now I'm more concerned of learning she has 13 cavities...I've just come to accept the sundowning knowing that the environment is safe so if she does get up she will do her schtick of fussing around in the kitchen setting the table, turning lights on, looking outside for the arrival of the newspaper through the window (doors are locked so she can't go out) and UNlocking our patio door (will soon have extra lock installed higher up out of her sight/reach).
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Reply to gdaughter
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Is your mother taken outside during the day? If not have her caretaker take her for walks around the yard several times during the day. When you are home you can take her outside again if it is still light enough. The exposure to direct sunlight helps the internal clock and the short bits of exercise helps tire the body for the end of the day. While it doesn’t ensure a full night of sleep at this stage it will help.
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Reply to glendj
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Bless your heart! Hopefully you have a great doctor-medical staff that will prescribe something to help your mom calm & sleep. There are several options & it may take trying different things to find one that works best. And with this disease, it seems that something that worked one day may not the next but don’t give up-try it again, give it some time. There was a time when my mom was so weary, agitated & wanted to “go home” (although she was at home) of an evening but this stage seems to have passed for her (bittersweet). We have added melatonin and one serequel to the nighttime meds which seems to help her fall asleep more easily most nights. Hang in there, keep asking questions and read up on what works for others - it does help! Many prayers & hugs!
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Reply to Mjhill
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I've had the same problem with my father. He's 86 and has dementia. It doesn't seem to matter if he sleeps during the day or not, he still will go to bed around 7 or 8 PM, and then get up two hours later, thinking it's morning. We tried melatonin, and it helped him to go to sleep but not stay asleep! The anxiety pills didn't help either. I finally started hospice, and they have given me some meds to keep him asleep! It's a mix of anxiety meds and sleeping pills.
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evander09 Jan 28, 2020
Could you tell me the name of the meds? My mom has anxiety issues and also was getting up several times during the night making herself a sandwich or coffee and toast. The neurologist started her on the generic form of remerone, an antidepressant for both the anxiety and sleep issues. I give her 7.5 mg a night and it truly has helped her anxiety and she still gets up sometimes during the night but not as much. Thanks
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Ppersonally, everything my dad does the medical staff revert to the phrase SUNDOWNING. No, he just forgot something...then he remembered. We all do this. I think it's a made up term and an easy out to explain away more serious issues. My dad is the same at 8am as he is at 8pm. As soon as dads PA blew my dad off as Sundowning I found a new doctor. Turned out, my dad needed carotid artery surgery.
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Reply to ShenaD
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Peekachu Jan 28, 2020
Good for you. Sundowning is a real phenomenon, but not for your Dad.
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They need to give her some sleeping pills and with anxiety pills
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Reply to Suetillman
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disgustedtoo Jan 28, 2020
As with your other comment, this is somewhat irresponsible. You can't just throw any old medication at someone who has dementia. Some meds don't mesh with dementia, others can cause severe side-effects. OP needs to be encouraged to discuss with doc, and hopefully have mom checked by a specialist in dementia/sleep issues. She also should have mom checked for a UTI before just throwing meds at her.
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Did you discuss with DR?   There are meds that can help with her agitation, and while not sleeping pill, will help her get to sleep
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Reply to FloridaDD
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When this happened with my mom, the neurologist at the hospital prescribed melatonin to reset her sleep cycle. Since then, I've had her on a daily dose at bed time. She hasn't had a problem since. Melatonin is safe. It's hard to OD on it. It's one of those things that if the brain needs it, it uses it. If it doesn't then having it around doesn't hurt.

Don't expect miracles. It's not a sleeping pill that will knock someone out in a few minutes. When I've tried it over the years, it does absolutely nothing for me. But that's probably because I produce enough naturally. Adding more doesn't help.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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Riverdale Jan 25, 2020
You might need to try more. I felt it did nothing until I increased the amount I took near bedtime. I wouldn't do that with a prescription medication but by doing this it has worked better for me. I still never oversleep and don't feel effects the next day.
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Have you talked to the doctor for any medication suggestions?

I've heard of many people having luck with CBD gummies. They don't have THC so they are legal in every state and can be found in many health food stores and online.

Unless her health prohibits it, a small glass of wine might help right now.
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Reply to ExhaustedPiper
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