Diet and Sundown Syndrome

Diet and Sundown Syndrome

In recent years, it has been found that obesity is linked to a host of diseases that can give you a rough time in the years leading up to retirement. America’s battle with obesity has been in the news for quite some time now, and emphasizes the importance of the relationship with one’s diet and disease. It’s no different with a diet and Sundown Syndrome as well.

As with the battle against obesity, there are steps that need to be taken when it comes to keeping the symptoms of Sundown Syndrome under control by making adjustments to the diet of a patient.  This includes the limitation of liquids and meal times, in particular, in order to reduce the agitation of the patient during the hours of the late afternoon until the evening.

Firstly, caffeine doesn’t help in relaxing the patient and this is the reason why caffeine and candy should be completely avoided during the evening hours, and limited to mornings only. It is also recommended that the patient should be offered decaffeinated herbal tea or warm milk during the later hours instead. In addition, it is important to schedule an early dinner as well as limit snacks to being as light as possible before bedtime.

However, is there a medical reason why this should be done? Sundown syndrome, by nature, is a symptom or condition which is attributed to disrupted circadian rhythms. An example of this is when we wake up due to the ring of an alarm clock or the sunlight in the morning.

Yes, our body has an internal biological clock that has a time to do certain things, and this is determined purely by the day-night cycle that recurs day after day.

Interestingly, non-photic stimuli namely food also plays a part. Studies have shown that eating late at night, for normal people can cause a delay in melatonin secretion, which is necessary for sleep. So you can imagine what this kind of schedule does for people who already have disrupted circadian rhythms.

If anything, it won’t make the condition any better but actually aggravate it even further. If the patient cannot sleep then it becomes difficult for the caregiver and most importantly, the patient as well. This is because the patient’s diet also shares a relationship with the patient’s behavioral patterns.

So, hence it is advised that the patient should not only have to be active during the early hours of the day but also enjoy a diet that won’t disrupt the hormone secretions that are required for sleep and so on and so forth.
All in all, these adjustments should make the patient’s afternoons and evenings more bearable.

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