Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sundown..... Symptoms increase around sunset...

I (almost) always feel strange between 4pm-8pm.....

Right now it is 6:30 and the strangeness has set in.  It's not too bad today.

Mostly this strangeness is an increase in my symptoms.  Often it is a depressed feeling, but today it seems to be a glowiness.  Sometimes it presents itself as anxiety.  It's not always the same feeling, but it's always a wrong feeling.  Many of the days, recently, I have a sadness during this time period, that's not here during the rest of the day/night.

Once the sun has set, I usually go back to feeling fine.. I haven't figured out what the reason is behind this.  I thought it might be the change in light, but even on overcast days I seem to have a peak in symptoms during this time.  I thought it might be blood sugar changes, but even when I eat early, I still get the symptoms.

So mostly I just write this incase this experience is more common that I've found online (my searching hasn't found anything much).

Mostly I treat this evening mood disturbance how I try to treat any other mood change.  If I can, I keep doing what I normally do, and just tell myself that I'm experiencing bipolar symptoms.  If I need to, I do one of the things that tends to calm me - take a nap, listen to music, take a walk, etc.   If I can sleep, that's just about the best solution, but I'm not always tired - just symptomatic!

Thinking back on my life, I've had changes associated with this time of day for a long time.  Perhaps many people do experience a change during the early evening time, and all that I'm experiencing is an exaggeration of the change that everyone else gets. Of course, being tired in the early evening is normal.  Coffee with dinner is popular.  Energy drinks are just about made for this time of day.  (Not for me, though. I can't tolerate too much caffeine.)

P.S.  I am familiar with the term sundowning. It refers to symptoms in people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  They often have an increase in confusion and other Alzheimer's symptoms. I haven't heard of it associated with any other form of mental illness.


  1. I experience this in exactly the same time frame -- between 4 and 8 pm. Sometimes it's barely noticeable, and sometimes it results in psychosis, but it's always, ALWAYS around the same time of day.

    My pdoc told me that it has to do with cortisol levels and how they vary throughout the day. He suggested eating a little bit of dark chocolate (with as little sugar as possible) at about 3:30. It seemed to help stabilize things a bit. There's a small amount of caffeine in chocolate, but there's also a ton of magnesium, so maybe that helps? I dunno.

    I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one with symptoms you can set your watch to!

  2. Thanks for your comment! I love dark chocolate. Sometimes I do eat it when I don't feel good. Maybe I'll have to try that more often.

    That's interesting that it might be cortisol! Something I hadn't considered. Sounds like a smart pdoc :)

  3. about 4:00 is when my brain and body try to shut down, and on some days no matter what I do I have to sleep, and I wake up (or if I didn't sleep I'm no longer tired) at about 8:00, it also seems to be the time of day when my anxiety levels go up.