Dementia: walking may improve sundown syndrome

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  • Walking may improve sundown syndrome and sleep quality in patients with dementia.

Why this matters

  • Clinicians may want to encourage caregivers, particularly spouses and relatives, to walk with patients with dementia to help relieve sundown syndrome.

Key results

  • 87 patients were not in the habit of walking; 67 walked regularly.
  • There was a significant correlation between sleep quality and sundown syndrome (P<.01).
  • Irregular walking that totaled in less than 1 h/wk was associated with shifts in sundown syndrome (P=.002).
  • Accompanying walker also affected sundown syndrome: spouse, P=.003; adult children or other relatives, P=.01; no accompanying walker, P=.005.

Study design

  • 184 patients with dementia were assessed for sundown syndrome and sleep quality.
  • Funding: None disclosed.


  • No other types of exercise were tested.