Early mornings


Registered User
Sep 6, 2006
Hello everyone, this is my first post. My 84 year old mum has been suffering from severe short-term memory loss for 10 months. She has not been diagnosed with AD and her cat scan didn’t show any stroke damage, but her symptoms developed so suddenly that I think she had a small stroke.
At first these symptoms were accompanied by quite bad early morning depression, though this gradually disappeared throughout the day until in the evening she was pretty much her old cheery self.. She was put on Citalopram some months ago and this has done wonders for her morning depression.
Her mental health consultant agreed to try her on Aricept 5 weeks ago, with no noticeable effects so far, but her morale is still very much at its worst first thing in the morning when she feels at her most confused and also very tired, and yet as before she improves throughout the day and is good company in the evening, and sometimes can even joke about her condition.
Do others suffer the worst of their symptoms in the early morning in this way? Is this pattern typical? I would be very grateful to hear about others’ experiences.


Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Hi Linus

My 87 yr old Mum is very much the same as yours. Although not actually depressed (or at least, not diagnosed as such) she is certainly at her 'slowest' for the 1st couple of hours each morning, and aware of the fact. She says things like "I can't seem to wake up this morning" or "My head feels all muzzy, as if I have a hangover". As the day goes on, she picks up and becomes more her old self in character, although the short-term memory is still drastically bad. From accounts here on Talking Point, and discussions with other AD/dementia carers, these are pretty typical symptoms and patterns.
As regards the Aricept, Mum has been on it for about 16 weeks now and - like you - I didn't think it was making any difference. However, in her 2nd MMSE test her score stayed the same as in her 1st test, and the consultants opinion was that without it her mental ability would have declined. It doesn't turn the clock back, but slows down the deterioration.

Hope this helps, I expect you'll get other views & opinions as well soon.

Best wishes


Registered User
Aug 9, 2006
Welcome, you're not alone.

Dear Linus,

A very warm welcome to TP. Yes, I am facing the same situation as you are. The scenario I'm facing is generally as below:

Wakes up, has breakfast around 9am. Grouchy. Has a short nap. Wakes up, looses temper 'cos she doesn't remember she's had breakfast. Gets angry that she's not been fed. Goes back for another short nap. Wakes up, expects lunch ready. If not ready by 11am, looses temper. If it's not what she think she wants at that moment, loose temper. Eats, goes to sleep. Wakes up, eats lunch second time. Sleeps. Wakes up, eats 3rd time. If food is restricted 'cos she's eating too much, gets very angry and hits table to show anger. Normally happens till 3pm. Then, it normally gets slightly better. Night time isn't as bad, just the normal grouchiness. Happens almost every day.

You're not alone.



Registered User
May 10, 2006
Mum's up at 6am every morning, she's usually in a good mood unless she thinks that I've stopped her going to day care, that can lead to her being in a bad mood all day.

Things can go downhill after 6pm, then in and out of bed until 2am most nights....... Plus anything and everything in-between ....



Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
At first these symptoms were accompanied by quite bad early morning depression, though this gradually disappeared throughout the day until in the evening she was pretty much her old cheery self..
Gosh sounds like me :rolleyes:

JT13 Snap my mum the same , but does not lose temper .your day sounds like mine exsept 3 days a week mum go to day centre

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi, Linus and welcome.

My mum has recognised for herself that she is usually 'worse' in a morning and improves as the day goes on - in terms of memory, mobility - even eyesight.. .... admitted to the psych-ger that she doesn't get out of bed in the morning until she is sure she can remember my name .... but can be quite capable of routine practical tasks on her own .....

My mum just had her CT scan - I think we are all (meds and me) expecting it to confirm 'vascular' problems .....part history of TIAs, and part the fluctuations in her symptoms - from morning to evening - from one day to the next ... from one hour to the next minute even.... then again, I'm trying to keep an open mind about what is 'typical' or symptomatic.....

Just know that you're not alone in this....

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Sep 6, 2006
"My head feels all muzzy"
How funny, my mum uses exactly the same words (including “muzzy”!) every morning.
Thanks to all for the welcomes and replies. Yesterday morning was odd. For the first time since mum’s dementia arrived 10 months ago she acted perfectly “normally” for the first hour after getting up, i.e. no complaints of confusion or tiredness and chatting away merrily, before the usual morning symptoms descended . I was quite startled!
Its back to the usual pattern this morning though.


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
Well my Dad was quite the opposite; always at his worst in the late evening, this I understand is not uncommon and is known as "sundowning".

Is it possible that you mum is suffering from some sleep disorder which means she is not getting a good night's restful sleep? That could be many things from repeated waking in the night to sleep apnea, and we all know how awful you can feel after a bad night.

So it is worth telling your mum's GP, etc, all about these problems. If they don't know they can't help.

As regards to Aricept, we were told that some people get no benefit at all, and of those that do benefit, most get a "reprieve" in that their symptoms do not develop as quickly as they would without the drug. Some people actually get an improvement.

We are very lucky in that Dad is one of those , his score improved by several points.

You might be in the position that whilst Aricept has not made a visible improvement, it has made an invisible one, in that the decline which might otherwise be evident, is not.

We also found that it took between two-three months of Aricept to show the maximum benefits.