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Epworth sleepiness scale

Epworth Sleepiness Scale


Using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) you can conduct a self analysis of how sleepy you are during the day. The results of this analysis can indicate whether or not further tests need to be conducted into an underlying sleep disorder which may be affecting you.


To establish whether you actually have sleep apnea your GP will refer you to a medical specialist. If you are referred to a medical specialist for a diagnosis, one of the things that will be assessed will be your level of daily fatigue. In order to do so, the international Epworth Sleepiness Scale is used. This scale was introduced in 1991 by Dr. M.W. Johns in the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia1. This questionnaire establishes whether your level of daytime fatigue is normal or above normal.

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale consists of a short set of questions which allows you to self-asses your level of alertness or sleepiness during the day. The questions consist of eight situations in which you may find yourself during the day. For every situation you indicate if you are sleepy during that activity and to what extent. The severity of your sleepiness is estimated from your answers.

A short questionnaire with which you can establish your level of daytime alertness or sleepiness.

Try to imagine you find yourself in the following situations and for each situation answer how big the chance is that you become sleepy/dozy.


In answering the questions you can choose one of four answers. Always select the answer (number) which best describes your state in those situations:


Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation (0,1,2,3):
0 = would never doze
1 = slight change of dozing
2 = moderate change of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing

When you have answered all eight questions you will have obtained a total score. The higher the score you have obtained, the higher your chance is of having sleep apnea. If your total score is above 10 we advise you to consult your doctor and discuss whether further examinations into underlying sleep disorders need to be conducted.

For more information concerning the Epworth Sleepiness Scale please go to the official ESS website.




  1. Johns MW (1991). “A new method for measuring daytime sleepiness: the Epworth sleepiness scale”. Sleep 14 (6): 540–5. PMID 1798888.