The Epworth Sleepiness Scale: what is it and what does it measure?

September 24, 2020 2 mins read
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale: what is it and what does it measure?

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale, invented by Dr Murray Jones, is used to measure daytime sleepiness and can help detect if you have a sleep disorder.

Do you want to measure your average sleep ability? Take the test and find out how well you score.

What is the Epworth test?

The Epworth Sleep Scale test is a simple questionnaire that includes a list of eight scenarios. You must rate your likelihood to fall asleep in each case according to the following scores:

  • No chance of falling asleep = 0
  • There is a slight chance of you falling asleep = 1
  • You have a moderate chance of falling asleep = 2
  • There is a high chance that you will doze off = 3

The situations that you must rate are:

  1. When you are sitting and reading
  2. While you are watching TV
  3. Sitting still in a public place like a classroom or theatre
  4. Being a passenger in a car without a break for an hour
  5. When you are lying down to rest
  6. When you are quietly sitting after lunch when you have not had alcohol
  7. Sitting while you are talking to someone
  8. Sitting in a car in traffic for a few minutes

What does the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test measure?

The scale is used to determine if you are experiencing excessive sleepiness and fatigue that might require medical attention.

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale test can indicate conditions like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, hypersomnia, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse.

What is a normal Epworth Sleepiness Score?

After you have scored each situation, you get a total score between 0 and 24. Your score will give you an indication of your daytime sleepiness severity.

For example:

0-9 normal sleepiness range for adults

10-14 mild range of sleepiness

15-17 moderate sleepiness

18-24 severe levels of sleepiness

An average sleepiness score will be under 10. A score between 10 and 17 means you might be able to address the problem with a few lifestyle changes, like sticking to a regular sleep schedule.

If you take the test and get a score above 14, you may have excessive daytime sleepiness, and you may have to undergo a sleep study to determine any underlying causes.

It’s important to note that the Epworth Sleepiness Scale is subjective. Even if it is the most commonly used method for measuring daytime sleepiness, however, it’s not a definitive diagnosis of the quality of your sleep.

If you find yourself feeling sleepy during the day, try the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test. If your score is a little high, you can start taking steps to help you say goodnight to daytime sleepiness.