Epworth Sleepiness Scale

This scale is one measure of daytime sleepiness drawn up from criteria published by Dr. Murray Johns in 1991. It lists a number of ordinary tasks and asks the patient to rate the probability that they will fall asleep during such an activity.  It is simple and the tasks chosen are universal so can be used to rate sleepiness across a wide range of people who, naturally, live unique lifestyles.  The degree of sleepiness is graded by the individual from 0-3:

0 = would never doze
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing

The questionnaire is arranged thus:

 Activity    Grading
 Sitting and reading  0-3
 Watching television  0-3
 Sitting inactive in a public place  0-3
 As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break  0-3
 Lying down to rest in the afternoon  0-3
 Sitting and talking to someone  0-3
 Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol  0-3
 In a car, stopped for a few minutes in traffic  0-3
 Total  0-24

A total score of 1-9 is within the normal range however scores above 10 indicate further medical investigation.  Sleep Apnoea, the obstructive form discussed in another article on this site, is one cause of a high score on this scale. However there are abundant and diverse causes including narcolepsy, malignancies, hypersomnia, hypothyroidism or even lack of sleep itself. Other symptoms may guide a medical practitioner in the vast differential diagnosis associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.