The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) is a scale that can measure daytime sleepiness based off of your total score on a questionnaire. The questionnaire is made up of eight possible situations, each of which you give a score of 0-3 based on your likelihood to fall asleep in the particular situation, with zero being “no chance of dozing or sleeping” and three being “high chance of dozing or sleeping.”
The ESS was developed by Murray Johns, an Australian sleep disorder professional, in 1990. The questionnaire was developed to assess adults with daytime sleepiness. The purpose of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale is to determine whether you are experiencing excessive sleepiness during the day and if you may need to consult a sleep disorder professional about a possible sleep disorder.
There are a handful of fairly similar interpretations surrounding individuals’ sleep scores, so having a general understanding of your score can help you evaluate if you need to consult a doctor.
Understanding your score:
- A score of 0-7 is a normal range for healthy adults. This is where you should fall if you are getting enough sleep during the night to make it through the days without feeling sleepy.
- A score of 8-9 is often interpreted as experiencing average daytime sleepiness.
- A score of 10-15 indicates that you are a moderately sleepy person, depending on the situation, and may want to consider consulting a doctor.
- A score of 16-24 indicates that you are excessively sleepy and should consult a sleep disorder specialist as you may be suffering from a sleep disorder.
Common sleep disorders for which men and women with a 16-24 score may suffer from:
- Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
You should always consult a doctor if your daytime sleepiness interferes with your ability to stay awake and complete daily tasks. Getting restorative sleep is critical for having a productive day. If your sleep is interrupted or insufficient, it has a profound influence on your health and quality of life.