Sleep – The Epworth Sleepiness Questionnaire

The Epworth Sleepiness Questionnaire was devised by Dr. Murray Johns in Melbourne, Australia while working at the Epworth hospital.

It measures sleepiness rather than tiredness and is one of the most widely used clinical test in the world.

If the situations haven’t arisen recently imagine yourself in the situation now or in the recent past.

Use the following scale to choose the number which most closely matches your sleepiness reaction.

  • (0) – no chance of dozing
  • (1) – slight chance of dozing
  • (2) – moderate chance of dozing
  • (3) – high chance of dozing
Situation Chance of Dozing
Sitting & Reading 0  1  2  3
Watching Television 0  1  2  3
Sitting Inactive in a Public Place (like a theatre or meeting) 0  1  2  3
As a Passenger in a Car Without a Break 0  1  2  3
Lying Down to Rest in the Afternoon Circumstances Permitting 0  1  2  3
Sitting and Talking to Someone 0  1  2  3
Sitting Quietly After Lunch Without Alcohol 0  1  2  3
In a Car While Stopped for a few Minutes in Traffic 0  1  2  3

Copyright © MW Johns 1990-1997.  Used under license.

Add up your score which could be a maximum of 24. A score of 11 or over is consistent with excessive daytime sleepiness.

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) is a self diagnostic test and a first step that you can take to see if you have a current sleeping problem, whether it is a mild case of insomnia or something that could be more serious. The next step would be to take this and your sleep diary to your doctor who, these days, is much more aware of sleep disorders.

If sleep apnea is suspected then you may be referred to a sleep center for an overnight stay or be given recording equipment for a number of nights.
If narcolepsy is a possibility you would be referred to a sleep center for day and night time studies.
People with general insomnia may be referred to a counselor or psychologist or if there is significant mood disorders to a psychiatrist who may be able to reveal the reason for the disorder.