The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) can be used to evaluate a person's usual daytime sleepiness. It can be used to screen patients for sleep disorders and to prioritize sleep studies. Effectiveness of treatment can be monitored by following changes in the score. It was developed at the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.



(1) sitting and reading

(2) watching TV

(3) sitting inactive in a public place (e.g., a theater or a meeting)

(4) as a passenger in a car for an hour without a break

(5) lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit

(6) sitting and talking to someone

(7) sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol

(8) in a car, while stopped for a few minutes in the traffic



would never doze


slight chance of dozing


moderate chance of dozing


high chance of dozing




• The situations would have to be modified for someone who had a different work-sleep cycle from the majority of the population. For these the afternoon might be the usual sleep time.


Epworth sleepiness score =

= SUM(points for the 8 situations)



• minimum score: 0

• maximum score: 24

• The higher the score, the greater the sleepiness behavior.

• The mean score varies with the population studied. For normal Australian hospital workers the mean score was 5.9 +/- 2.2.

• A score >= 10 can be considered excessive daytime sleepiness in German-speaking Swiss.

• Patients with obstructive sleep apnea tend to have scores that parallel the apnea severity.


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