It is normal for people to go through their days a little groggy, but for many it is hard to simply rate their level of sleepiness. Would you rate it on a one to ten scale? What different variables go into the equation? Luckily there is a way for sleep specialists to quantify sleepiness into an easily measurable scale that allows them to pinpoint potential sleep issues: The Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Man asleep at the wheel

Scale Background

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale was developed by Dr. Murray Johns of Epworth Hospital located in Melbourne, Australia in 1991. The test is presented as a series of eight questions that people engage in every day, such as “[sleepiness] as a passenger in a car for an hour without a break.” The person taking the test then writes a number between zero and three, with zero being no chance of dozing and three being high chance of dozing. The score is then added together. Scores between zero and nine indicate a normal amount of dozing while scores between 10 and 24 indicate that a medical expert should be consulted.

Applications of the Test

This test is ideal for identifying sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy because it is delivered in a standardized form. The questions are always the same which removes some of the subjectivity from someone simply estimating how drowsy they would be in a given daytime situation. The Epworth Sleepiness scale can also help indicate if a given method of treatment is effective as patients take the test after treatment has been administered.

It’s important to note that the Epworth Sleepiness Scale can’t actually be used to diagnose sleep apnea—it’s just a screening tool. To determine if you really have sleep apnea requires a sleep study interpreted by a sleep physician.

Trouble Sleeping?

Do you find that you have trouble sleeping at night? If so, you should consult a sleep specialist and take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Dr. Kevin Berry of the TMJ and Sleep Center of Colorado is trained in treating sleep apnea, and may be able to help you get a good night’s sleep. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (303) 691-0267 today.