What is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and how is it used in the evaluation of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2020
  • Author: Vittorio Rinaldi, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a questionnaire filled out by the patient that is used to provide a standardized semiquantitative subjective assessment of daytime sleepiness.

In this questionnaire, patients are instructed to rate the chance of dozing off in a number of different situations. They are to choose the most appropriate ranking for each of these situations, working out how they would probably respond if it is something they have not actually done recently. Scoring for the Epworth Sleepiness Scale is shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Epworth Sleepiness Scale Questionnaire (Open Table in a new window)


0 - Would never doze off

1 - Slight chance of dozing off

2 - Moderate chance of dozing off

3 - High chance of dozing off

Score situation

_____ Sitting and reading

_____ Watching TV

_____ Sitting inactive in a public place (eg, theater, meeting)

_____ As a passenger in a car for an hour without break

_____ Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit

_____ Sitting and talking to someone

_____ Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol

_____ In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in the traffic

_____ Total*

*A total score of 0-5 is supernormal; 5-10 is normal; 10-15 is sleepy; 15-20 is very sleepy; and >20 is dangerously sleepy (arrange transportation for patient)

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