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Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

If you suspect you might have OSA, answer the following questions and take your answers to your GP.

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations, in comparison to feeling just tired? This refers to your usual way of life in recent times.

Even if you haven't done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you.

Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = would never doze
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing

It's important that you answer each question as best you can.

Situation Chance of dozing (0 = low, 3 = high)

What does my score mean?

Talk to your GP about your circumstances. Scores can be interpreted as follows:

  •  0-5 lower normal daytime sleepiness
  •  6-10 normal daytime sleepiness
  • 11-12 mild excessive daytime symptoms
  • 13-15 moderate excessive daytime symptoms
  • 16-24 severe excessive daytime symptoms

It may be useful to print this page to show your GP.

Copyright N.W. Johns 1990-1997. Used under license. Sample copy - do not use without permission.
Contact information and permission to use: Mapi Research Trust, Lyon, France. – Internet:

Reference: Dr Johns’ personal website about the ESS. Available at: Accessed November 21, 2011

If you have urgent concerns or need advice quickly, call our helpline on 03000 030 050 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Last medically reviewed: May 2016. Due for review: May 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.