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?

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)
Sitting and reading  
Watching TV  
Sitting still in a public place (e.g. a theatre, a cinema or a meeting)  
As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break  
Lying down to rest in the afternoon when the circumstances allow  
Sitting and talking to someone  
Sitting quietly after lunch without having drunk alcohol  
In a car or bus while stopped for a few minutes in traffic  

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

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: https://eprovide.mapi-trust.org

Reference: Dr Johns’ personal website about the ESS. Available at: http://epworthsleepinessscale.com/about-the-ess/. Accessed November 21, 2011

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.