How the Epworth Sleepiness Scale Identifies Excessive Sleepiness

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale utilizes a standardized approach to assess an individual’s self-assessment of their level of daytime sleepiness. By using a brief set of questions, this test efficiently measures a person’s likelihood to fall asleep during regular daily tasks. By quantifying a person’s level of daytime sleepiness through the ESS, healthcare professionals can assess the severity of excessive sleepiness and determine if further investigation or treatment is required. It serves as a helpful screening tool for identifying individuals who may be at risk of sleep disorders or have impaired daytime functions due to sleepiness.

How Is Your Score on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale Calculated?

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

0 = Would never doze or sleep

1 = Slight chance of dozing or sleeping

2 = Moderate chance of dozing or sleeping

3 = High chance of dozing or sleeping


Chance of Dozing
Sitting and reading
Watching TV
Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g. a theater or a meeting)
As a passenger in a motor vehicle for an hour or more
Lying down in the afternoon
Sitting and talking to someone
Sitting quietly after lunch (no alcohol)
Stopped for a few minutes in traffic while driving
Total Score |

What Does Your Score on the ESS Mean?

Score Analysis

The scores from each question are then added together to obtain a total score, ranging from 0-24. The higher the score indicated a higher level of daytime sleepiness.

  • Score of 1-6: You’re getting enough sleep
  • Score of 4-8: You tend to be sleepy during the day; this is the average score
  • Score 9-15: You are very sleepy and should seek medical advice
  • Score 16 or greater: You are dangerously sleepy and should seek medical advice

This test is not a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis and treatment. If your total score is 10 or higher, review this form with your health care provider (pdf).

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