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Epworth sleepiness scale refers to a scale that is used to measure daytime sleepiness through the use of a short questionnaire. It was introduced in 1991 by Dr Murray Johns of Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. (Billiard, 2003). Dr Murray Johns used the Epworth sleepiness scale test for assessing the daytime sleepiness of patients in his private practice of Sleep Disorders Medicine.

The questionnaire asks the patient to rate his or her probability of falling asleep while undertaking various tasks on a scale of increasing probability from 0 to 3 for eight different tasks. The scores for the eight questions are added together to obtain a single number. A number in the 0-9 range is considered to be normal while a number in the 10-24 range indicates that expert medical advice is needed.

The main purpose of carrying out an Epworth Sleepiness Scale test is to find out if one has sleep apnea related problems such as insomnia which is difficulty falling asleep or Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) which refers to the tendency of falling asleep during normal working hours (Morin 2003).

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Sample of an Epworth Sleepiness scale

A Volunteer Kristine Garcia was my subject and the results are as follows.

0 =No chance of dozing

1 = Slight chance of dozing

2 = Moderate chance of dozing

3 = High chance of dozing

Chance of Dozing

Sitting and reading

Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g. a theatre or meeting)

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

Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit

Sitting and talking to some one

Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol

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

Kristine Garcia had an Epworth score of 9 and therefore had an average amount of sleepiness. If the score would be above 10, it the advice of a medical specialist is needed urgently. The Epworth sleep test results does not prove or disprove that one has Sleep Apnea or any sleep related problems. Many other things could contribute to excessive sleepiness, and this serves just as a denotation or rather an indication that further investigation is required. It's important to take notice of the results and consult medical doctor if your score is high.

Epworth sleepiness scale test is a subjective method test that is based on the principle that degrees of sleepiness can be measured by how quickly one falls asleep (sleep latency) when given the opportunity to do so. This test is useful as screening tool, and the results acquired cannot be wholly relied upon, but can be useful for clinical practice as well as research. The Epworth score cannot distinguish between abnormal and normal sleep latency.

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