Dr Johns was the Founding Director of the Sleep Disorders Unit at Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. He developed the ESS initially so he could assess the daytime sleepiness of patients in his own private practice of Sleep Medicine. The ESS was first published in 1991. The questionnaire was subsequently modified slightly in 1997 (see below). It has become the most frequently used method worldwide for assessing a person’s average level of daytime sleepiness in daily life.

The ESS is a simple questionnaire with 8 questions answered by the person undergoing the test. Each question is scored on a scale of 0-3 with the total tallied to a score between 0-24. The higher the score, the higher the person’s level of daytime sleepiness.

THE EPWORTH SLEEPINESS SCALE

 
How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations, in contrast to feeling just tired? This refers to your usual way of life in recent times. Even if you have not 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 = no chance of dozing

1 = slight chance of dozing

2 = moderate chance of dozing

3 = high chance of dozing

 

                                                                                                                                             SCORE:

  1. Sitting and reading                                                                                              _______
  2. Watching TV                                                                                                          _______
  3. Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g a theater or a meeting)                      _______
  4. As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break                                     _______
  5. Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit                _______
  6. Sitting and talking to someone                                                                           _______
  7. Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol                                                       _______
  8. In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic                                          _______

                                                                                                          TOTAL                         _______