Just how sleepy are you? When asked how they are, people often have the same variety of responses. These include an often dishonest fine, tired or stressed. Many people have an undiagnosed sleep disorder or have a lifestyle that gets in the way of quality sleep. More than one-third of Americans do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Adults need an average of seven hours a day in order to reduce their risk of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and stroke. If you’re like many Americans, you may want to consider looking into where you belong on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale
The scale was created by Dr. Murray Johns in 1990, with the final updates made in 1997. The goal of the scale is to understand each person’s level of daytime sleepiness. The scale is simple to take, in that it is in the form of a short questionnaire. A patient can take it in a matter of minutes by ranking the likelihood of dozing off to eight different activities.
- Watching TV
- Sitting still in a public place
- As a passenger in a car for an hour
- Lying down to rest in the afternoon
- Sitting and talking to someone
- Sitting quietly after lunch
- In a stopped car in traffic
The scale has been used and validated in many studies across the field of sleep medicine1. It’s typically only used for adults but has also seen positive results with adolescents. However, Dr. Johns saw the need for a scale specifically catered to youth, that he created the ESS-CHAD. The items listed with the youth version are more relatable to their age group.
- Sitting and reading
- Sitting and watching TV or a video
- Sitting in a classroom at school during the morning
- Sitting and riding in a car or a bus for about half an hour
- Lying down to rest or nap in the afternoon
- Sitting and talking to someone
- Sitting quietly by yourself after lunch
- Sitting and eating a meal
Any score greater than ten on either of the scales may indicate a sleep disorder.
The test is simple and uncomplicated. For this reason, there are no negative consequences to taking the questionnaire. However, the risks of not completing it could have significant implications for one’s health. Having difficulty staying awake during the day is a significant marker of a sleep condition. The consequences of not getting enough sleep every day are dangerous.
The body is able to fight off sickness because of sleep. Not getting enough puts the body in a susceptible state. A lack of sleep makes you almost 3 times as likely to develop a cold.
Studies have shown that those who get less than 7 hours of sleep at night are at greater risk of being obese2.
Poor Mental Health
Sleep deprivation is sometimes used by interrogators to get answers from suspects. There’s a reason for this in that it withholds a biological human need physically and mentally. A lack of sleep increases one’s risk of developing a mental illness.
Sleep issues are often linked with heart disease, regardless of their lifestyle during awake hours. Your body resets and rebuilds during sleep, so your heart can begin to feel the strain of a sleep disorder as time goes on.
Frequent sleep disruptions are a risk factor for diabetes. Specifically, those with obstructive sleep apnea often have a direct link to diabetes. This is why diabetic patients should be routinely monitored for obstructive sleep apnea.
A simple 8 item questionnaire may make a huge difference in your health and quality of life. Now that you’re aware of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, you’ll be an expert in sleep patterns and disorders. If you think you need to be tested for a sleep disorder, contact us today!
- Omobomi, O., & Quan, S. F. (2018). A Requiem for the Clinical Use of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 14(5), 711–712. doi:10.5664/jcsm.7086
- Kohatsu ND, et al. Sleep Duration and Body Mass Index in a Rural Population, Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006 Sep 18; 166(16): 1701.