Epworth questionnaire for sleep apnea: definition, interpretation

Epworth questionnaire for sleep apnea: definition, interpretation

This is why we invite you to discover the Epworth questionnaire, which is used to estimate the risk of falling asleep in a given situation, but also to check the quality of your sleep.

Epworth questionnaire: explanation and definition

First, it is worth understanding what is sleep apnea. Also referred to asobstructive sleep apnea syndrome, it manifests as recurrent respiratory arrests while a person is asleep. Sleep apnea is not without consequence on the general state of health of a person. When left untreated, it prevents the subject from enjoying a good quality of sleep in the long run, with all the implications this has for the resistance of the organism. This is why it is urgent to call a doctor for treatment as soon as possible.

It is possible to use a tool to assess the quality of an individual's sleep. This is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which has been an effective and commonly used instrument since 1991 to perform an evaluation test. The test in question was developed by Dr. Murray Johns of Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. This is a series of 8 questions whose purpose is to determine if the individual needs care, based on the results of the test.

Questionnaire Epworth explication

Clearly, it should be remembered that the Epworth Sleepiness Scale is used to confirm or refute whether a person has sleep apnea disorder. In other words, it helps to know if the subject has enough sleep or not. The instrument is therefore useful to know the level of seriousness of the patient's situation. However, this test should not be limited to make a diagnosis. It can be useful to’run the test with a polygraphy, which is a sleep test. The Epworth scale only provides numerical data on the patient's level of drowsiness. In this sense, it is in reality only subjective information, specific to the subject. It should also be remembered that this test is in no way a substitute for a sleep apnea test carried out under the supervision of a doctor.

Epworth questionnaire: interpretation

It should be noted that the score at the end of the test ranges from 0 to 24. A very high score reveals a strong desire for sleep during the night in the subject. Also known as daytime sleepiness. The Epworth questionnaire can be adjusted according to the patient's age. In other words, the questionnaire offered to the child or adolescent will not necessarily be the same as that prepared for an adult. The contexts and parameters that come into play are different.

To interpret an Epworth score, simply refer to the result to determine the propensity to the person to doze off. Consider the scores below:

  • Less than 7 points

The individual does not have a sleep disorder

  • From 7 to 9

The individual has a lack of sleep

  • More than 9

The individual has a high propensity for daytime sleepiness. This may be a sign of sleep apnea

Remember that the score from the test does not represent a diagnosis and does not replace medical examinations. You should consult a doctor in case of deep sleep disorders or to find out if you are actually affected.

At the end of the test, if your Epworth score is high, you should avoid driving and operating machinery that could harm you. You must first call your doctor to undergo medical examinations to detect the possible origins of your problem. It is only after having obtained the authorization of your attending physician that you can resume your various activities requiring attention. Do not forget to indicate the Epworth score obtained to your doctor.

Questionnaire Epworth

This is also an opportunity to point out that the Epworth score does not necessarily indicate that a person has sleep apnea or any sleep disorder. Extreme drowsiness may be due to other factors. The test is only a method to inform you of a possible problem and the need to see a specialist or not.

Where and how to take the Epworth test?

The test aims to assess the drowsiness of the person undergoing it. During the test, the person will have to carry out the evaluation themselves. This is why it is said that the Epworth interpretation or the results are subjective, and that it is necessary to see a doctor for confirmation. According to some studies, subjective sleepiness has a direct link with the objective results obtained from sleep recordings.

The questionnaire includes questions exclusively based on the possibility of falling asleep. The assessment is made on a scale rated from 0 to 3 according to the risk of drowsiness. The value 0 means that there is no presence of drowsiness. A value of 1 indicates the presence of a risk of drowsiness, while a value of 3 indicates a high risk of drowsiness.

The Epworth test is carried out taking into account several contexts such as: reading, watching television, sitting, driving a car, etc. The test is quick and easy, and can be done anywhere, even from home. You can take the test online on specialized sites or even with your doctor.

Say stop to sleep apnea and snoring!
Back2Sleep packaging with sheep to represent a deep sleep
I try! Starter Kit
Back to blog