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Epworth Sleep Scale May Help Determine Sleep Disorder - Treatments for Sleep Apnea May Save Your Life

February 27th 2006

Epworth Sleep Scale May Help Determine Sleep Disorder - Treatments for Sleep Apnea May Save Your Life

Drowsy Eyes

There is more to sleep than just getting to bed early.  There are certain conditions that cause sleepiness during the day besides not getting enough sleep.  Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where the airway narrows as the throat relaxes during sleep. The sleeper is usually unaware of the obstruction because he is asleep, even though he may momentarily awaken to catch his or her breath. 

The NBC show Today asked the question “Do you easily doze off while watching TV?”  Answers to some simple questions that can help determine if you have sleep apnea or other sleep disorder. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale can help you decide whether to visit a sleep doctor. 

These sleep doctors typically are cardio-pulmonary specialists that offer sleep studies.  Ask your doctor for a referral or for a recommendation to a specialist.  Sleep apnea has been associated with heart disease, stroke and early morning spikes in blood pressure. 


Not everyone that snores has OSA, but it can be a good preliminary indicator.  Some OSA sufferers can make a wheezing sound while sleeping.  Put this together with daytime drowsiness, and you are a good candidate for a sleep study. 

A common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a Constant Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine.  This devise incorporates a nasal mask attached to a machine that keeps pressure on the airway as you sleep.  It will also cure snoring in most cases. 

Earlier studies have shown that the use of a CPAP will help prevent heart failure.  Untreated sleep apnea may also double the risk of stroke.    Sleep problems have also been connected to headaches among children. 


As we age sleep apnea typically becomes more pronounced.  Central Sleep Apnea may be caused by a loss of brain stem cells that occurs as we get older.  Basically, the brain just forgets to breathe.  Special Bi-PAP machines may aid this disorder.         

Here is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale:

Grade yourself from zero to three on each of the questions:

0 = no chance of dozing
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing

 These are the question:



Sitting and reading  
Watching TV  
Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g a theater or a 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 someone  
Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol  
In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic  

Fill in the right column and total your score. 

If your score is Then you should
1 - 6 Congratulations, you are sleeping well!
7-8 Your score is average
9 and above Seek the advice of a sleep specialist without delay

If your score is 9 or above you should seek the advice of a sleep specialist.  This could save your life.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books to help you Sleep

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM