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Part of the problem in recognising whether you have poor sleep when you have had a sleep disorder for some time, is identifying whether your sleepiness levels are abnormally high or not.
The most widely used method to determine sleepiness levels by Practitioners and Sleep Clinics in New Zealand and worldwide is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. It is a subjective assessment of how sleepy you are. But it is well validated within sleep research to be an effective tool in identifying excessive sleepiness.
It is recommended that you fill in the following scale with a spouse or family member to help answer the questions. (A combined score of 10 or more indicates the presence of excessive sleepiness).
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 haven't done some of these things recently try to work out how they would have affected you.
Use the scale below to choose the most appropriate number for each situation
0 = would never doze
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing
|Sitting and Reading|| |
|Watching Television|| |
|Sitting inactive in a public place (eg: Theatre, Meeting)|| |
|As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break|| |
|Lying down to rest when circumstances permit|| |
|Sitting and talking to someone|| |
|Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol|| |
|Driving a car but stopped for a few minutes in traffic|| |
If the results of this test indicate that you have a sleep disorder you should seek advice promptly from your Medical Practitioner or local sleep clinic.
If you have the symptoms of OSA and have excessive sleepiness as shown by a sleepiness score of 10 or more, then you should have an overnight Sleep Study. SleepNZ provide a simple sleep apnea study that can be ordered online with minimal fuss. Fisher & Paykel and Resmed CPAP machines and masks are available from SleepNZ.