German version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale

Respiration. 1999;66(5):440-7. doi: 10.1159/000029408.


Background: The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) is a questionnaire widely used in English speaking countries for assessment of subjective daytime sleepiness.

Objective: Our purpose was to translate and validate the ESS for use in German-speaking countries.

Methods: A German translation of the ESS was administered to 159 healthy German-speaking Swiss and to 174 patients with various sleep disorders.

Results: The mean +/- SD of ESS scores in normals was 5.7+/-3.0, in patients it was 13.0+/-5.1 (p<0.001). Scores were not correlated with age or gender but with the percentage of time spent at an oxygen saturation <90% (R = 0.35, p<0.001), and the respiratory disturbance index (R = 0.26, p<0.001) in primary snorers and sleep apnea patients. Item analysis confirmed internal consistency of the scale (Cronbach alpha = 0.60 in normals, and 0.83 in patients). Follow-up scores in 25 sleep apnea patients on treatment showed a reduction by 7+/-5 points (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Our data validate the ESS for application in German-speaking populations. The simplicity, reliability and the apparent lack of relevant influences of language and cultural background on performance of the ESS makes it a valuable tool for clinical management and research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Stages
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires* / standards
  • Switzerland
  • Translations