WESTCHESTER, Ill. – A single subjective (SS) question may be an effective screening tool for excessive daytime sleepiness, according to a study published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM).
Sarah Nath Zallek, MD, of the Illinois Neurological Institute Sleep Center in Peoria, Ill., sought to determine whether the following single question about sleepiness can measure subjective sleepiness comparably to the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS):
“Please measure your sleepiness on a typical day: (0 = none, 10 is highest).”
The study focused on 303 subjects between 18-78 years of age, who had been diagnosed with a variety of sleep disorders, including obstructive or central sleep apnea, narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder, restless legs syndrome, psychophysiological insomnia, inadequate sleep hygiene, and idiopathic hypersomnia. ESS scores ranged from 0-24, while SS scores ranged from 0-10.
According to Dr. Zallek, the finding that the single question used in this study had significant associations with the ESS in all subject groups and was able to distinguish between “subjectively sleepy” and “subjectively not sleepy” groups suggests the SS is a good measure of subjective sleepiness.
“Excessive sleepiness is an important and widespread symptom of insufficient sleep and a variety of sleep disorders,” said Dr. Zallek. “It increases the risk of accidents and injuries, and leads to lost work productivity. Recognition of sleepiness is the first step to finding a cause and treating it. Most physicians don’t use the existing questionnaires to determine if someone is excessively sleepy. Sleepiness often goes unrecognized.”
By using a single question to detect excessive sleepiness, one can quickly determine who might need further evaluation, noted Dr. Zallek.
“This scale can also assess change in an individual’s sleepiness over time. This study provides individuals, physicians, and employers a simple, single question to initiate an evaluation of this important symptom,” added Dr. Zallek.
On average, most adults need seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well-rested.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night’s sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
Those who think they might have a sleep disorder are urged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
JCSM is the official publication of the AASM. It contains published papers related to the clinical practice of sleep medicine, including original manuscripts such as clinical trials, clinical reviews, clinical commentary and debate, medical economic/practice perspectives, case series and novel/interesting case reports.
, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
For a copy of this article, entitled, “A Single Question as a Sleepiness Screening Tool,” or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson regarding this study, please contact Jim Arcuri, public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9317, or firstname.lastname@example.org
SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies and the world’s largest annual gathering of sleep scientists and sleep medicine professionals, will take place in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 9-12, 2008. SLEEP 2008 will bring together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians, who will present and discuss over 1,100 new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders. The deadline to register is Friday, May 30, 2008. Contact Jim Arcuri at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9317, or email@example.com for more information or to register for a free press pass. More details, including the program schedule and a list of invited lecturers, are available at www.SleepMeeting.org.