The objectives of this study were to describe the prevalence of snoring, observed apneas, and daytime sleepiness in older men and women, and to describe the relationships of these sleep disturbances to health status and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). A cross-sectional design was employed to study sleep problems, CVD, general health, psychosocial factors, and medication use. The subjects were participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study, which included 5,201 adults, aged 65 and older, who were recruited from a random sample of Medicare enrollees in four U.S. communities. Study measures employed were sleep questions, echocardiography, carotid ultrasound, resting electrocardiogram, cognitive function, cardiopulmonary symptoms and diseases, depression, independent activities of daily living (IADLs), and benzodiazepine use. Thirty-three percent of the men and 19% of the women reported loud snoring, which was less frequent in those over age 75. Snoring was positively associated with younger age, marital status, and alcohol use in men, and obesity, diabetes, and arthritis in women. Snoring was not associated, however, with cardiovascular risk factors or clinical CVD in men or women. Observed apneas were reported much less frequently (13% of men and 4% women) than snoring, and they were associated with alcohol use, chronic bronchitis, and marital status in men. Observed apneas were associated with depression and diabetes in women. In both men and women, daytime sleepiness was associated with poor health, advanced age, and IADL limitations. The conclusions of the study were that loud snoring, observed apneas, and daytime sleepiness are not associated cross-sectionally with hypertension or prevalent CVD in elderly persons.