Disturbed sleep is common in the elderly and is characterized by disordered sleep architecture with reduced time spent in slow wave sleep (SWS) and in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. At present, no treatments are available to fully compensate for these disorders. In the elderly, vasopressin content is decreased at various brain sites. Investigating the effects of a 3-month intranasal vasopressin administration on sleep and cognitive functions in two elderly subjects in a foregoing pilot study, the authors found that the most pronounced influence of the peptide was a marked increase in SWS. This placebo, controlled, double-blind, randomized study examined the influences of a 3-month period of daily intranasal vasopressin treatment (20 IU before bedtime and after awakening) on nocturnal sleep in 26 healthy elderly subjects (mean age, 74.2 years). Intranasal treatment of vasopressin increased (1) the total sleep time, on average, by 45 minutes (p < 0.002); (2) time spent in SWS by 21 minutes (p < 0.025); and (3) time in REM sleep in the second half of the night by 10 minutes (p < 0.01). Vasopressin promotes sleep time and improves sleep architecture after prolonged intranasal administration in elderly subjects, although scores of subjective sleep quality did not change. Results suggest that age-related deterioration of sleep architecture can benefit from intranasal treatment with vasopressin. But a potential use in clinical settings will also depend on demonstrating improved subjective sleep quality, which remained unaffected by vasopressin in this study of elderly subjects.