Abstract —To date little attention has been paid to the posssible age-dependent relationships of EEG sleep measures in depression or to the implications of such relationships for diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. In a study of 108 patients with major depressive disorders (67 inpatients, 41 outpatients), age was shown to be a very powerful determinant of electroencephalographic (EEG) sleep patterns. Thus, among other sleep variables, sleep efficiency, delta sleep percent, and REM latency all showed significant linear declines with increasing age. Similar trends were seen in both inpatients and outpatients. Some variables were without age trends (age-stable), including sleep latency, REM sleep percent, and REM activity. These findings confirm those of an earlier report from our laboratory  and suggest that age-corrected sleep variables can be developed for clinical diagnostic application. Thus, using normative data from Gillin et al.  for comparison, a sensitivity level of 65% for age-corrected REM latency was demonstrated, together with a specificity of 95% and a diagnostic confidence of 92%. Data from a pilot study comparing EEG sleep measures in depression and dementia are also presented; these data suggest the potential utility of EEG sleep measures in the differential diagnosis of these two disorders, especially in patients with mixed symptoms. Additional areas for further research are reviewed with enumeration of specific testable hypotheses.