Study Objectives To quantify the association between insomnia or poor sleep with objective short sleep duration and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality in the general population. Methods We conducted a time-to-event analysis of Sleep Heart Health Study data. Questionnaires and at-home polysomnography (PSG) were performed between 1994 and 1998. Participants were followed for a median of 11.4 years (Q1-Q3, 8.8–12.4 years) until death or last contact. The primary exposure was insomnia or poor sleep with short sleep defined as follows: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty returning to sleep, early morning awakenings, or sleeping pill use, 16–30 nights per month; and total sleep of <6 hr on PSG. We used proportional hazard models to estimate the association between insomnia or poor sleep with short sleep and CVD, as well as all-cause mortality. Results Among 4994 participants (mean age: 64.0 ± 11.1 years), 14.1 per cent reported insomnia or poor sleep, of which 50.3 per cent slept <6 hr. Among 4437 CVD-free participants at baseline, we observed 818 incident CVD events. After propensity adjustment, there was a 29 per cent higher risk of incident CVD in the insomnia or poor sleep with short sleep group compared with the reference group (HR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.66), but neither the insomnia or poor sleep only nor short sleep only groups were associated with higher incident CVD. Insomnia or poor sleep with objective short sleep was not associated with all-cause mortality (HR: 1.07, 95% CI: 0.86, 1.33). Conclusions Insomnia or poor sleep with PSG-short sleep was associated with higher risk of incident CVD. Future studies should evaluate the impact of interventions to improve insomnia with PSG-short sleep on CVD.