Chronic sleep deprivation is common in today's society. Nevertheless, the long-term health consequences of sleep deprivation are unclear. A cohort of 71 617 US female health professionals (aged 45-65 years) without reported coronary heart disease (CHD) at baseline were mailed a questionnaire in 1986 asking about daily sleep duration. Subjects were followed up until 1996 for the occurrence of CHD events. A total of 934 coronary events were documented (271 fatal and 663 nonfatal). Age-adjusted relative risks of CHD (with 8 hours of daily sleep being considered the referent group) for individuals reporting 5 or less hours of sleep, 6 hours of sleep, and 7 hours of sleep were 1.82 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.34-2.41), 1.30 (95% CI, 1.08-1.57), and 1.06 (95% CI, 0.89-1.26), respectively. The relative risk for 9 or more hours of sleep was 1.57 (95% CI, 1.18-2.11). After adjusting for a variety of potential confounders, the relative risks of CHD for individuals reporting 5 or less hours of sleep, 6 hours of sleep, and 7 hours of sleep were 1.45 (95% CI, 1.10-1.92), 1.18 (95% CI, 0.98-1.42), and 1.09 (95% CI, 0.91-1.30), respectively. The relative risk for 9 or more hours of sleep was 1.38 (95% CI, 1.03-1.85). In this cohort of women, both short and long self-reported sleep durations were independently associated with a modestly increased risk of coronary events.