In normal young men, there is an abrupt fall in ventilation (VE), a rise in upper airway resistance (UAR), and falls in the activities of the diaphragm (Di), intercostals (IC), genioglossus (GG), and tensor palatini (TP) at sleep onset. On waking, there is an abrupt increase in VE and fall in UAR and an increase in the activities of Di, IC, GG, and TP. The aim of this study was to determine whether these changes are age dependent. Nine men aged 20 to 25 yr were compared with nine men aged 42 to 67 yr. Airflow, UAR, Di, and IC surface electromyograms (EMGs) and the intramuscular EMGs of GG and TP were recorded. It was found that the falls in IC, GG, and TP at the transition from alpha to theta electroencephalogram (EEG) activity were significantly greater in the older than in the younger men (P < 0.05) and that the fall in Di was also greater, although this was only marginally significant (P = 0.15). The rise in GG at theta-to-alpha transitions was also greater in the older than in the younger men, and there was a trend for TP to be higher.