Summary Morning recall of words presented before sleep was studied in relation to intervening night sleep measures in elderly subjects. Night sleep of 30 elderly subjects aged 61–75 years was recorded. Before sleep, subjects were presented with a list of paired non-related words and cued recall was asked immediately after the morning awakening. Recall positively correlated with average duration of NREM/REM cycles, and with the proportion of time spent in cycles (TCT) over total sleep time (TST). No significant correlations were found with other sleep or wake measures. These results suggest the importance of sleep structure for sleep-related memory processes in elderly adults.