Sedation management in the mechanically ventilated critically ill patient is a topic of continuing interest in the critical care literature. The wide variety of clinical practices described in the literature with regard to sedation management has limited the implementation of evidence-based practice guidelines. Common themes for a coherent sedation management strategy include articulation of indications for sedation, initial and daily evaluation of sedation goals, sedation-level assessment, appropriate sedative selection, effective sedation management strategy, and efficient sedation weaning strategy. We provide a summary of the literature on key aspects of sedation in clinical practice. Evidence-based recommendations are provided for clinicians involved in the management of sedation in mechanically ventilated patients.