Cognitive radio has emerged as a promising solution to address the problems posed by coming spectrum scarcity for the inherently resource-constrained sensor networks. Reliability and energy consumption are key objectives for spectrum sensing in cognitive sensor networks. In this paper, a fast differential evolution algorithm is proposed to optimize the energy consumption and spectrum sensing performance jointly. By constructing a comprehensive performance metric, the joint optimization is transferred to a multiobjective optimal problem, in which the sleeping schedule and censoring mechanism are taken into consideration. The main objective of the proposed algorithm is to minimize the network energy consumption subjected to constraints on the detection performance by optimally deriving the censoring and sleeping probabilities. To accelerate the convergence speed and maintain the diversity, the algorithm utilizes the advantages of opposite-based learning for generating the initial population and a tournament scheme in mutation step. In the crossover step, a control parameters dynamic adjustment scheme is applied to make a trade-off between exploration and exploitation. Finally, a selection mechanism is introduced for generating a well-distributed Pareto optimal front. The simulation results show that the proposed algorithm can reduce the average energy consumption of cognitive sensor node, while improving the global probability of spectrum sensing.