It has recently been reported that the orthostatic challenge associated with postural change from sitting to an upright position is stimulatory to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as evidenced by increased salivary free cortisol. This stimulatory influence is potentially a confound for the many psychoneuroendocrine studies for which salivary free cortisol is the main dependent variable. This particularly relates to laboratory psychosocial stress procedures in which subjects are invited to stand in order to deliver public speech and the studies which have explored the cortisol response to awakening in which postural shift has not been controlled for. We therefore examined, in a balanced cross over design whether the awakening cortisol response was influenced by standing, shortly after awakening or remaining supine during the response study period. In addition and in the same subjects we measured the cardiovascular response and saliva cortisol response to the orthostatic challenge of shifting from a supine to a standing position later in the diurnal cortisol cycle. The expected cortisol response to awakening was demonstrated but there was no evidence that the postural shift, supine to standing, confounded the response. This same postural shift later in the day induced the expected increase in heart rate but cortisol simply followed the circadian decline. Under the conditions of the present study we found no evidence that the postural shift supine to standing could induce a cortisol secretory episode such as to contribute towards the awakening response.