To date, the understanding of how recovery from work relates to cortisol output is poor. Considering this, the present study set out to investigate the associations between self-ratings of 15 items of rest and recovery and salivary cortisol sampled every second hour across two working days. Data came from 12 female and 13 male white-collar workers and were analyzed by linear regression analyses and repeated measures ANOVA. Poor rest and recovery was associated with high levels of morning cortisol, with the strongest relationships emerging for "rested in the morning", "rested after a weekend", "feel energetic during the working day", "tired during the working day", "sufficient sleep" and "worry about something". Moreover, significant interaction effects emerged between sex and "rested after a weekend" and "worry about something". To conclude, the findings show that self-ratings of rest and recovery are related to cortisol, particularly to morning cortisol, and that self-ratings provide important information on physiological recovery in terms of cortisol output.