Heart rate variability (HRV) and cardiorespiratory coordination, i.e. the temporal interplay between oscillations of heartbeat and respiration, reflect information related to the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between spectral measures of HRV and measures of cardiorespiratory coordination. In 127 subjects from a normal population a 24 h Holter ECG was recorded. Average heart rate (HR) and the following HRV parameters were calculated: very low (VLF), low (LF) and high frequency (HF) oscillations and LF/HF. Cardiorespiratory coordination was quantified using average respiratory rate (RespR), the ratio of heart rate and respiratory rate (HRR), the phase coordination ratio (PCR) and the extent of cardiorespiratory coordination (PP). Pearson's correlation coefficient r was used to quantify the relationship between each pair of the variables across all subjects. HR and HRR correlated strongest during daytime (r = 0.89). LF/HF and PP showed a negative correlation to a reasonable degree (r = -0.69). During nighttime sleep these correlations decreased whereas the correlation between HRR and RespR (r = -0.47) as well as between HRR and PCR (r = 0.73) increased substantially. In conclusion, HRR and PCR deliver considerably different information compared to HRV measures whereas PP is partially linked reciprocally to LF/HF.