The maintenance of hydromineral homeostasis depends on the coordinated action of arginine vasopressin (AVP), atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and other recently identified endocrine or paracrine hormones. Several reports have pointed out the changes in urinary excretion and osmolality during the sleep-wake cycle and the rapid eye movement (REM)-non(N)REM sleep cycles. No such changes occur for ANP levels which have a flat profile over 24 h. The pulsatile fluctuations of AVP are described as random. The ultradian rhythm of plasma renin activity (PRA) depends on the regularity of the REM-NREM sleep cycles and the nocturnal curves reflect all disturbances in the internal sleep structure. A study with a shift in the normal sleep time clearly demonstrated that both PRA and aldosterone oscillations are sleep-stage dependent. These hormones could account for the ultradian variations in renal function. The nocturnal oscillations in sympathovagal balance may play an additional role. It is suggested that a central generator synchronizes endocrine, renal, autonomic and sleep processes.