Diaphragmatic electromyograms from five adult cats were studied to determine whether diaphragmatic activity, like central respiratory activity, increases in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Breaths with inspiratory durations between 250 and 2,000 ms were analyzed. 1) There was a greater slope of the moving time average of diaphragmatic activity in REM than in non-REM (NREM) sleep. These greater slopes occurred whether the route of breathing was through the upper airways or through an endotracheal tube and may have resulted from early recruitment of motor units. 2) Mean diaphragmatic activity was also greater, but other variables (peak activity, the area under the curve of diaphragmatic activity, mean intratracheal pressures, inspiratory airflow rates, and tidal volumes) were not greater in REM than in NREM sleep. 3) Diaphragmatic activity was similar in REM sleep and active wakefulness. 4) Across states, slope of the moving time average varied with the duration of inspiration: greater slopes were associated with shorter breaths. These results are consistent with an increase in central respiratory drive in REM sleep that increases the rate of rise of diaphragmatic activity.