Recent advances in neuroscience have raised the hypothesis that the underlying pattern of neuronal activation which results in electroencephalography (EEG) signals is via power-law distributed neuronal avalanches, while EEG signals are nonstationary. Therefore, spectral analysis of EEG may miss many properties inherent in such signals. A complete understanding of such dynamical systems requires knowledge of the underlying nonequilibrium thermodynamics. In recent work by Fielitz and Borchardt (2011, 2014), the concept of information equilibrium (IE) in information transfer processes has successfully characterized many different systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium. We utilized a publicly available database of polysomnogram EEG data from fourteen subjects with eight different one-minute tracings of sleep stage 2 and waking and an overlapping set of eleven subjects with eight different one-minute tracings of sleep stage 3. We applied principles of IE to model EEG as a system that transfers (equilibrates) information from the time domain to scalp-recorded voltages. We find that waking consciousness is readily distinguished from sleep stages 2 and 3 by several differences in mean information transfer constants. Principles of IE applied to EEG may therefore prove to be useful in the study of changes in brain function more generally.