Arousal can be described as an endogenously generated or exogenously induced change in behavioral responsiveness. Changes in levels of arousal, such as occur during sleep or attention, most likely accomplish adaptive functions common to most animals. Recent evidence demonstrating changing arousal states in Drosophila melanogaster complements other behavioral research in this model organism. Herein we review the methodology related to the study of circadian rhythms, sleep and anesthesia where arousal, or lack of it, plays an essential role. We end this review by discussing a new method that allows for the first time to correlate changes in brain electrophysiology to changes in behavioral arousal in the fruit fly.