Vyazovskiy and colleagues found in rats' multi-unit recordings brief periods of silence (off-states) in local populations of cortical neurons during wakefulness which closely resembled the characteristic off-states during sleep. These off-states became more global and frequent with increasing sleep pressure and were associated with the well-known increase of theta activity under sleep deprivation in the surface EEG. Moreover, the occurrence of such off-states was related to impaired performance. While these animal experiments were based on intracranial recordings, we aimed to explore whether the human surface EEG may also provide evidence for such a local sleep-like intrusion during wakefulness. Thus, we analysed high-density wake EEG recordings during an auditory attention task in the morning and evening in 12 children. We found that, theta waves became more widespread in the evening and the occurrence of widespread theta waves was associated with slower reaction times in the attention task. These results indicate that widespread theta events measured on the scalp might be markers of local sleep in humans. Moreover, such markers of local sleep, seem to be related to the well described performance decline under high sleep pressure.