Primary electroencephalographic (EEG) features of sleep arise in part from thalamocortical neural assemblies, and cortical potassium channels have long been thought to play a critical role. We have exploited the regionally dynamic nature of sleep EEG to develop a novel screening strategy and used it to conduct an adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated RNAi screen for cellular roles of 31 different voltage-gated potassium channels in modulating cortical EEG features across the circadian sleep-wake cycle. Surprisingly, a majority of channels modified only electroencephalographic frequency bands characteristic of sleep, sometimes diurnally or even in specific vigilance states. Confirming our screen for one channel, we show that depletion of the KCa1.1 (or “BK”) channel reduces EEG power in slow-wave sleep by slowing neuronal repolarization. Strikingly, this reduction completely abolishes transcriptomic changes between sleep and wake. Thus, our data establish an unexpected connection between transcription and EEG power controlled by specific potassium channels. We postulate that additive dynamic roles of individual potassium channels could integrate different influences upon sleep and wake within single neurons.