The advances in psychology's understanding of sleep are the result of hard work by researchers who have spent countless nighttime hours watching other people sleep. This work is done in sleep laboratories, where volunteer subjects come to spend the night. Sleep labs have one or more "bedrooms" in which the subjects retire, usually after being hooked up to a variety of physiological recording devices. In addititon to an EEG, the other two crucial devices are an electromyograph (EMG), which records muscular activity and tension, and an electrooculograph (EOG), which records eye movements. Typically, other instruments are also used to monitor heart rate, breathing, pulse rate, and body temperature. The researchers observe the sleeping subject through a window ( or with a video camera) from an adjacent room, where they also monitor their elaborate physiological recording equipment. For most people, it takes just one night to adapt to the strange bedroom and the recording devices and return to their normal mode of sleeping.
Visit Dream Laboratories
You can have a class overnight session together with a visit to the dream laboratory. Students can test their reaction time, thinking skils, mood, etc. hourly as sleep deprivation continues. This could be combined with a dream experiment where one student would sleep and classmates would awaken them at different times during the night to ask about dream recall and the relationship between dream time and sleep time.