Consciousness never fades during wake. However, if awakened from sleep, sometimes we report dreams and sometimes no experiences. Traditionally, dreaming has been identified with REM sleep, characterized by a wake-like, globally "activated", high-frequency EEG. However, dreaming also occurs in NREM sleep, characterized by prominent low-frequency activity. This challenges our understanding of the neural correlates of conscious experiences in sleep. Using high-density EEG, we contrasted the presence and absence of dreaming within NREM and REM sleep. In both NREM and REM sleep, the presence of dreaming was associated with a local decrease in low-frequency activity in posterior cortical regions. High-frequency activity within these regions correlated with specific dream contents. Monitoring this posterior "hot zone" predicted the presence/absence of dreaming during NREM sleep in real time, suggesting that it may constitute a core correlate of conscious experiences in sleep.