Commonly used general anaesthetics cause a decrease in the spectral entropy of the electroencephalogram as the patient transits from the conscious to the unconscious state. Although the spectral entropy is a configurational entropy, it is plausible that the spectral entropy may be acting as a reliable indicator of real changes in cortical neuronal interactions. Using a mean field theory, the activity of the cerebral cortex may be modelled as fluctuations in mean soma potential around equilibrium states. In the adiabatic limit, the stochastic differential equations take the form of an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process. It can be shown that spectral entropy is a logarithmic measure of the rate of synaptic interaction. This model predicts that the spectral entropy should decrease abruptly from values approximately 1.0 to values of approximately 0.7 as the patient becomes unconscious during induction of general anaesthesia, and then not decrease significantly on further deepening of anaesthesia. These predictions were compared with experimental results in which electrocorticograms and brain concentrations of propofol were recorded in seven sheep during induction of anaesthesia with intravenous propofol. The observed changes in spectral entropy agreed with the theoretical predictions. We conclude that spectral entropy may be a sensitive monitor of the consciousness-unconsciousness transition, rather than a progressive indicator of anaesthetic drug effect.