State of vigilance is determined by behavioral observations and electrophysiological activity. Here, we improve automatic state of vigilance discrimination by combining head acceleration with EEG measures. We incorporated biaxial dc-sensitive microelectromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers into head-mounted preamplifiers in rodents. Epochs (15s) of behavioral video and EEG data formed training sets for the following states: Slow Wave Sleep, Rapid Eye Movement Sleep, Quiet Wakefulness, Feeding or Grooming, and Exploration. Multivariate linear discriminant analysis of EEG features with and without accelerometer features was used to classify behavioral state. A broad selection of EEG feature sets based on recent literature on state discrimination in rodents was tested. In all cases, inclusion of head acceleration significantly improved the discriminative capability. Our approach offers a novel methodology for determining the behavioral context of EEG in real time, and has potential application in automatic sleep-wake staging and in neural prosthetic applications for movement disorders and epileptic seizures.