Many cat owners have struggled with cats that stay awake at night, especially kittens. Since cats are naturally nocturnal animals, this behavior is not unusual, but it can be frustrating. There are a number of ways to encourage a cat to adopt a diurnal sleeping schedule, so that he or she will relax at night while you sleep. Be aware that, if your cat has suddenly started to become very active at night, this can be the sign of a medical problem or an unwanted visitor; cats might get active at night when a skunk moves in under your house, for example.
Like many predators, cats are programmed to expend immense amounts of energy hunting and to spend a lot of time sleeping to regain energy that is lost during hunting activity. One of the best ways to calm a cat at night is to change your feeding and play schedules to encourage the cat to calm down in the evening and sleep. You can do this by offering your first feeding later in the day, rather than waking a cat early in the morning to feed it, and giving the biggest meal at night around half an hour before bed.
It is also important to play with your cat, especially if it lives indoors all the time. Play and environmental enrichment will help your cat to stay healthy and happy, and you can also tire your cat out with good play sessions. Try having a brisk play session, followed with a big meal, and then settle down for the night. The exercise and the meal will encourage your cat to relax as well. If your cat sleeps in your bedroom, keep the room dim and set up a warm, soft space to encourage your cat to sleep. Some cat owners prefer to keep their cats out of the bedroom, in which case, a heated sleeping pad and a regular sleeping spot are good ways to calm the cat in the evening.
Some cat owners feel like there's no good reason to try to change the cat's schedule, and simply choose to shut it out of the bedroom at night and provide the animal with toys for amusement while they sleep. Putting the cat in a special place at night where it can run and play and not disturb anyone may be the best solution. Cats can be quite noisy at night, however, especially if they are seeking their owners' attention. Remember not to reward your cat with a response when he or she disturbs you at night; unless the cat is obviously in physical danger or distress, ignore any cries or you'll encourage the behavior.
If you have tried to calm a cat at night without success, you can also talk to a veterinarian about prescription medications that can encourage your cat to adopt a regular sleeping schedule. The veterinarian may also have additional suggestions derived from his or her years of experience in veterinary practice to try before resorting to drugs. Remember that punishment of any kind is not recommended for cat training, as you may end up ultimately confusing your cat.