Sleep-like states in diverse organisms can be separated into distinct stages, each with a characteristic arousal threshold. However, the molecular pathways underlying different sleep stages remain unclear. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, exhibits consolidated sleep during both day and night, with night sleep associated with higher arousal thresholds compared to day sleep. Here we identify a role for the neuronal calcium sensor protein Neurocalcin (NCA) in promoting sleep during the night but not the day by suppressing nocturnal arousal and hyperactivity. We show that both circadian and light-sensing pathways define the temporal window in which NCA promotes sleep. Furthermore, we find that NCA promotes sleep by suppressing synaptic release from a dispersed wake-promoting neural network and demonstrate that the mushroom bodies, a sleep-regulatory center, are a module within this network. Our results advance the understanding of how sleep stages are genetically defined.