Falling asleep at the wrong time can place an individual at risk of immediate physical harm. However, not sleeping degrades cognition and adaptive behavior. To understand how animals match sleep need with environmental demands, we used live-brain imaging to examine the physiological response properties of the dorsal fan-shaped body (dFB) following interventions that modify sleep (sleep deprivation, starvation, time-restricted feeding, memory consolidation) in Drosophila. We report that dFB neurons change their physiological response-properties to dopamine (DA) and allatostatin-A (AstA) in response to different types of waking. That is, dFB neurons are not simply passive components of a hard-wired circuit. Rather, the dFB neurons intrinsically regulate their response to the activity from upstream circuits. Finally, we show that the dFB appears to contain a memory trace of prior exposure to metabolic challenges induced by starvation or time-restricted feeding. Together, these data highlight that the sleep homeostat is plastic and suggests an underlying mechanism.