I know they are nocturnal, so I play with them and carry them around in my pouch when I get home from work, but I go to bed at 10 pm.....since they sleep all day, I wonder if I am giving them enough attention....
I would try and wake up when I had a single rat and he wanted to play. sometimes all the running across my face and ear nibbling couldn't wake me up! Well.... It could, but I was too tired to play. Now that I have two, they just play with eachother, so I don't feel bad.
I think you can modify their "schedule" a little to fit your day. Someone here on the forum said that it is important that they do get some quiet time to rest, be it during day, or night. My rats usually sleep between noon and 6 pm, then get active after 6pm,so we have plenty of time to play and free range in the evening. I also sometimes get up early before 5am, and when I take a look in the cage I often find them asleep. Day or night they like to sleep in their comfy hammocks.
I work nights, so I run my rats around in the day time and they are completely wiped by the time I leave for work.
Just play with them whenever you have the time, they will be happy to wake up and cuddle with you. I've found they take lots of naps on and off, unlike us humans who sleep for long periods, so they will be fine being up for a few extra hours in the day.
I'm still very new to rats. I have a rabbit that gets free roam as long as my boyfriend or myself are home. He is fully litter trained so when my boyfriend and I decided to pick up rats, we socialized them after a little bit, and allowed them free range on our couch for a decent amount of time. As long as one of us are home, they get out for quite a few hours a day collectively. For the most part they actually have begun sleeping through the night, well shorter sleep cycles, but we have found they are much more active during the day. So I suppose us keeping them active and having set times we will give them fresh foods have pretty much altered their nocturnal ways. I am guessing rats are even like nocturnal anemones, feed them at certain times and they will remain out during the day lol. But again, that's just my experience.
My rats are up quite a bit during the day, so they get my attention then. I make sure they have plenty of things to play with, chew, and a wheel in their cage so they get stimulation and exercise at night while I'm asleep.
I try to stay up as late as possible when I do not have to get up for work the next day. I do take them for floor time many days a week, and lap or bed top time several times a day. I am finding, though, then when I get up in the morning they are still awake. So I am trying to make myself get up earlier so I can spend some time with them.
I think rats are similar to cats in that they sleep on and off all day long. As a kid my rats always clattered around at night- and my two new girls are no different, I can hear them redecorating and running around if I wake up- but whenever I got home from school and climbed the stairs the first thing I'd see when I peeked over the railing (around 3) was little rat noses squished between the bars of their cage. They definitely got used to my schedule and would be active a few hours when I got home before napping again until later in the night.
This was actually a big reason for why I wanted to get rats again. My friend was really interested in getting a hedgehog but after months of research (it took months before our landlord was okay with us getting a pet) I was turned off by them because they really are nocturnal. There were other factors too of course, but from the few interactions I've had and from what a lot of people said it sounded like it took training to get their hedgehogs to wake up by 8pm on their own and while I'm fine with a pet I can cuddle and hold while sleeping I think if something is going to be my only pet I'm going to want more interaction with it. Especially for my friend, who is paying for a lot of our pet expenses and is usually in bed before 10.
Sorry, kinda rambling! But basically, everyone has their own experiences but for me, unless the rats were new, young, or sick, I never really had problems with them not being awake when I was home. Unless you're only home from 10 am to 3 pm I don't really think you'd have a problem, and even then. My dad used to always take a rat or two with him whenever he went out during all times of the day and they never really seemed grumpy or annoyed they were awake during the day, they just seemed excited and if they got tired they'd take nap right there. I think most animals adjust to their persons schedule, my dog always seems to be awake when I am, it actually kind of creeps me out! On a side note, I think I've read in places that rats are actually crepuscular (is that how you spell it? most active at sunrise and sunset?) though maybe someone else knows more? My rabbit definitely was, he was awake in the morning and then evening and slept at night and on and off during the day but I think rats are supposed to be most active from dusk to dawn (where as dogs are dawn to dusk) not actually nocturnal like, say, an owl or hedgehog.
We have two separate groups of males who don't get along so need separate free play time. It meant cutting the time our first group of three got to free range when the second set of three we adopted came along and I feel bad about that but they still get a fair amount of time out as my other half is quite the insomniac so is up until the wee hours of the morning most often which allows the boys out of their cages at night quite a lot when they are awake.
I think rats are really good for college students pulling all-nighters haha. I personally am on more of a night time schedule myself though, so it's nice when most of my friends are all asleep to have rat friends to keep me company