I've often wondered why babies spend so much time asleep. Sometimes, you wonder why they bothered being born if all they had planned was to take plenty of naps. Perhaps they are escaping from the trauma of their birth. But babies spend more and more time awake as they age.
Trials with 216 babies up to 12 months old indicated they were unable to remember new tasks if they did not have a lengthy sleep soon afterward. That's not to say they should be taught when they're nodding off. The University of Sheffield team suggested they should be fully awake and receptive while they're learning new tasks like grasping objects, and then they can sleep and cement their skill while they sleep. You can see why reading to a youngster at bedtime is so important.
I used to need to sleep at about 9pm when I was young and fit, ie. for the first 67 years of my life. How's that for precision? I know the age I changed—and the reason. My husband stopped working and I needed to keep him company, not leave him alone with the tv long before he was ready to sleep.
Some experts recommend napping for the elderly, as rest can lead to more active lives. See the article from the University of Surrey.
Do I still need to learn at 73? Hard to know. I'm always learning new writing skills. Perhaps reading a novel before bed helps me in that respect.
My children inherited my predisposition for enjoying sleep. That was either passed on before they were born from my calm emanations or copied from my gentle behavior when they were young. My son would fall asleep on the carpet while he crawled around exploring his world. He grew to develop an IQ of 150. So, sleep set him in good stead.
I believe we should always listen to our body.
How well and often do you sleep?