Babies know what they’re doing, sleeping up to 20 hours a day. Sleep allows the child to grow and develop physically, including the brain. Sleep is especially critical for the brain as the brain literally ‘cleans house’ at night. In addition to cleaning itself, the brain also organizes the day’s learning and activities. THIS IS WHEN YOUR MEMORIES ( and lessons) ACTUALLY BECOME MEMORIES. The less sleep, the less remembering. This is one of the reasons children do poorly on tests. Another reason lack of sufficient quality sleep is harmful is that your brain reacts in the same way it would to having drunk some alcohol! Judgment and cognitive ability suffer. Finally, it’s been proven that having the right quantity of quality sleep has amazing effects on your overall well-being. Those who get a good night’s sleep are more likely to have stronger immune systems, and stay healthier throughout their lives. Scientists now believe that lack of quality sleep in the early years is a contributing factor to dementia and Alzheimer’s in later years. Determine the best sleep schedule for your child. Initiate it and make it a routine now, before school starts, and keep it up throughout the year. Better sleep = better health = better learning capability.