Infants who sleep most at night do better in many skills than those who don't, a study said.

In the study that appears in the November/December 2010 issue of the journal Child Development, researchers say that those infants at ages of 1 and 1-1/2 do better in skills, especially those involving impulse control than those infants who don't sleep the most in the night. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal and the University of Minnesota, on 60 Canadian children at ages 1, 1-1/2, and 2.

"We found that infants' sleep is associated with cognitive functions that depend on brain structures that develop rapidly in the first two years of life," said Annie Bernier, professor of psychology at the University of Montreal, who led the study. "This may imply that good nighttime sleep in infancy sets in motion a cascade of neural effects that has implications for later executive skills."

The researchers measured the sleep of the children and executive functioning such as ability to control impulses, remember things and show mental flexibility."These findings add to previous research with school-age children, which has shown that sleep plays a role in the development of higher-order cognitive functions that involve the brain's prefrontal cortex," said Bernier.