Today, an estimated 70 million North Americans have trouble falling asleep each night.  And experts say part of the problem is that many people believe in some common sleep myths, that could actually be making you more tired. So, here’s what you need to know, according to sleep expert Dr. Holly Phillips:

Sleep myth #1: Napping during the day makes you more tired. Actually, that’s only true if you nap longer than 20 minutes – since that’s how long it takes for the brain to move into the deepest phase of sleep. But when you limit your naps to 20 minutes or less, research has shown it’s an ideal way to improve alertness, mood, and overall performance.

Sleep Myth #2: Exercising before bedtime keeps you awake. Believe it or not, new research suggests the exact opposite is true. That’s because your heart rate slows after exercise, so your body is primed to relax. Plus, experts say that in order to fall asleep, your body needs to cool down.  And people cool down faster after a sweat session.

One more sleep myth: It’s okay to stay up late now and then. That’s FALSE.  In fact, a study found that missing just 90 minutes of sleep in one night can reduce your daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent. Experts say that’s enough to impair your memory, thinking ability, and even your safety behind the wheel! In other words: You need the same amount of sleep every night.  And for most people, that’s 8 hours of sleep a night.