The Madrid College of Physiotherapists: healthy sleep

(Madrid, 28 November 2011)-. The Madrid College of Physiotherapists (CPFCM) and Pikolin have launched a Guide To Healthy Sleep, with the objective of issuing recommendations and simple guidelines for improving sleep for both children and adults.

This initiative falls within the framework of the Collaborative Agreement between the two organisations, under which they jointly develop actions to promote healthy sleep.

For Pikolin, according to Ana Robledo, the Director of Communication, "A good night's sleep means a healthy day," and therefore, she continued, "we are fully involved in prevention and awareness campaigns such as the Breast Cancer campaign and - more recently - the Osteoporosis campaign. For both of these diseases, prevention and early detection are vital."

“The campaigns organised by the Madrid Community's Professional College of Physiotherapists are a clear example of involvement in preventative health and both bodies are therefore united in promoting them,' she stated.

Guide to Healthy Sleep

The most important advice given in the Guide to Healthy Sleep is that, in order to sleep, one must in the "most comfortable" position. It therefore does not recommend sleeping face down, since, it states, "the healthiest positions are sleeping on your side or face up, using a pillow which keeps the head on the same horizontal line as the body."

It also says that when sleeping face up, your back will be more relaxed if you put a small cushion under your knees.

The recommended number of hours sleep varies. For adults, the average for a restorative sleep is 7 to 8 hours. In the case of children, the usual average is 9 to 10 hours, depending on their age.

“It's important to keep to regular sleep patterns every day, and to try to avoid letting this sleep rhythm change much on holidays or at weekends," it adds.

The guide also recommends that children should generally sleep in their own beds and their own rooms from the age of twelve to eighteen months. A child's bed must be appropriate to his or her size, and at such a height that the child can get in and out on his or her own, with no risk of falling.

To keep your bed in good condition, the Guide emphasises that you should change the mattress after 8 to 10 years, since, after this period, "It's not advisable to use it, because it will have lost its properties in terms of both hygiene and comfort." It also recommends turning the mattress periodically, both by turning it over and rotating it, so that it wears evenly throughout its useful life.

In line with this recommendation, the Guide lists a series of warning signs that mean you should think about changing the mattress: if the bed is more than 8 years old; if your back or neck aches when you get up; if you feel tired or worn out when you get up; if the upper part of the mattress is loose, bulges or is deformed; if, when two people sleep on it, they roll into the middle; if the frame or base is sloping, in bad condition or noisy.

When buying a mattress, the Guide suggests factors which are key in choosing the mattress which best suits your needs, based on three criteria: firmness, to keep your back in the right position; soft surface pressure for a pleasant cushioned feeling; and hygiene, taking into account specific humidity and temperature conditions.

In terms of the Guide's key recommendations for restorative sleep, it reminds us that large meals are the enemy of a good night's sleep, that you shouldn't go to bed while still digesting, that you should avoid drinking alcohol or smoking before going to sleep, that you should avoid drinks such as tea or coffee, and you keep to a regular timetable for getting up and going to bed.

It also states that you must obey your body's rhythms, since only it knows how many hours it needs to recover. The Guide also recommends physical exercise. It also advises that the ideal humidity level for a good night's sleep is around 60%; the ideal temperature is between 18 and 20º C; that you should avoid strong light and noise; develop your own sleep habits; and wear natural fibres.

Lastly, the Guide to Healthy Sleep includes a table of exercises to reduce stress and assist healthy sleep. You can do these exercises a few minutes before going to bed in order to reduce your day's accumulated muscle tension, and thus have a restorative night's sleep.

For more information on Physiotherapy, the Guide suggests you consult the College's website,, and, for more healthy advice, it recommends the websites and