The importance of sleep positions

Woman sleeping.
Photo credit GeorgeRudy/Getty Images

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Your positioning during sleep can have an impact on your overall health. 

Eight percent of us sleep on our backs, which is good for most people but bad for snorers and pregnant women. 

However, there are advantages to sleeping on our backs. 

It helps keep your head, neck and spine in a neutral position, reducing excess pressure and preventing pain. It's a problem for snorers due to the position, in which the tongue may fall back in your throat and can worsen snoring and sleep apnea.

Pregnant women should always avoid sleeping on their backs and lay on the left side, because it boosts blood flow to your baby. 

Laying on your right or left with your legs relatively straight keeps airways open and lengthens your spine, reducing neck and back pain.