How to find the right sleep position for you

Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM ET

If you have trouble sleeping or wake up feeling achy, your sleep position might be to blame. Sleep specialist Dr. Carol Ash visited TODAY to analyze the anchors' sleep positions -- and suggest improvements. "People don't realize how important your sleep position can be," said Ash, director of sleep medicine at Meridian Health. "It can be an early indicator of health problems, and the position you choose can actually make problems worse."

Which sleep style is right for you?

Matt Lauer: The back sleeper.

Matt sleeps on his back, with a strange twist -- he always puts his left arm above his head. Sometimes it's all numb when he wakes up. He doesn't have any complaints, though his wife reports that he snores.

Dr. Ash says: Back sleeping is likely to contribute to snoring; sleeping with an arm over your head actually opens up your ribcage, which could alleviate snoring and breathing problems. (Matt clarifies: "I'm not having problems with snoring, my family is having problems with snoring.")

Savannah Guthrie: Slide sleeper with a back ache.

Savannah sleeps on her side, mostly, and often wakes up with lower back pain. "And I drool a little bit, but that's not really related to the segment," she confessed.

Dr. Ash says: Savannah should try sleeping on her back. "The back is actually the best place for most people to sleep," to maintain proper spine position. How to stay in position? "Pillows under the knee will help."

Natalie Morales: The side sleeper

Natalie got used to sleeping on her left side while pregnant with her sons; now that she's got an injured wrist, she's looking to protect that at night.

Dr. Ash says: People will get used to a  particular side. When you have an injury, prop up the injured area with pillows -- and make sure you do that beforehand, so you're not scrambling around in the middle of the night. And, she tells Natalie, it's true that it's a good idea to replace your mattress every 10 years.

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