The classical 'sniffing the morning air' position improves the upper airway by tensing the soft palate, and by lifting the tongue off the posterior pharyngeal wall and the epiglottis from the laryngeal opening. The position is the result of a combination of flexion of the neck and extension of the head on the neck.
The three-quarters prone and prone positions will likewise improve the upper airway by the effect of gravity on the soft tissue structures at the base of the tongue. However, access to the airway in the prone position is compromised.
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