Are you still sleeping on your old lumpy pillows, the ones that have been around so long that you can’t quite remember when you got them? The same ones that are lumpy, uneven, and generally require some advanced-level origami to get them folded into a comfortable shape? If this sounds familiar, it’s time to upgrade.

Keep your head up.

Depending on the size of your head (relative to the rest of you), your noggin makes up between 7% and 12% of your total body mass. That’s a fairly significant portion to relegate to a substandard support, especially when it houses the control room. An old, lumpy pillow or the wrong pillow for your sleeping style can increase the intensity of neck and back pain, headaches, and general discomfort.

Shop around.

Not all pillows are created equally. They come in all shapes, sizes, and densities and are a crucial component to your good night’s sleep. When you’re lying down, remember to always support your head and neck. Your head should always be squared with your shoulders and in alignment with your spine.

A firmer pillow is recommended for side sleepers to keep the head from tilting into the mattress and help you avoid an almost certainly stiff neck when you wake up. People who sleep on their backs or stomach should opt for a thinner alternative; a pillow that’s too thick for someone who sleeps on their back will cause their head to be tilted too far forward, also likely resulting in a kink that may well be with you all day.

Choose carefully.

A high-quality pillow may seem like an investment, and it is. You’re investing in making sure your whole body has the support it needs to sleep comfortably and wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed. Also, regardless of the quality, your pillows will lose their shape over time and should be replaced at least every two years. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your time in bed and don’t forget the pillows!

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