Is it time to switch your pillow? Look out for these signs

Your goodnight's sleep is probably being affected by your age-old pillow. (Photo: Thinkstock Images)

A good night's sleep is an underrated luxury and it's time to devote some attention to our beds and pillows. Do you remember the last time you upgraded your pillows or mattresses? Allow us to be brutally and grossly honest; your pillow houses the bacteria that we cannot see, dead skin cells and house dust mites. Did we just kill your desire to get cosy in your bed after a long tiring day?

Ahead, we list out all the reasons why you need to switch your pillow. If you tick four by the time you are done reading the article, it's time to gift yourself a new pillow to avoid the horrors of dust mites.

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If you see lumps in your pillow, it is time to get a new one. (Photo: Thinkstock Images)

Waking up with a neck or a back pain

Despite sleeping for a good 8 hours, if you wake up with an aching neck and if your head is pounding despite being hydrated, it is time to kiss your old pillow goodbye. This happens because your pillow has lost its firmness and bounce. Opt for a firm plush pillow, since this kind helps your head, shoulders and neck to be in a single neutral alignment. It is perfect for those who sleep on their sides.

The pillow has lumps

Lay your pillow flat, does it look flat or lumpy? If you see lumps, it is time to get a new one. Lumpy pillows cannot provide the firm support that is needed, in turn leading to shoulder pain and headaches. Lumps are usually found in cheap polyester pillows, which have a short lifespan. Choose a pillow with springy memory foam, since it takes the shape of your head and distributes weight evenly. It comes back to its original shape after rising. It is great for those who have a restless sleeping pattern or suffer from spine problems.

Discolouration or permanent sweat stains

Your pillow's life has come to an end when it begins to discolour, but check it after you take off the pillowcase. If you spot yellow sweat stains, you should definitely buy a new pillow. As gross as it sounds, the yellow denotes that bacteria and mould are starting to grow there and this can make you sick. Get rid of that pillow, ASAP!

It has begun to smell

Your pillow can start to smell funny, but the odour will be gradual, making it easy to overlook. Often, we don't realise it but it is a sign that you have to switch things up. Over a period of time, our pillows start accumulating and housing sweat, dead skin cells, natural body oils and trust us, it doesn't make for a clean bed.

It has flunked the bend test

Take your pillow and bed it until it looks like it is of U-shape. If it snaps back into its form, then the pillow is in good shape. If it doesn't, clearly it cannot support your neck and your head while you are asleep. If you often find yourself re-positioning or re-fluffing through the night, it needs to be tossed or it can disrupt a peaceful slumber too.