sleeper scarf

Photo: Courtesy of Sleeper Scarf

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The Most Stylish Neck Protector
What: The Sleeper Scarf, $65

What for: Helping you deal with a sore, achy neck when you're traveling.

How it works: It's a scarf! It's a neck pillow! It's an inflatable travel neck pillow hidden in a scarf!

Why it might help: You know that a neck pillow makes it easier to sleep while you're sitting upright, but there's also research that shows it can aid in the relief of chronic neck pain, says Raphael Castro, DC, a chiropractor in Rockland County, New York, who is a fan of the Sleeper Scarf. When you nod off with your head tipped sideways, you risk overstretching the ligaments in your neck. Even when you wake up and release the pressure, the ligaments remain strained, leading to a stiff neck and potentially long-term neck problems later. A neck pillow (or cervical pillow, as it's known to doctors) keeps the spine and head in alignment, Castro says.

One more thing: Castro adds that neck pillows can also prevent cervicogenic headaches, which are often caused by stress to the neck and involve a steady, non-throbbing pain at the back and base of the skull.