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The Best Thin Pillows Money Can Buy

When it comes to pillows, everyone has their own preferences. What could be more personal than where we lay our weary heads at the end of a long day for a well-earned sleep? Some people prefer big fluffy pillows that they can bury themselves into. Others like something a little thinner that won’t strain their neck and will be dependable. While “thin” is often used as a negative term to describe an unsatisfying sleep solution, sometimes it’s exactly what the doctor ordered to ensure that you get the full and satisfying sleep that you deserve.

Here at The Sleep Judge, we have compiled a series of top reviewed thin pillows to help you best determine which supports you and your sleep position the best. Over the course of a few weeks, we have tried and tested these pillows to see how well they hold up to the claims they make, and you’ll find a detailed review of our findings below.

Everything you could possibly want to know about the finest thin pillows on the market can be found below. All you need to do is keep your eyes glued to this page and scroll away to find the thin pillow (and the satisfying sleep) you deserve!

Rank Product Highlights Trial / Warranty
#1

Bluewave Bedding Memory Foam Pillow

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  • Good for back and stomach sleepers
  • Good for side sleepers that prop their arm beneath their head
  • Sleeps cool
  • 30 Day Trial Period
  • 3 Year Warranty
#2

Sleep Restoration Bed Pillow

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  • Gel-fiber is cooling
  • Keeps it shape
  • Great combination of soft comfort and firm support
  • 30 Day Trial Period
  • 30 Day Warranty
#3

Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Pillow

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  • Excellent for stomach sleeping
  • Provides contouring without bottoming out
  • Amongst the thinnest available
  • 30 Day Warranty
#4

The Pancake Pillow

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  • Fully adjustable
  • Good for all sleep positions
  • Sleeps cool
  • 30 Day Trial Period
  • 30 Day Warranty
#5

Xtreme Comforts Pillow

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  • Good airflow
  • Long warranty guarantee
  • Soft, washable cover
  • 6 Year Warranty
#6

Tempur-Symphony Pillow

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  • Top quality memory foam
  • Washable cover
  • Dual-sided support
  • 5 Year Warranty
#7

Nature’s Pillows Sobakawa Cloud Pillow

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  • Great neck, back and hip support
  • Sleeps very cool
  • Best value for money
  • 30 Day Trial Period
#8

Serta Innocor Comfort Pillow

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  • Very cooling
  • Pillow keeps its shape and provides good contouring
  • Very helpful for sore and stiff neck
  • 5 Year Warranty
#9

Leesa Pillow

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  • Instant response foam comfort
  • Perfect firmness for those who prefer high-loft
  • Easy, hassle free returns
  • 100 Day Trial Period
  • 3 Year Warranty

1. Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel-Infused Pillow

Editor’s Pick

SPECS

  • Filling – Memory Foam
  • Loft – 3 inches
  • Density – Firm

One of most popular thin pillow choices on the market, the Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow is infused with a memory foam gel that helps draw heat from your body through the process of heat conduction. This helps provide a soothing, cooling sensation and is popular with many memory foam brands on the market.

This pillow has a thin, rounded side for your comfort and is among the thinnest choices available on the market. It will keep both your head and neck supported without bottoming out against the mattress. It also boasts a soft, breathable bamboo cover that is both washable, naturally hypoallergenic and odor-resistant.

Created primarily for back and stomach sleepers, this pillow will support your neck when needed, while also providing some soft contouring for pressure relief. This pillow is also perfect for anyone who sleeps warm, making it a perfect choice for many back sleepers looking for proper spinal alignment. Many stomach sleepers also prefer it over other choices, but for smaller bodies the pillow may raise the head just a bit too much.

Pros Cons
  • Good for back and stomach sleepers
  • Good for side sleepers that prop their arm beneath their head
  • Sleeps cool
  • May be too firm
  • Not good for combo or side sleepers

Read our full review

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2. Sleep Restoration Bed Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling – Poly Fiber-gel
  • Loft – 4 inches
  • Density – Medium Plush

Best for warm sleepers

Backed by a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, the Sleep Restoration Bed Pillow provides a plush contour with a firm and supportive feel. Considered an excellent choice for both back and stomach sleepers, the fill distributes evenly when weight is applied to keep your neck well-supported.

The polyfill is also gel infused, making it a breathable and cooler filling that helps extract heat from your skin surface to create a cooling effect. Combined with a 100% cotton, 240 thread count casing, this helps promote airflow through the pillow to keep you sleeping more comfortably through the night.

This is a great choice for warm sleepers looking for a supportive pillow if they sleep primarily on their backs. As mentioned above, it’s also popular for many stomach sleepers, though body size, weight and personal preference will factor in due to its slightly higher loft (height and thickness of the pillow). While this pillow won’t work for absolutely everyone, those whose sleep needs align with the makeup of this pillow will be thrilled.

Pros Cons
  • Gel-fiber is cooling
  • Keeps it shape
  • Great combination of soft comfort and firm support
  • Too soft for a side sleeper
  • May be a bit plush for stomach sleepers

Read our full review

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3. Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling – Memory Foam
  • Loft – 2 inches
  • Density – Firm

Best for stomach sleepers

Considered one of the thinnest pillows available in the sleep industry, the Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Pillow is a dual-sided memory foam pillow with a flat and rounded surface for your personal preference. Memory foam is also naturally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and antibacterial making it a good choice for allergy sufferers.

Many thin pillows bottom out on the mattress once you lay on them, but this pillow provides proper support without lifting your head too far forward when on your back, or too high when you place it beneath your stomach. Those with naturally smaller builds may find it doesn’t work well as a stomach pillow due to its firmness, as it may lift their head more than they prefer. Some have also reported issues with the slight heat sink that occurs with many memory foam products due to the nature of the pillow construction.

This is an excellent choice for stomach sleepers as the low loft and slight contour provides both support and comfort. Although memory foam naturally conducts heat, it hasn’t been a chief complaint particularly in households where ambient room temperature is well-controlled.

Check out our recommendations for the best flat pillows

Pros Cons
  • Excellent for stomach sleeping
  • Provides contouring without bottoming out
  • Amongst the thinnest available
  • Offgassing upon opening
  • May be too firm for some preferences
  • May sleep warm

Read our full review

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4. The Pancake Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling – Down Alternative Microfiber
  • Loft – Adjustable
  • Density – Adjustable

Best for back sleepers

The Pancake Pillow offers a unique and innovative design that allows you to customize your sleep experience no matter what position you sleep in. Given how adjustable this pillow is, it makes an excellent choice as a thin pillow as each of the 6 pillows measure only 2 inches each. These pillows are easy to remove from their packaging as the zippered case has openings along 3 of the 4 sides.

Each layer is considered a soft density which easily compresses to create a more firm or softer sleeping experience. Its loft is also completely adjustable to be used as a side, back or stomach sleeping option. The hypoallergenic polyfill is a down alternative and distributes itself easily to keep from lofting up around your head, depending on your preferred sleep position.

This thin pillow is a great choice for all sleep positions, but is particularly useful for back sleepers as it provides excellent neck support, as well as cool and plush comfort. Stomach sleepers may also really enjoy this pillow, although the fewer layers used, the less firm support that will be available.

Pros Cons
  • Fully adjustable
  • Great for back sleepers
  • Sleeps cool
  • Extra material
  • Zipper may catch on the pillows
  • Slight offgassing

Read our full review

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5. Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling – Shredded Memory Foam
  • Loft – 5 inches
  • Density – Plush

Best warranty guarantee

Unlike many other shredded memory foam options, this pillow is not adjustable. It’s also geared specifically for back and stomach sleepers (although smaller bodies may also find it appropriate for side sleeping as well). Shredded memory foam has many advantages over memory foam in general as it’s much more breathable, it contours without being too firm and it’s adjustable for overall pillow shaping.

The highly breathable and quilted bamboo cover helps to ensure you have a comfortable resting surface that allows for a free flow of air throughout the pillow. Its thinner profile offers excellent head and neck support for back sleepers of all body shapes and sizes. It’s also a preferred comfort choice for many stomach sleepers.

Unlike many memory foam products, this pillow is machine washable due to how breathable it is. This helps keep it fluffed and working as it should without bunching up in one area.

Pros Cons
  • Good airflow
  • 6 year warranty
  • Soft, washable cover
  • Slight offgassing
  • May be too lofty for some preferences
  • Some people don’t like the feel of the shreds

Read our full review

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6. Tempur-Symphony Pillow

SPECS

 

  • Filling – Memory Foam
  • Loft – 5 inches
  • Density – Plush

Best quality memory foam

Tempur-Pedic has been around for over 25 years and continues to meet quality industry standards with their innovative approaches to sleep comfort. Their patented memory foam was first designed to help with NASA space flight, and was later tweaked to create a new form of mattress construction.

The Tempur-Symphony offers the soft and luscious surface that the company is known for in a unique shape and low loft. While it’s clear that not all sleepers will have the same experience with any pillow, the Tempur-Symphony’s unique size and feel has definitely been appreciated across the board. If you don’t like firm pillows but appreciate the contouring that memory foam provides, this is an ideal choice for you. It’s a lighter weight pillow and provides an instant sink when you rest your head on it.

Pros Cons
  • Top quality memory foam
  • Washable cover
  • Dual-sided support
  • No trial period
  • May not work for stomach sleepers
  • Pillow not washable

7. Sobakawa Cloud Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling – Buckwheat
  • Loft – 3 inches
  • Density – Medium

Best value for money

The quality and longevity of the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is undeniable. As this pillow has a buckwheat filling, it may not be the optimum choice for everyone, even if they do find it comfortable. However, those who love it swear by it. This is especially true for those who suffer from neck or back pain, headaches, or snoring, and nothing else seems to help.

While the pillow isn’t adjustable without modification, it has a good balance of fill for proper support of any body shape or size, even in a small pillow package size. If the Sobakawa Pillow sounds like a product that may fulfil your needs, you should definitely give it a go. Most third-party sellers offer a 30-day return, so you can at least try it out before committing. With two sizes to choose from, it also provides support to a wide variety of body sizes and preferences (although in our trials we saw the smaller size fit a wide range of body types).

Pros Cons
  • Great neck, back and hip support
  • Sleeps very cool
  • Best value for money
  • Not adjustable
  • Small size
  • Heavy and slightly noisy

Read our full review

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8. Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling – Cooling gel infused memory foam
  • Loft – 2 inches
  • Density – Firm

Best for side sleepers

Made for back and side sleepers, this soft gel-infused memory foam pillow has a 2-inch loft to provide shaping and contour for your head and neck. It was created to provide a cooler night’s sleep and help your body maintain its cervical spine alignment through the night. The pillow should never become flat, but should maintain its shape for life to ensure optimal comfort.

This pillow also has a ‘Cool Vent’ design for optimal airflow throughout the pillow. These are patterned holes in the foam that provide additional breathability. There are also two poly covers: the inner cover is fairly simple and is folded over the pillow envelope-style. The outer cover is of much higher quality and has a micro-vented material with double stitched, supportive piped edges. This is smooth, soft and maintains the pillow’s airflow with its thousands of tiny breathable holes. In other words, if you can’t achieve a cool and comfortable sleep while your head rests on this beauty, it’s your fault – not the pillow’s!

Pros Cons
  • Very cooling/breathable
  • Pillow keeps its shape and provides good contouring
  • Very helpful for sore and stiff neck
  • May be a bit too thick
  • May begin to break down with heavy use
  • Slight off-gassing

9. Leesa Pillow

 

SPECS

    • Filling – Avena foam
    • Loft – 5 inches
    • Density – Firm

Best high loft option

Last but not least, the Leesa is quite simply one of the most comfortable pillows you’ll ever rest your head on. The luxurious feel of the patented Avena polyfoam that provides soft, supportive comfort should suit any sleeping position. A protective washable cover, effective cooling design and long-lasting comfort are just a few of the attributes making this a top-selling product. With a company who stands by its products with satisfaction guarantees, you can rest assured that the quality and materials used in the construction are top-notch. Some users have reported that it’s not thick enough if you have broad shoulders, and that there have been some defects with the king-size not perfectly fitting a king bed. If you encounter any issues like these, Leesa offers easy, hassle-free returns if you do change your mind. With its impressive 100-day trial and 3-year limited warranty, you really can’t go wrong with giving this pillow a go.

Pros Cons
  • Instant response foam comfort
  • Perfect firmness for those who prefer high-loft
  • Easy, hassle free returns
  • Not thick enough for broad shoulders
  • King size dimensions may not fit king bed well

A Thin Pillows Buyers Guide

There are many personal and specific reasons why many sleepers out there prefer a thin pillow to firmer alternatives. If you’ve ever wondered why this particular style of pillow seems to work the best for you, all the answers you’ve been searching for can be found below.

Back and Neck Alignment

Your overall health is highly influenced by your quality of sleep each night. How well your back and neck are supported is an important part of your overall comfort, and when your body is poorly positioned, it can result in a restless and sleepless night. These interruptions to your sleep keep you from progressing normally throughout the stages of sleep, which is vital for your mental and physical health. In other words, a poor night’s sleep can negatively affect pivotal parts of your daily life. This is why it’s crucial to determine your ideal sleeping position, pillow, mattress and bedding to suit your needs. Otherwise, this is greatly restricting you from living your best life!

As you sleep, your spine should be kept in alignment to avoid stress and strain on both your vertebrae and the soft tissue surrounding them. If your spine isn’t properly aligned and well-supported as you sleep each night, you could be on the road to a painful, long-lasting injury, so this is a huge responsibility to take seriously!

Sleep Position vs. Pillow Comfort

The sleep position that you naturally fall into each night should always be supported by your sleep product choices. Often overlooked and misunderstood by most consumers is the vital importance of pillow comfort and exactly how it keeps your head and neck supported. Many believe that a pillow is a pillow and one size fits all, but this belief couldn’t be further from the truth. We all have a specific style of pillow that we need to suit our sleep needs, and it’s important that we find the right pillow in order to get the sleep that we deserve.

Back Sleep Position Needs

Back sleepers should look for a thinner yet firmer pillow that can support your neck and cradle your head. This position is ideal for cervical alignment and a restful sleep. Memory foam and down fillings are popular choices for back sleepers as they conform to your head’s shape and distribute the filling between the head, neck and shoulders.

You may be interested in: Best Pillows For Back Sleepers

Stomach Sleep Position Needs

Considered the worst natural sleep position you could fall into, if sleeping on your stomach is your unconscious comfort choice, then you should definitely make it as comfortable as possible. The problem with stomach sleeping is that your neck will never be in complete alignment due to having your head turned to one side or the other. As a result, ensuring that your back is in correct posture is incredibly important.

Sleeping without a pillow is the preferable choice, but since most people find this to be uncomfortable, choosing the right pillow for you is vital. A thin and contouring pillow with a low loft would be your best bet, as this will softly cradle your head and give you sufficient neck support.

You may be interested in: Best Pillows For Stomach Sleepers

Side Sleep Position Needs

Gusseted pillows with higher lofts are a favorite among slide sleepers due to how much support is needed between the head and shoulders. Thick pillows that provide plush contouring and firm support is your best option if the side is your go-to sleep position. This is important in order to keep the soft tissues of your neck well supported and allow it to rest without placing additional strain on the spine.

You may be interested in: Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

Why Would You Want a Thinner Pillow?

If you’re a back sleeper, thin pillows should be a go-to for your sleep comfort needs. As mentioned above, they provide the proper alignment needed for these positions, as well as neck support to allow a more restful, relaxed night.

Of course, not all thin pillows are made the same, and for back sleeping you’ll want one that conforms to your neck without elevating your head too much. You’ll also need to ensure your head doesn’t sink too far back, which will compress your vertebrae. For stomach sleepers, look for a pillow that keeps your head level with your shoulders and again, won’t lift your head too high to avoid stress to your upper and lower back.

Side sleepers should avoid thin pillows as it will make your head angle downwards, placing strain on your spinal column and creating compression and strain on the soft tissues of your neck.

Pillow Loft

As we’ve already touched on, pillow loft refers to how high a pillow sits when laying flat, and a thin pillow likely won’t have more than 2 to 3 inches of loft depending on the filling material. Occasionally, you may find a higher loft in a thin pillow, but generally the filling will be highly compressible and evenly distribute when pressure is applied to provide support where needed.

Many people wrongly assume that if a pillow is thin, that means it’s not very supportive. However, thin pillows often have great contouring and support where needed, and can be used in a variety of ways to support both your head (not to mention they can also be used for knee, lumbar, and hip support as well).

Pillow Size and Care

Pillow sizes are not one-size-fits-all, and being able to distinguish between what you currently have, what’s on the market, and what you need is part of the process of choosing what’s best for you. Most pillows only have an 18 – 36 month lifespan as well. To determine the expiry of your pillow, simply fold in half – if it doesn’t bounce back into shape, then it’s probably time for a new one.

Industry standard pillow sizes measure 20×26, 28, 30, or 36 inches for standard, super standard, queen and king sizes respectively. Most pillows are generally sold as a standard or queen size, but other sizes are used for different body heights, weights and shoulder spans to provide both personal comfort preferences and support.

Specialty pillows may deviate from these measurements depending on what they’ve been manufactured for. Contoured pillows or high-loft specialty pillows made for a specific purpose may have slightly different measurements and be sold as a one-size-fits-all pillow.

What to Consider When Choosing a Thin Pillow

If you aren’t 100% sure a thin pillow is for you, or if you’ve had trouble finding the ideal thin pillow in the past, we’ve outlined some of the best in the industry below. You should ask yourself the following questions while browsing through our top picks to determine exactly what your perfect match will be.

What is your natural sleeping position?

If you’re a back or stomach sleeper, then a thin pillow purchase is the route you should be leaning towards. However, if you sleep on your side (or are a combination sleeper), then you should consider a thin pillow carefully. Thin pillows often don’t offer enough support for side sleepers. You may want to consider a pillow that can be adjusted to your unique needs. Sure, you may have preferred thin pillows in the past, but if you’re a side or combination sleeper they’re scientifically not the correct pillow for you. In this case, you should try another pillow – you may be shocked at how much this change will positively impact your sleep and overall health.

Do you know the difference between a high and low loft?

Pictures don’t often do a product justice, and if a pillow’s loft is specified in its description, you should definitely know the difference between high, medium and low lofts. Low loft pillows often measure between 2 and 3 inches in height, with an average pillow height being around 5 inches. Anything higher than this may be considered a medium-high loft and will be a firmer pillow.

Do you sleep warm?

Certain materials have more breathability than others, and if a more dense fill is used in a pillow, it may sleep warmer than you’d like – especially if you’re already a warm sleeper. Memory foam is notorious for this issue, so many companies also use cooling type processes to help you achieve a more comfortable sleep. When searching for your best match, take note of your natural body temperature when you sleep so you can identify the type of pillow that will suit you perfectly.

Do you check your pillow’s expiry every 18 months to 2 years?

As previously mentioned, pillows don’t last forever (or at the very least, their comfort certainly doesn’t last forever). Over time, pillow filling becomes compressed and is less supportive. All materials wear down through consistent use, and pillows are no exception to this. Having said this, you can always put old pillows to good use as a second supportive pillow. Taking note of your pillow’s lifespan should begin after about 18 months of use, which is when their expiry will typically be. Although many can last much longer, this is a good habit to get into to watch for signs of poor support. Sleeping on a worn-down pillow won’t do you any good, even if the pillow was once a perfect fit for your sleep needs.

Conclusion

Choosing the right pillow will make a huge impact on the quality of your sleep and plays an important part in maintaining your overall health. Ensuring that you choose a pillow that supports your spinal alignment in relation to your sleep position is an incredibly important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep in mind the types of pillows made specifically for back, side and stomach sleepers depending on your natural sleep position, then narrow down your choices to take a closer look at each.

Your comfort must always be prioritized, so choosing one best pillow is not always advantageous due to how personal and unique this decision is for everyone. This is why we’ve presented you with 9 different choices to closely compare each. As a stomach sleeper myself, I did find all the pillows to have positive, comforting aspects as detailed in each of their respective reviews, but preferred the Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow as the most comfortable go-to. The only way to be absolutely certain that you’ve chosen the right pillow for you is to sleep on it.

We hope that the information and options provided here will steer you in the right direction towards finding the perfect pillow. The right pillow will immeasurably improve the quality of your sleep, which will in turn have a significant impact on your overall health. Treat this decision with the gravity that it deserves and look forward to bringing home the best thin pillow for you!

You may want to read: The Benefits of a Bamboo Pillow and Its Cons

Frequently Asked Questions

What are thin pillows good for?

If you sleep on your stomach or back, proper spinal alignment isn’t possible with a thick pillow. A thin pillow delivers the soft, cushioning comfort you enjoy, but at a minimal angle so that your head and neck can rest almost directly on the mattress.

How do you find a comfortable thin pillow?

For back sleepers, look for a firmer pillow with a memory foam or down fill that will help support your neck and cradle your head for ideal spinal alignment. If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll want to forego the plush fill for something a little more contouring for gentle neck support. In this case, a gel memory foam would be the way to go.

Are thin pillows better than firm pillows?

A thin pillow actually comes in a variety of lofts and support levels ranging from firm to plush. For back sleepers, a thin memory foam pillow that offers firm support is ideal. It’s constructed to allow for weight contouring without ever losing the support you need.