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Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim, Gel-Infused, Memory Foam Pillow
Sleep Restoration Gel-Fiber Filled Pillow
Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow
The Pancake Pillow
Xtreme Comforts SlimSleeper Shredded Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
Nature’s Pillows Sobakawa Cloud Pillow
Innocor Comfort by Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow
Our Top Thin Pillows
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 like big fluffy pillows that they can bury themselves into. Others like something a little thinner. Something that won’t strain their neck and they can depend on. We’re talking about thin pillows here, people! 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 slept with, laid upon, and otherwise lived with these pillows to see how well they hold up to the claims they make- and a quick review of our findings are located below.
Following the list of our top five favorite thin pillows, you’ll find a thorough exploration on what to look for in a think pillow to suit your specific sleep needs. In other words, everything that 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. All will be revealed. Read on to find the thin pillow (and the satisfying sleep) that you deserve!
1. Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Gel-Infused Pillow
- Filling– Memory Foam
- Loft– 3 inches
- Density– Firm
A popular thin pillow choice, the Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Pillow is infused with a memory foam gel that helps draw heat from your body though the process of heat conduction. This helps provide a soothing cooling sensation, and is popular with many memory foam brands due to how easily foams can create a heat sink otherwise.
This pillow has a thin and rounded side for your comfort, and is amongst the thinnest choices available on the current 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, and naturally hypoallergenic and odor resistant.
Created primarily for back and stomach sleepers, this pillow will support your neck when needed, whil also providing some soft contouring for pressure relief. This pillow is perfect for anyone who sleeps warm as well, making it a perfect choice for many back sleepers looking for proper spinal alignment. Many stomach sleepers also prefer it over many other choices, but for smaller bodies the pillow may raise the head just a bit too much.
- 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
2. Super Plush Sleep Restoration Gel-Fiber Pillow
- Filling– Poly Fiber-gel
- Loft– 4 inches
- Density– Medium Plush
Backed by a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, the super plush sleep restoration pillow provides a plush contour with a firm and supportive feel. Considered a decent choice for stomach sleepers and an excellent choice for back sleepers, the fill distributes evenly when weight is applied to keep your neck well supported without lifting up the material to cover your head in any way. It’s a delicate balance.
The polyfill is also gel infused, making it a breathable and cooler filling that helps pull heat from your skin surface and create a cooling effect. Combined with a 100% cotton, 240 thread count casing, this helps create easy airflow through the pillow to keep you sleeping more comfortably through the night.
This is a great choice for hot sleepers looking for a good back sleep supporting pillow. It also is popular for many stomach sleepers, although body size and personal preference may play a factor due to the little bit of a higher loft that is important to take note of. This pillow won’t work for absolutely everyone, but those whose sleep needs line up with the nature of this pillow will be thrilled.
- 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
3. Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow
- Filling– Memory Foam
- Loft– 2 inches
- Density– Firm
Considered one of the thinnest pillows available in the sleep industry, the Elite rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Pillow is a memory foam pillow that is dual sided with a flat and rounded surface for personal preference options. 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 use it for your stomach. Smaller bodied people may find it doesn’t work well as a stomach pillow due to the firmness of it that may lift their head more than they prefer. Some people also have had 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 both back and stomach sleepers as the low loft and slight contour provides support and comfort. Although memory foam can sleep a bit warmer, it is not a chief complaint nor does it seem to be a problem where ambient room temperature is well controlled.
- 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
4. The Pancake Pillow
- Filling– Down Alternative Microfiber
- Loft– Adjustable
- Density– Adjustable
The Pancake Pillow offers a wholly unique and innovative design that creates the opportunity for you to customize your sleep experience no matter what position you sleep in. Due to how adjustable this pillow is, it makes an excellent choice as a thin pillow favorite as each of the 6 pillows measure only 2 inches each. These pillows are easy to remove or add as needed using the zippered case that has access along 3 of the 4 sides.
Each layer is considered a soft density, which easily compresses when layered to create a more firm, or soft sleeping experience. Your loft is also completely adjustable in order to use a a side, back, or stomach sleeping choice. The hypoallergenic polyfill is a down alternative, and distributes fairly easily to keep it from lofting up around your head too much depending upon your sleep position preferences.
This thin pillow is a great choice for all sleep positions, but is particularly nice 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 the layers used, the less firm support is available.
- Fully adjustable
- Good for all sleep positions
- Sleeps cool
- Extra material
- Zipper may catch on the pillows
- Slight offgassing
5. Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- Filling– Shredded Memory Foam
- Loft– 5 inches
- Density– Plush
Unlike many other shredded memory foam options, this pillow is not adjustable. It is 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 is much more breathable, it offers contouring without being too firm, and it is also adjustable for overall pillow shaping.
The highly breathable and quilted bamboo cover helps ensure that you have a comfortable resting surface that allows for a free flow of air through the pillow (which helps keep heat moving away from your skin). Plus, the thinner profile offers excellent head and neck support for back sleepers of almost all shapes and sizes. It is also a preferred comfort choice for many stomach sleepers as well.
Unlike many memory foam products, this pillow is actually machine washable due to how breathable it is. This helps keep it fluffed and working as it should without bunching up in any one area.
- Good airflow
- Holds up well
- Soft, washable cover
- Slight offgassing
- May be too lofty for some preferences
- Some people don’t like the feel of the shreds
6. Tempur-Symphony Pillow
- Filling– Memory Foam
- Loft– 5 inches
- Density– Plush
Tempur-Pedic has been around for over 25 years now 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 it was later tweaked to create a new form of mattress construction. So, if it’s good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for you. Astronauts need quality sleep, after all.
The Tempur-Symphony offers that soft and luscious surface that the company was known for in a unique shape with a thin loft. Obviously, not all sleepers will respond to any pillow in the same way. However, the for those inclined to appreciate this pillow’s unique size and feel, this will do the trick. If you don’t like more firm pillows but do like the contouring that memory foam can provide, this is an excellent choice to consider. It is a lighter weight pillow and truly provides an instant sink to the weight you place upon it.
- Very contouring
- Washable cover
- Dual-sided support
- No trial period
- May not work for stomach sleepers
- Pillow not washable
7. Nature’s Pillows Sobakawa Cloud Pillow
- Filling– Buckwheat
- Loft– 3 inches
- Density– Medium
The quality of the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow is undeniable as is it’s longevity, given that Nature is renowned for excellent customer service. Because this pillow has buckwheat filling, it may not be the best choice for everyone, even if they do find it comfortable. However, those who love it, swear by it. This is especially true for those suffer from neck or back pain, headaches, or snoring, and nothing else seems to help.
While the pillow is not adjustable without modification, it has a good balance of fill for proper support of any size body, even in a small pillow package size. If Nature’s Pillows Sobakawa Pillow sounds like an interesting product, you should definitely check it out. 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).
- Great neck support
- Sleeps very cool
- Great for hip support as well in stomach sleeping position
- Not adjustable
- Small size
- Heavy and slightly noisy
8. Innocor Comfort by Serta Gel Memory Foam Side Sleeper Pillow
- Filling– Cooling gel infused memory foam
- Loft– 2 inches
- Density– Firm
Made for back and side sleepers, this soft gel-infused memory foam pillow has a 2-inch gusset to provide shaping and contour for your head and neck. It was created to provide a cooler night’s sleep, excellent response, and help your body maintain cervical alignment through the night. The pillow is never supposed to go flat. It should maintain its shape for life to ensure optimal comfort.
This pillow also has a ‘Cool Vent’ design for optimal airflow through the pillow. These are patterned holes through the foam that provide additional breathability. There are also two poly covers. The inner cover is a fairly simple and is folded over the pillow in an envelope style. The outer cover is of much higher quality and has a microvented material with double stitched, supportive piped edges. This was smooth, soft, and supported the overall pillow airflow due to the thousands of tiny holes to allow for uninterrupted passage of air. In other words, if you can’t have a cool and soft sleep while your head rests on this beauty, it’s your fault and not the pillow’s.
- Very cooling
- 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 Pillow
- Filling– Avena foam
- Loft– 5 inches
- Density– Firm
The Leesa is quite simply one of the most comfortable pillows that you’ll ever rest your weary head on. The amazing feel of the patented Avena polyfoam that provides soft and supportive comfort is definitely an asset to a restful sleep, working well with nearly any sleep position. A protective washable cover, effective cooling design, and easy comfort help define the assets of this product and make it 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 a top notch. There’s practically nothing to complain about here. The Leesa pillow makes bold claims and delivers on all of them. Try it out for a few nights and prepare to get addicted. You’ll never even consider going back to another pillow ever again.
- Instant response foam comfort
- Provides great neck support
- Easy, hassle free returns
- Not thick enough for broad shoulders
- King size dimensions don’t fit king bed well
A Thin Pillows Buyers Guide
Here’s why you might choose a thin pillow out of the vast array of sleep options on the market. It’s not merely a random personal preference. There are many specific reasons why so many sleepers out there prefer a thin pillow to the alternatives. If you’ve ever wondered why this particular style pillow seems to work the best for you, all the answers that you’ve been craving can be found below.
Back and Neck Alignment
Your overall health is highly influenced by the quality of sleep you receive 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 wakeful night. These interruptions to your sleep keep you from cycling properly through the sleep stages, which help support your mental and physical body function. In other words, a poor nights sleep can negatively affect seemingly every aspect of your life. So, it’s vital to determine the best sleep position, pillow, mattress, and bedding to suit your needs. Otherwise, you simply aren’t living your best life!
As you sleep, your spinal column should be kept in alignment to avoid stress and strain both upon your vertebrae as well as the supportive soft tissues surrounding them. Since your central nervous system is a part of this, and essentially is what controls your entire body, this is an important consideration to take into account each night. If you aren’t properly aligned and supported as you sleep at night, you could be on the road to a painful and long-lasting injury. So take this responsibility seriously!
Sleep Position vs. Pillow Comfort
The sleep position that you naturally fall into each night can and should 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 works to keep both your head and neck supported. Many people 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 and firmer pillow that is able to support your neck and provide a slight cradle to 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 are able to conform well to the head and distribute filling to where support is needed between the head and shoulders.
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 need to make the most of it. The problem with stomach sleeping is that your neck will never be in complete alignment due to having to turn your head to one side or the other. As a result, making sure the rest of 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 type of pillow is vital. A thin and contouring pillow without too plush a loft should be sought out to keep material away from your face, while also allowing for a soft cradling of your head and some slight neck support.
Side Sleep Position Needs
Gusseted pillows with higher lofts are a favorite amongst slide sleepers due to how much space needs to be supported between the head and shoulders. Thick pillows that provide a plush contouring and firm support, is what you need to seek out if this is your preferred sleep position. This is important in order to keep the soft tissues of your neck well supported and allow it to be able to rest without placing any additional strain on the spine.
Thin pillows, unless for a child, are generally not lofty enough in order to provide this type of support.
Why Would You Want a Thinner Pillow?
If you are a back sleeper then 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 the neck support to allow a more restful, relaxed night.
Of course, not all thin pillows are made the same, and for back sleeping you will want one that conforms to your neck without lifting your head too high. You also will need to make sure your head doesn’t sink too far back, which will compress your vertebrae. For stomach sleeping look for one that keeps your head level with your shoulders and again, doesn’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 create compression and strain upon the soft tissues of your neck.
Pillow loft refers to how high a pillow sits when laying flat, and a thin pillow most likely won’t have much more that 2 to 3 inches of loft total depending on the type of filling is used within it. Occasionally you may find a bit of a higher loft, but generally the filling will be highly compressible and also evenly distribute when pressure is applied to provide support where needed.
Many people wrongly assume that if a pillow is thin, that means it is 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 the fact that they can also be used for knee, lumbar, and hip support as well).
Pillow Size and Care
Pillow sizes are not a one size fits all, and knowing the difference between what you have, what is offered, and what you need, is part of the process of choosing what is best for you. Most pillows only have an 18 – 36 month life as well, and to tell if your pillow is expired, simply fold in half- and 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. Generally most pillows are sold as a standard or queen size, but varying other sizes are used for different body heights, weights, and shoulder width to provide both personal comfort preferences, as well as support.
Specialty pillows may deviate from these measurements due to what they have been constructed for. Contoured pillows, or high loft specialty pillows created for a specific purpose may have slightly different measurements nad be sold as a one size fits all choice.
What to Consider When Choosing a Thin Pillow
If you aren’t 100% sure a thin pillow is for you, or you have had trouble finding a thinner pillow to support your position in the past, we’ve outlined some of the best in the industry below- but first you should take into consideration a few things while browsing through our tops picks to determine what, exactly, is the best match for you.
What is your sleep position?
If you are a back or stomach sleeper, then a thin pillow purchase is the route that you should be leaning towards. However if you sleep on your side (or if you are a combination sleeper), then you need to consider a thin pillow carefully. Thin pillows often do not offer enough support for this side sleeping position. So, you may want to look into a pillow that can be adjusted to your unique needs. Sure, you may have preferred thin pillows in the past, but if you are a side or combination sleeper they are not the correct pillow for you. In this case, you should be trying another pillow and you may be shocked and how much that will positively impact your sleep and overall health.
Do you know the difference between a high and low loft?
Often pictures do not do a product justice and if the loft of a pillow is being used in its description, then you should definitely know the differences between high and low lofts (as well as what is used as a fill). Low loft pillows often measure between 2 and 3 inches in height, with an average pillow height measuring in right around 5 inches. Anything higher may be considered a high loft and firmer choice.
Do you sleep warm?
Certain materials breathe better than others, and if a more dense fill is used within a pillow, it may sleep warmer than you like if you are already a warm sleeper. Memory foam is notorious for this issue, so many companies also use cooling type processes to help keep you getting a better night’s rest. When searching for your best match, take note of these types of claims and whether they stand up to the hype.
Test your pillow age 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 less supportive. All materials wear down through consistent usage and pillows are no exception to this rule. That said, you can always put old pillows to good use as a second supportive pillow, or even get creative with it. Checking your pillow for signs of replacement should begin after about 18 months of use. 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.
You may be interested in: Best Pillow For Stomach Sleepers
Choosing the right pillow will make a huge impact on the quality of your sleep and that plays an important part of your overall health. So making sure 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 and stomach sleepers if this is a preferred position, and then narrow down your choices to take a closer look at each.
Of course, your comfort also needs to be taken into consideration, and so choosing one best pillow for you to consider is not always advantageous due to how personal and unique this comfort is. Hence why we have presented you with 5 different choices to review further. 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 a regular comfort go to. The only way to be absolutely certain that you have chosen the right pillow for you is to sleep on it.
However, we hope that the information and options provided here will push you in the right direction towards finding the perfect pillow. The right pillow will immeasurably improve the quality of your sleep and that will have a positive impact on your overall health. So treat this decision with the gravity that it deserves and bring home the thin pillow of your dreams!
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 plusher 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 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. And because your neck and head are positioned at a minimal angle, you experience optimal spinal alignment throughout the night.