The Best Flat Pillows for a Refreshing Night’s Sleep

Need help with a better night’s sleep? Sleeping well and feeling re-energized requires a straight spine, and depending on your sleep position, flat pillows can help.

By Sheryl Grassie

Apr 30th, 2023

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A flat pillow is not like a flat tire, something the air has gone out of. You may initially draw that association, but a flat pillow is an intentionally thinner version of a regular pillow, one that is designed to support certain sleep positions with less loft.

Simply stated, a flat, thin, or low-profile pillow can be a great way to support your spine in maintaining proper alignment while you sleep. Maybe you already prefer a flat pillow, especially if you’ve had the experience of a big pillow misaligning your neck; you wake stiff, out of kilter, and ready to call the chiropractor.

A flat pillow could be your best option for both comfort and spinal alignment. But why do we need to sleep with our spines aligned? The short answer is that nerves and blood vessels run through our spine, and when the spine is unnaturally curved, especially for a prolonged period like during sleep, it can pinch nerves and restrict blood flow which can affect both sleep and health.

Our Top Picks for the Best Flat Pillows

There is not a singular component that makes a flat pillow great. There are many different kinds of flat pillows made from an assortment of materials to suit individual preferences. In choosing our best picks, we considered a variety of materials and cost ranges, but our all choices are high quality and readily available.

Nolah Squishy Pillow

Nolah Squishy Pillow

Although this super-plush pillow appears quite buoyant and fluffy, it’s also highly compressible, so it flattens way down while sleeping. If you find that it’s still too plump for your liking, you can remove some of the stuffing to reach your desired height and density. The pillow’s shredded memory foam fill can be accessed by a double zipper on the side of the pillow, which gives a large enough opening to add or remove fill easily.


Nolah’s pillow also has a dual-chamber design, with an inner cover that contains the filling and an outer cover made from a bamboo-polyester blend viscose that’s breathable and cool to the touch. The shredded foam fill is Oeko-Tex certified, which means it’s free from harmful chemicals, dyes, and toxins.


  • Price: $178 for two
  • Size: Queen
  • Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars


  • Easily adjustable
  • Very plush
  • Cooling cover


  • Only available in a two-pack
Luxome Layr Pillow

Luxome Layr Adjustable Pillow

Most adjustable pillows allow you to remove or add loose filling, but this one has a cleaner and easier method. Each Layr comes with three pillow inserts: a soft, medium, and hard, which can be grouped together and used interchangeably to get your ideal firmness and thickness.


If you prefer a flat pillow, the best pairings are the soft and medium inserts, or the one- or two-inch firm inserts (these come combined as a three-inch layer but can be used together or separately) and medium insert.


Because this pillow offers so many variations, we found it to be a great option for those that find it difficult to achieve their ideal pillow feel. It also works well as a guest room pillow because it’s comfortable for anyone and everyone that tries it.


The pillow is constructed with a bamboo viscose cover and gel-infused foam, which helps it feel cooler and more breathable. All of the foam inside the Layr is Certi-PUR US certified, so it won’t off-gas any harmful substances.


  • Price: $120-$150
  • Size: Standard, king
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  • Highly adjustable
  • Great for all sleeping positions
  • Breathable and cool


  • Pricey
  • Can feel overly complicated if you have simple pillow needs
Lagoon The Chinchilla Pillow

Lagoon Chinchilla

Ideal for back sleepers, the Chinchilla is made with a super-soft, highly compressible fill that’s akin to resting your head on a cloud—or at least what we imagine that feels like. The pillow is filled with 100% down alternative microfiber, which has the plush feeling of down without any of the allergy concerns or fear of being poked by a stray feather. If the pillow is still too plump for your liking, you can remove some fill to get it to sit even lower.


The pillow has a double liner with a removable top cover made from a bamboo polyester blend, which is soft yet durable, and has natural cooling properties. It’s also machine-washable, which makes it more hygienic and helps prevent dust buildup.


  • Price: $120-$140
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars


  • Very soft feel
  • Adjustable fill
  • Washable, removable cover


  • Might be too soft for some
tempur cloud cooling pro pillow 2

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Pro Pillow Lo

A single piece of memory foam can give a pillow a ton of support, but solid memory foam pillows tend to only come in dense, higher-profile form, which won’t work for flat pillow seekers. This Tempur-Pedic pillow, however, comes in three different profiles—low, mid, and high—so you can choose the one that best fits your sleep style and preferences without sacrificing on support.


The low-profile option uses an extra-soft foam blend that includes Tempur foam, which cradles the head and neck and adapts to your shape as you move. The Tempur-Cloud Pro comes with a stretchy knit cover that’s removable and machine-washable. It has a five-year warranty, so while the pillow is on the pricier side, it’s built to last.


  • Price: $160-$200
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars


  • Supportive to neck and head
  • Low, mid, and high heights
  • Washable, removable cover


  • Some may find it to be too firm
  • Foam can hold heat
Marlow Pillow Silo Stack A White Bkgd Cropped

Marlow The Pillow

Affordable, comfortable, and adjustable in just seconds, the Marlow pillow is tough to beat. It has a unique design that features dual zippers that can be left open to make the pillow feel more plump and lofted, or zipped down for a flattened feel.


Unlike many adjustable pillows that require you to add or remove filling, this one can be tweaked without leaving your bed—though in our testing we discover that it doesn’t dramatically change the firmness of the pillow.


The Marlow is filled with a combination of microfiber fill and gel-infused shredded memory foam that provides an ideal blend of support and softness. The two work in harmony to maintain good breathability and airflow, and pull heat away from your body. A cover made from 100% cotton feels cool to the touch, while mesh gussets along the sides help with ventilation when fully unzipped.


  • Price: $65-$85
  • Size: Standard, king
  • Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars


  • Affordable
  • Fast, easy adjustability
  • Built-in cooling properties


  • Can only be spot cleaned
  • Only adjustable to two lofts
coop home goods pillow

Coop Home Goods Original

With more than 54,000 reviews on that average to 4.5 out of 5 stars—and a 9/10 Mattress Advisor score—the Coop Home Goods Original Pillow is a fan favorite. Beloved for its affordable price and adjustability, the pillow is a great option if you want to take a hands-on approach to get your height and loft just right.


The Original comes pre-stuffed with a shredded memory foam and microfiber blend—and also includes an additional half-pound of fill on the side, so you can stuff it way up or change out the stuffing to maintain total control over the feel of your pillow.


Both the outer and inner linings are machine-washable, and the fill is both CertiPur-US and Greenguard Gold certified, which means that the pillow is free from any harmful toxins, chemicals, or materials. The top cover is made from a viscose rayon and polyester blend, which is highly breathable and cool to the touch—perfect for sweaty sleepers.


  • Price: $72-$92
  •  Size: Queen, King
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


  • Affordable
  • Adjustable with extra stuffing
  • Washable cover


  • Can be messy to adjust
Tempur-Cloud Adjustable Pillow Review

Tempur-Cloud Adjustable Pillow

This adjustable pillow uses a blend of three shredded foam fills to give it softness and support. Each type of foam has its own feel and purpose: Tempur Pressure Relief foam adapts to your weight, shape, and temperature; Tempur Plush Comfort adds pillowy softness and increases breathability and airflow; and Tempur Premium Support provides extra support to your head and neck and maintains the pillow’s structure over time.


You can remove as much of the filling as you like to get a soft, low profile. The pillow also has a machine-washable cover that includes the brand’s Surface Guard Technology, which is designed to keep the filling fresh and clean for years of use.


  • Price: $70-$90
  • Size: Queen, king
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


  • Affordable
  • Three foams for maximum cushion and support
  • Durable


  • Full foam filling can hold heat
  • Some reviewers found the filling can clump

Are Flat Pillows Good for All Sleep Positions?

Every sleep position has its own set of needs when it comes to both mattresses and pillows. Firm beds aren’t for all sleep positions and neither are flat pillows. They are, however, great for some positions including stomach and back sleepers who make up roughly 30% of the population. They can work well for small frame people who sleep on their sides, and side sleepers who sleep with an arm under the pillow raising the height.

Stomach sleepers need a lower profile pillow, or their heads will be bent back in an unnaturally angled arch that can cause headaches, restless sleep, or back problems.

Back sleepers have a similar situation. Having too thick a pillow can cause a curvature of the spine that may result in pinched nerves, neck and back pain, and tossing and turning for a restless night’s sleep.

Side sleepers in general, need a loftier pillow. The space between the head and shoulders requires the pillow cover more space and support a deeper area between you and the bed. If you are very small and the space between your neck and the bed is minimal or if you routinely put an arm under your pillow, then a flat pillow can work for a side sleeper. For the most part, flat pillows are not a good choice for side-sleepers. Check out our article on the best pillows for side sleepers to find great pillow options for this sleep position.

Children and Flat Pillows

In a discussion of flat pillows, we don’t want to forget the little ones. Children generally start using a pillow around 18 months. Their body proportions don’t do well with the loft of a regular adult pillow, and flat pillows, until they are fully grown, are an important consideration. Check out our guide to the best pillows for kids.

Advantages of Sleeping on a Flat Pillow

General Health

Sleep and health are so intertwined that it is not an exaggeration to say that good health is dependent on good sleep. There are many factors that affect the quality of your sleep, but your pillow plays a crucial role. If you can’t get comfortable, or if your neck is unsupported leaving you tossing and turning, your sleep quality will diminish. Having the right pillow, and for many of us that is a lower profile, flat pillow, can improve sleep, which can improve health. Basic benefits of good quality sleep include:

  • Betters immune response—less getting sick
  • Lowers health risks for disorders like diabetes
  • Helps with maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improves memory
  • Adds mental clarity for decision making and learning
  • Increases energy throughout the day

If most people realized how much good sleep could improve both health and daily life experience, they would rush to do things that would improve it. Getting a good pillow that helps with sleep is one singular but very significant factor in improving health.

Reduces Wrinkles

It sounds crazy, but it is true that pillows have an effect on skin quality. From acne to wrinkles, the type of pillow and the fit of your pillow can help determine how your face looks. Flat pillows in particular are known for reducing wrinkles. The reason being that a loftier pillow has more bulk to compress the face and create folds in the skin.

If you face stays in a folded position for numerous hours while you sleep, it causes temporary wrinkles that can over time become permanent. When using a flat pillow this is not the case and the lack of pillow pressure elevates wrinkles.

How Often Should You Change Your Pillow?

Whether you are considering a flat pillow or not, it is important to stay on top of having a good supportive pillow. If you are considering a new pillow, there is generally a catalyst. You might not be sleeping as well. Or maybe you find yourself waking to reposition your pillow throughout the night to get enough support. Maybe your pillow has gone lumpy, or you have heard a fresh pillow can help your skin condition.

No matter the reason, there is a rule of thumb that pillows should be changed at least every couple of years. The National Sleep Foundation supports what doctors recommend, to change your bed pillow at least every two years depending on the signs of wear. Here are some specific conditions that might warrant you changing it sooner.

  • You Are Having Trouble Sleeping: If your lumpy pillow is keeping you awake and compromising your “must have” 7-9 hours of sleep per night, it may be time to change it out for a new one. Sleep is crucial to good health, and a pillow interfering with sleep is an easy fix. 
  • Your Pillow Is No Longer Supportive: A flat pillow, meaning one that isn’t supposed to be flat, can cause neck or back pain, or that all too familiar scenario of tossing and turning and endlessly fluffing up your pillow throughout the night. Since pillows are designed to give comfort and support, when they stop doing this, they essentially need to be replaced. Even if they seem to be in good shape but don’t work for you, get one that does.
  • Acne, Wrinkles, or Other Skin Conditions: An older pillow, especially one that cannot be washed regularly like down, can have an accumulation of dead skin cells, dust mites, and oil which can cause skin conditions. Acne has been linked to what skin comes in contact with, and eczema has been associated with dust mites that live off the dead skill cells in your pillow. Wrinkles can come from a loose pillow pressing your face into folds. Any or all of these conditions can be helped by a fresh pillow.
  • Allergies or Trouble Breathing: Do you wake up sneezing? Are you stuffed up and snoring? These can be signs of accumulated allergens like dust, pollen, bacteria, and dust mites. If your allergies have gotten worse or you have chronic sinus problems that might be associated with dust mites, try a new pillow. Look for one that is hypoallergenic.
  • Stains or Smells: When you take off the cover, if your pillow looks yellowed or stained, it can be time to get a new one. If it smells and you can’t wash it like with memory foam, get a new one. For helping with dust mites and fluid retention use a pillow protector and machine wash both the protector and the case in hot water at least every few weeks.


Pillows are crucial to a refreshing night’s sleep and a flat pillow can be the right support for many depending on your size and sleep position. Young children in particular benefit from a flat pillow. Buying a new pillow is a small investment in good sleep and good health, and we have done the research for you in order to profile a great selection of best flat pillows. Consider if it is time to get a new pillow and enjoy the benefits of improved sleep.