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What Is A Flat Pillow? [When And Why You Need One?]

What Is A Flat Pillow? [When And Why You Need One?]

Most stomach and back sleepers experience stiff necks, headaches, shoulder pains, and spinal misalignment after sleeping on thick pillows. In such instances, finding a pillow ideal for their sleeping position would be best.

A flat pillow is a pillow with a lower loft than a regular one to accommodate stomach and back sleepers. It is soft, comfortable, and supportive and offers contouring to your head and neck to prevent spinal misalignment.

According to the National Sleep Survey, sixteen percent of Americans sleep on their stomach and ten percent on their back. Flat pillows serve this population and people who prefer thin pillows in general.

woman relax sleep

What Is The Size Of A Flat Pillow?

An average flat pillow is about three inches high. However, you may come across thicker flat pillows, sometimes up to six inches thick. The height difference comes about due to the different materials and compression.

What Kind Of Sleepers Can Use A Flat Pillow?

Due to the three-inch loft, flat pillows are suitable for stomach and back sleepers. The reason is that stomach and back sleepers require pillows with a lower loft to experience maximum comfort. However, flat pillows are not suitable for side sleepers or combination sleepers. The reason is that flat pillows are too low to support your head and neck. We recommend pillows with a high loft for good spinal alignment when laying on your side.

Why Would I Need A Flat Pillow?

Doctors and chiropractors may advise you to use flat pillows in your sleep. Such is ideal if you experience soreness, stiffness, and trouble breathing.

Good For Kids

Pillows are safe for kids from as young as eighteen months. However, standard pillows might have a high loft that might cause neck pain and stiffness. A flat pillow is thin enough to fit under your toddler's neck, providing support and comfort.

Improves Blood Flow

When lying on your stomach, the spine curves in an unnatural position, pinching the nerves and restricting blood flow. A flat pillow elevates the head and neck, keeps the spine in place, and reduces blood vessels' blockage.

Reduces Pressure On The Spine

Sleeping on your back exerts a lot of pressure on your spine, neck, and lower back. A medium-density flat pillow is an excellent choice if you want to reduce this stress. The pillow elevates the head, increasing your sleep quality.

Reduces Facial Wrinkles

Sleeping on some pillows for long hours may cause temporary wrinkles, which may become permanent over time. Flat pillows have less loft and, therefore, less bulk that can compress the skin to cause wrinkles.

Aligns The Spine

One of the main reasons experts discourage sleeping on your tummy is because of the unnatural positioning of the body. Laying on your stomach means exerting a lot of weight on the body's center. A flat pillow allows for even body weight distribution, keeping the spine aligned. Furthermore, flat pillows relieve pain and discomfort due to misalignment and joint pressure.

Improves Breathing

According to researchers, sleeping on your stomach compresses arteries close to the backbone, reducing the oxygen supply to the brain. The compression results from turning to the side to breathe since you cannot breathe through the pillow. A flat pillow has less volume and, therefore, good air circulation.

Provides Support

Flat pillows are very thin to ensure comfort for stomach and back sleepers. Also, they are firm enough to provide optimum support throughout your sleep. Back sleepers prefer a pillow with a higher loft to fit in their cervical area. It is prevalent for stomach sleepers to forgo using a pillow. However, the right flat pillow will improve your sleeping experience by keeping your body in its natural position. As a result, less soreness and fatigue come about due to sleeping on your tummy.

Does A Flat Pillow Help A Stomach Sleeper During Pregnancy?

No. A flat pillow does not help during pregnancy if you are a stomach sleeper. As the tummy grows, it becomes impossible to sleep on your stomach. The reason is that sleeping on your stomach reduces blood flow to the placenta, limits breathing, and causes neck and shoulder problems. However, some people might find it hard to quit their stomach sleeping habits during the first trimester of pregnancy. In this case, a flat pillow is handy, as you can use it to improve your spinal alignment. Note that this is only possible during the first trimester.

What To Consider Before Buying A Flat Pillow?

Buying a flat pillow is not as easy as it may seem. Several things make an excellent flat pillow. Therefore, before purchasing one, you want to pay close attention to all these factors to ensure maximum comfort.

Sleeping Position

The amount of comfort you will receive from a pillow differs depending on your sleeping position. Flat pillows best benefit back and stomach sleepers since the little loft keeps the body in a neutral position. Back sleepers will go for a thin pillow that is thicker than those that stomach sleepers use. The reason is that back sleepers require more height to support their neck and keep the head in position.


While all thin pillows become flat once you exert weight on them, the amount of compression differs. People who weigh more will cause more compression. For this reason, you want to pick a flat pillow with more loft, preferably six inches, to experience comfort.


If you are a hot sleeper, you might want to avoid a flat pillow with a memory foam filling. The reason is that memory foam retains body heat. In addition, the materials used to keep the compression high and a low loft keeps the pillow hot.


Many flat pillows currently exist, unlike in the past, where most were feather and down. Companies now produce flat pillows with bamboo, memory foam, and poly-foam fillings. Before buying a flat pillow, you want to check the quality of the filling. Some pillows, especially memory foam pillows, have an odor that goes away after some time. On the other hand, feather pillows may trigger allergies in those allergic to feathers.

Pillow cover

When buying a flat pillow, you want to check whether the cover is soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic. A cotton cover is not an excellent choice, as it wicks moisture from the body. Instead, try a satin case to avoid any of the above issues.


You may likely overlook the budget when planning to buy a flat pillow. However, getting a high-quality flat pillow with excellent support, breathability, and comfort is expensive. Checking your budget will allow you to get a pillow fit for your needs.


When buying a flat pillow for your child, you want to buy a pillow smaller than a standard pillow. This kind of flat pillow cannot support an adult person's weight. On the other hand, an adult pillow may contain risks of suffocation for your child.


Buying a high-quality flat pillow that will serve you for a long time is a worthy investment. The best flat pillow should last 18 months without signs of wearing out. In addition, it is easy to clean and maintain.

pillow on bed

Return policy

Checking whether a pillow has a return policy may not seem very important. We advise buying a pillow from a source that offers a return policy. The reason is to be able to get a refund if the pillow does not meet your needs.


A good pillow is vital for a good sleeping experience. Flat pillows support back sleepers' heads, reducing compression on the spine. On the other hand, back sleepers get better sleep with fewer risks when using flat pillows.