Mind and Body

A Full, Unbiased Review of the Helix Mattress

My unfiltered thoughts on my first bed-in-a-box. Hint: I love it.

Unsplash / Alexandra Gorn

Like every one else, I’ve been inundated for years with targeted ads and influencer sponsored content from every bed-in-a-box brand ranging from Casper to Layla to Lull and beyond. However, unlike everyone else, if you click my name above, you’ll find all the Inverse articles I’ve ever written—and you’ll see that a good portion of them deal with researching the growing presence of mattress-in-a-box brands.

This trend has gotten huge. I’m pretty confident that not one of my friends owns a spring mattress anymore. But now that I work on mattress coverage as part of my job, and my six-year-old, secondhand IKEA mattress began to literally cave in, I knew a new bed had to be in my very near future.

Considering I live in an old city with notoriously narrow doorways, I knew my only option would be a bed-in-a-box. I order everything online anyway, so why should my bed be any different? For my very first brand new bed ever—my crib and all mattresses after have either been inherited or purchased secondhand in a pinch—I decided to opt for a Helix mattress. Why? It was important to me to not simply pick a mattress that I saw the most ads for, though that would have been the easiest option, and their median price point gave me reassurance that quality materials were used without too much of a mark-up. However, what sets Helix apart from nearly every other mattress brand is the inclusion of their very thorough sleep quiz.

The sleep quiz brings a personalized approach to online mattress shopping that allows for many of the benefits of in-person mattress shopping without having to withstand the pressure of a salesperson working on commission. The sleep quiz takes into account your weight, sleep position, and gender, and also asks whether you share a bed with a partner and what their weight, sleep position and gender are. I found the gender question a little random and unnecessary, but other than that, individualized questions about bed feel preference (soft, medium, or firm) and whether we frequently woke up with pains allowed my partner and me to feel utter confidence in our match, the Helix Midnight Luxe.

After ordering the queen sized Helix Midnight Luxe, it arrived at our front door in exactly 10 days, including the weekend. On the day it was expected to arrive, I spent much of the day staring out of the window like an impatient child waiting for a friend. It felt like forever waiting for the 3:30pm arrival and I was nearly shaking with anticipation the entire time.

I’d seen videos of bed-in-a-box unboxes prior to receiving my new mattress, but nothing prepared me for the glee of seeing my bed come out of the refrigerator sized box it shipped in. The Fedex delivery guy rang the doorbell, and that was where his job ended. From there, my partner and I carefully rolled the box from room to room and through our narrow doorways with ease—and no back-breaking. ThenI held the cardboard box while my partner pulled as hard as he could to remove the plastic bagged, vacuum-packed mattress from its shipping container. At over 100 pounds, the Helix Midnight Luxe mattress is much denser than other foam and hybrid mattresses, but that doesn’t count against it for me—just makes it seem more substantial.

At 14 inches thick in its un-vacuum packed form, immediately, the Helix Midnight Luxe was a 10-inch upgrade from our late 4-inch thick IKEA Sultan Fonnes. As soon as it was removed from the box and the first layer of plastic removed, the bed starts to expand. I found myself feeling in a rush to get it onto our bed frame in time because it seemed to be growing at an inch a second. It took the 2 of us to maneuver it but within 2-3 seconds, our brand new mattress was taking shape and changing the way we sleep. As the air rushed out of it, it made a loud whistling sound that made me feel like our entire bedroom might be consumed by the mattress, but after a minute or two the sound subsided.

From there, we left the mattress on our bed frame without sheets for 2 hours before we sat on it or really even touched it. Within an hour, it was mostly at its full size—save for a few compressed dents at the stitch points on the pillow top. By hour two, no dents remained. During the unpacking process, there was a faint smell of plastic—often referred to by mattress reviewers as off-gassing, but again, by the end of the two-hour window, the smell had completely dissipated.

Making the 100-pound bed proved to be an acrobatic feat, considering that for years we’d only been dealing with a 20-pound mattress. However, the stitched side handles help so much. Prior to receiving and sleeping on the Helix Midnight Luxe, I had been able to make the bed on my own, but in my new life, I must enlist the help of my partner… which absolutely is not a downside.

At 100 pounds, you might be wondering what exactly the Helix Midnight Luxe has to offer: From bottom to top, the base layer is made from DuraDense Foam to provide strong support and durability. The next layer is dubbed the “Zoned Body Shape Layer” and includes over a thousand wrapped coils to provide a softer feel beneath your shoulders, a firmer feel under your hips, and aids in spine alignment—something I was absolutely missing in our former mattress. Above that is the transition layer made from high-grade polyfoam, meant to support and conform to all your body’s curves and adequately support different body weights. Above that are the Support Layer and Comfort Layer. The Comfort Layer is made from Gel Visco to provide a best-in-class medium feel that relieves all the pressure of the day. The Support Layer contains twoinches of Memory Plus Foam to cushion and maintain support in all parts of your body. But where the Helix Midnight Luxe is further set apart from the competition is with the inclusion of the Breathable Premium Pillow Top. Designed to give you the proper amount of sink, while still maintaining the medium feel you love. The quilted top allows air to flow evenly, so compared to many foam and hybrid mattresses, the Helix Midnight Luxe sleeps remarkably cool—an absolute must for our hot-sleeping household.

But enough of the specs, let’s get to the good part: How does it sleep? As I said, we used to sleep on a six-year-old Sultan Fonnes IKEA Mattress—famously lauded as one of the most uncomfortable mattresses ever made. We go camping once a year and have often remarked how much more comfortable our double-stacked air mattress sleeps. So, a large rock pretty much would have been an upgrade for us.

My partner, who already falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, now finds himself falling asleep even quicker and sleeping sounder. I, on the other hand, usually take hours to fall asleep, but the Helix Midnight Luxe has nearly halved that time. When it comes time to wake up, I find myself looking around, wondering if I perhaps slept out or went on a vacation to a hotel I forgot about. But, nope. I’m in my own bed.

Before the Helix Midnight Luxe came into my life—which I’ve now been sleeping on for nearly a month—I often woke up before I was ready with more aches and pains than I remembered going to bed with. My partner would frequently complain of shoulder and back pain, while I lived in fear of the next week I’d spend with a kinked neck. Now, we both sleep easily. On our own sides of the bed, no longer forced together by the cavern at the center of our bed. We’re no longer glued together by our own sweat and we don’t disturb each other should one of us toss and turn or get out of bed before the other.

In short, our lives have been transformed, our sleep revolutionized and our comfort prioritized for possibly the first time in our adult lives. I’d recommend Helix and their sleep quiz to anyone in need of a new mattress. Unlike some other mattress-in-a-box brands, Helix makes beds that work with all bed frames and types, as well as the floor if you’re still not all the way moved in. There’s a reason the Helix Midnight Luxe is among Helix’s best sellers and I wake up every day acutely aware of every reason and the quality of life I’ve been afforded.

Helix offers free delivery with every order, though it only gets you as far as your door. Don’t love your new mattress? Helix will pick it up for free within your first 100 days—after an initial 30-day break in period—and donate your unwanted mattress to someone in need.

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