When you live in a 450-square-foot New York City studio (as I do), a bed is not just a place to sleep. It’s also a reading nook, a perch from which to drink your morning smoothie, and the location of every Game of Thrones marathon.
In fact, I suspect this is true of most millennials, not just the Brooklyn-apartment-dwelling kind. So considering how much time we all spend in bed, why don’t we think more about the type of mattress we’re sleeping (and, frankly, living) on?
That’s the question Helix wants you to ponder—and act on. The next-gen brand offers an online quiz to figure out your custom sleep formula, and then ships your totally personalized mattress straight to your door in a box no bigger than your last Amazon Pantry package.
The buzzy brand has pulled off the trifecta of modern-life demands: personalization, instant gratification, and self-care.
In other words, the buzzy brand has pulled off the trifecta of modern-life demands: personalization, instant gratification, and self-care. So when I had the chance to replace my majorly eh mattress with a Helix one, I jumped on it.
On top of the whole “custom-made to cradle your exact body” thing, Helix has another one-up on the competition: The brand offers mattresses for couples, letting each partner personalize their side of the bed (dual) or meld their preferences into one super-mattress (blended).
Here’s my story: I’ve had my mattress for nearly six years, and am now joined by one fiancé and one cat. Of the occupants of my bed, two are side-sleepers, get overheated to the point where legs must be thrown out from under covers, and prefer a decent measure of support that you can still sink into at the end of a long day. (As for the cat, I think she’d pretty much sleep on anything.) And the whole time, we’ve put up with a so-so mattress from a generic box store.
It was totally time for an upgrade—and not just for our backs.
It was totally time for an upgrade—and not just for our backs. I’d grown accustomed to sleeping with the light on while my S.O. studied for law school (which has made me such a light sleeper I wake up the instant my cat hangry-meows at 3 a.m.). Meanwhile, the slightest shift in the morning from me instantly pulled him out of sleep-deprived stupor when I got up for work.
Three years of studying and bar-exam prep (him) and charging full-ahead career-wise (me) have not exactly been easy. But now that he’s graduated and we’re about to get married (oh hey, adulthood!) it’s officially time for both of us to start getting some quality zzz’s.
Scroll down to find out what happened when my partner and I ordered a mattress literally made for us—and whether it actually improved our sleep situation.
Step 1: Personalization
The first step toward sleep enlightenment is the three-minute Sleep Quiz, which prompts you to enter intel about your body type like height, weight, and whether you’re broader at the hips or shoulders. From there, you get more into specifics: Do you wake up with pain? How hot do you get in the middle of the night? Do you sleep on your back, stomach, or side?
The questions let you rate your preferences on a scale of one to seven, allowing for a crazy degree of customization.
For couples, partners can fill out the quiz simultaneously, so my fiancé could note his preference for a medium-firm mattress next to my medium-soft. The questions let you rate your sleep preferences on a scale of one to seven, allowing for a crazy degree of customization.
In the end, we chose to have our preferences blended into one mattress…which feels like a fitting metaphor for compromising in relationships, no?
Step 2: Sleep nirvana
Our new-and-improved mattress arrived within a week—and was entirely set up in the amount of time it took me to cook dinner. As in, I arrived home at 6:30 p.m., we slid the rolled-up mattress out of its rectangular box, and it was sheeted and duvet-ed by 7:30.
And the result? The only way either of us could express our feelings about the mattress was to let out random contented sighs. I fell asleep effortlessly, despite the fact that the light was still on. And even after I hauled my Vitamix into the bathroom to blend smoothies the next morning (ah, the joys of living in a studio), he still hadn’t budged.
The only way either of us could express our feelings about the mattress was to let out random contented sighs.
I’m happy to report the reaction hasn’t changed since that first night: Since indicating our tendency toward 4 a.m. hot flashes on the Sleep Quiz, the Helix magically regulates body temperature throughout the night (I now never kick off the quilt). And while my partner prefers a slightly firmer mattress than me, the blended version has just the right amount of bounce to keep me happy while providing enough support to banish annoying aches for him.
Turns out getting a mattress that’s personalized to you and your partner (Helix makes the only ones custom built for you, FYI), is a total game-changer. The cat, meanwhile, is still sleeping.
Bonus: Get $50 off a Helix mattress with code WELLANDGOOD at checkout—and experience the personalized-sleep experience for yourself!
All photos: Helix