For years, my wife and I suffered with a mattress that lacked any support and was way too soft. It’s a generic buy from a store that’s not worth naming (it wasn't even a foam mattress). We even added a Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper that helped, but it still wasn't enough. The mattress would basically put you in a sinkhole, one that would take concerted energy to get out of in the morning. It also led to constant tossing and turning throughout the evening trying to find that comfortable spot. This caused minor aches and pains to be magnified — essentially leading to me being sore every day for the past few years.
So, a new mattress was finally in order. The problem is that my wife is strictly a side-sleeper and prefers a softer mattress while I’m a back, side and even stomach-sleeper looking for more support. So we knew it needed to be a hybrid, and that it needed to be at least medium firm. We happened into a store in Manhattan that had floor models of some of the best direct-to-consumer mattress brands around; one sit on the Helix Dawn Luxe mattress, and we were convinced it was what we needed, so we had Helix send one our way for a review.
The Helix Dawn Luxe is firm yet plush
While the Helix Dawn Luxe is squarely in the firm category, it offers plenty of softness to accommodate my wife's preferences. That's thanks to some of the inherent features of the Dawn mattress itself: multiple layers of soft foam, hundreds of individually-wrapped steel coils and a firm feel with no sink or give.
But, the Luxe upgrades are what makes this version a firm yet plush mattress. It has 1,500 individually-wrapped steel coils (550 more than the regular Dawn). It has two more layers of foam, including a high-density Gel Visco one underneath the additional Tencel cover and pillow top, that help provides more support. Because of these extra layers, it's a whole two inches taller, and truly gives us the feeling we were lacking: being on top of a mattress, and not in it.
In addition to those premium properties, the quilted pillow top balances out the firmness of the mattress to really give it a soft surface feel. And the additional coils are actually zoned lumbar support coils to provide a softer feel under the shoulder with a firmer feel under the hips.
I've also noticed the benefit of these coils when it comes to the edge of the mattress. Our old one would give at the edge, making it even more difficult to get out of the sinkhole you found yourself in. But the Dawn Luxe does none of that, instead providing a sturdy surface for you to comfortably get up. And all of that helps cut down on motion transfer as well. Previously, my wife would wake up anytime I got out of bed; now, my normal 5 a.m awakening doesn't even register for her.
A mattress in a box? There's a right way, and a wrong way
This is our first try with a mattress in a box. I will say that I've already had a better experience with one of these than I ever have buying a mattress in a mattress store (and needing it delivered) or possibly buying one in a thrift store while in college (I cannot confirm this accusation).
But I will also say, one of the most important things to keep in mind when unpacking a mattress in a box is where you unpack it. We did so right near a hanging mirror and cut the inner plastic wrap instead of just the outer and it nearly broke our mirror before we could get it onto our bed frame. Long story short, mattresses in a box are great — but be cognizant of where you unpack everything.
Also, the recommended time to let this mattress settle out after unpacking was only two hours, but that's not always the case for mattresses-in-boxes. Some other DTC mattress brands recommend longer times, some up to two days even.
The Dawn Luxe keeps you feeling free and breezy
Because of the Tencel cover, the Dawn Luxe has also been a huge upgrade on airflow. Tencel is a form of rayon that's used in lots of performance garments and it helps to regulate temperature by pulling heat away. I noticed this drastically the first few evenings on the mattress, as I was actually a little chilly and had to figure out why that was. It feels like there's plenty of airflow happening — which, come the warmer months, will be a welcomed benefit.
Alternatives to this mattress
The Dawn Luxe is not cheap. It normally retails for $2,049 for a queen, although as of writing this, Helix is offering $200 off the Dawn Luxe (and some other mattresses, too). If you're looking for something a little less firm from Helix, the Dusk ($1,199) and Dusk Luxe ($2,049) are both medium-firm hybrid options that are good choices for couples.
Previously, we've selected the Purple Hybrid as our best mattress for couples. Thanks to its construction from the Purple grid, it nearly erases motion transfer. But it will run you $2,399 for a queen — more than the Helix Dawn Luxe.
Lastly, our pick for the best hybrid mattress is a middle-of-the-road budget option: the Tuft & Needle Hybrid. It does a solid job of combining the best of foam and innersprings in a package that's less than $1,700 for a queen.
The Helix Dawn Luxe: The Verdict
The standard Helix Dawn mattress leans more on the firm end of the spectrum and probably wouldn't be the best middle ground option for a couple with opposing sleep preferences. But those Luxe premium upgrades to the mattress we've been testing (two more layers of foam, a soft TENCEL cover, a quilted pillow top, 550 more wrapped coils with targeted zone lumbar support, etc.) helped to make my consistent aches and pains completely subside.
While my wife's preference is for a mattress a bit softer, she has been delighted by the Dawn Luxe, and has no qualms about its firmness since it is well-balanced with qualities that help keep it soft and plush. And since my tossing-and-turning has also gone the way of the dodo, we've finally been getting the sleep we needed. It's a great compromise mattress that can give anyone needing support some needed relief.