After two years of lying down with, and often falling asleep beside, The K Man in his toxin-free latex mattress, I knew we could never go back to “big box” mattresses when selecting one for Miss Q.
There’s just too much real evidence that the VOCs and other gross stuff that off-gasses from mattresses (for years, sometimes) does damage to our bodies. I can’t un-know that. And, as a result, I can’t consciously put my kids in harm’s way.
With more choice than ever before in the organic and natural bedding category, we set out to find the perfect Big Girl Bed for our still very little girl. Although she still fits pretty well in her toddler bed, she asks for a bed like her brother’s. Constantly. She wants to feel grown-up, after all, since she’s three going on 32.
When we asked her whose bed she prefers, ours our The K Man’s, she told us she liked ours best. We have a TEMPUR-pedic, bought long before I knew anything about the crap that goes into most mattresses. So there was only one choice for us: Essentia.
As part of my research for a safe sleep piece with CanadianFamily.ca, I’ve spent a lot of time with Essentia’s Energie Opus mattress. Though it’s not Essentia’s most economical model (which starts at $1,275 for a twin), it is ideal for those with back issues and nerve damage, or kids who may one day become elite athletes. (And, for the sake of our wallets, I’m really gunning for this path; don’t we all wish for a child who can pay their way through school thanks to sports?)
Essentia is the world’s only natural memory foam company. That’s it, that’s all. No one else can make that claim.
Exclusive to the company, the “Zebrano” cover (which is striped, appropriately) is an unbleached organic cotton cover. It’s thick but breathable; and it zips off for cleaning. More important? It zips off around the top of the mattress rather than the bottom like our TEMPUR-pedic, which makes it far, far easier to remove and zip back on.
There’s a lot going on under the cover. After a protective liner, the Energie Opus model boasts three inches of 5.25-pound-density natural memory foam. Made from naturally occurring hevea milk (sap from the rubber tree), which is sourced in Indonesia from rubber plantations with no child-labour practises. It’s collected like maple syrup sap but I have no idea if it tastes nearly as good. Probably not. But I doubt maple syrup makes very good mattresses. So there.
Under that layer, there’s a natural latex core (made using the more widely eco-accepted Dunlop process). There’s five inches that act as support beneath the cushion-y memory foam.
Made in Canada. Québec, to be precise. Not just designed here but actually manufactured here. And shipped all over the world from ONE location, which helps reduce the company’s eco-footprint, too.
Damn comfortable. We call our son’s mattress the “Black Hole” and so is this one. You sink into this Essentia mattress and feel the support in every nook and cranny of your body. When you dip, I dip, we dip. You get the picture.
After sleeping in Miss Q’s bed, I consistently wake up feeling more rested than if I’ve slept in my own bed (even though they’re both memory foam…go figure). I often find that I haven’t even moved all night. Similarly, Miss Q sleeps deeply and often for 12- to 13-hour stretches on her Essentia mattress.
What I love about Miss Q’s mattress is what I love most about my TEMPUR-pedic: you don’t ever feel your bed partner move. This probably isn’t an issue if you’re sharing your bed with a child, but when you’re doing so with a spouse the size of Big B, it’s an absolute must. The obvious bonus is that you don’t unleash toxins with every twist and turn when you’re on it either.
There’s a 60-day money-back guarantee. Ummmm…what?
It’s vegan. If you care. I don’t, but you vegans might. (No wool used anywhere in Essentia mattresses, as often happens with organic mattresses.)
And there’s free shipping across Canada and the USA. (Incredibly, your mattress will arrive in a box that looks MUCH too small to house a whole mattress. Don’t remove it from the box until you have it in its final destination; carrying a latex mattress is a floppy, awkward exercise. It then needs anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours to take its final shape.)
Make no mistake, any organic mattress is an investment. They’re not for families living paycheque to paycheque. And Essentia’s mattresses are no different. So be prepared for sticker shock but understand that you get what you pay for. We once paid $900 for a mattress that lasted 10 months, so…do the math.
I’m confused by the soft to firm rankings for each mattress on Essentia’s website. If the Energie Opus is considered one of the softer mattresses, I can’t imagine what a firm one would be like. We find Miss Q’s mattress quite firm. Or perhaps we’re confusing “firm” with “supportive”? Hard to know if you’re shopping online, so if you can make it into one of the brick and mortar stores (Calgary, Toronto, Laval, Ottawa or Vancouver) to try all of the different models out in person, I’d definitely suggest it.
I don’t find there’s enough information about each mattress online. I’m an information junkie so this might just be me, but I want to know everything about a product before I drop big bucks on it. I don’t want to have to scour a site to find what I’m looking for. A few extra links in the individual product descriptions would remedy this.
This is not a gaffe for me, Big B or Miss Q but it might be for some: if you don’t like firm support, you might not appreciate the feeling of memory foam. It’s “harder” than, say, a pillow-top mattress and there is zero bounce. This is a massive bonus if you want to prevent your kids from jumping on their beds as I do!
Since the latex has to breathe, you need wooden slats (with a specific amount of space between them) to support it properly. And if you chose latex for the environmental benefits, you probably want to consider the most natural and sustainable choice for the foundation as well, which certainly costs more. This invariably adds to the overall cost of your mattress set unless you have a platform bed. So you’re looking at a minimum of another $300 for a foundation. That said, the Essentia folks tell me that these slats from IKEA work just fine (from $20!).