My New Vegan Mattress. Essentia.

Wellness. Sleep. Beds. Mattress. OK, so lets talk mattresses! And this one is vegan..

A few weeks ago my Essentia mattress arrived in a cardboard box. We yanked it out of its brown shell, unwrapped it from its cocoon and let it spread its fluffy natural, vegan, latex wings in our bedroom. In about an hour it was perfectly fluffed, fresh and cloudlike. Our new (vegan) mattress had been a LONG time coming, so I was incredibly excited to see if it performed well and lived up to all the hype! Hear my "mattress tale," my quest for the perfect vegan mattress and learn more about the Essentia brand!..

UPDATE! It has been one year of sleeping on my Essentia mattress and I am still in love with this brand. I have not had my usual neck pain spasms that I had been getting quite frequently (before changing Essentia) in this entire year! Not one stiff neck. I have no idea if the two things are related, but it has still wow-ed me!

I love the support and feel and quality of our mattress, and I tell everyone who asks me about it to buy one! I truly think a quality mattress is one of the best wellness investments you can make, and Essentia is a wonderful brand. I also recently received a "comfort" Essentia pillow to try out and I love it. It has a unique foam texture, that is very soft when fluffed up, but offers nice support too. I like to use it as my bottom layer pillow and then place a softer pillow on top. One year later, and we still love this mattress .. in fact I think I love it even more now that I feel the results of sleeping on it for a year. After trying the pillow, I think the Essentia Body Pillow looks amazing. Can you imagine plopping in between those puffy long U-shaped pillows?

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Sleep Well. A raw estimate is that we spend a third of our lives asleep. Laying on our bed. In our bedrooms. Well, mostly. Passed out. In dreamland. A mattress cradling our every twist, turn and move. Some sheets, pillows and fluffy accents cozying things up, creating warmth. But the foundation of sleep? Your mattress.

By now I think we all know just how important sleep is to our total lifestyle wellness. Sleep refreshes us from the inside out. Not only do our bodies repair and revitalize themselves as we sleep, our minds do too. Poor sleep quality can cause fatigue, physical strains and pains, a foggy feeling, poor mental performance and even depression. It is a known truth: a good night's sleep makes us feel a million times better the next day than a failed night's sleep does.

So if you haven't paid attention to what mattress you are sleeping on yet, now is the time. I hope this post will give you one option for your bedroom the next time you decide "today is the day!" to upgrade your mattress.

(And heck, as I mention way below, if you want to start with an Essentia pillow. Go for it. Baby steps.)

We upgraded our mattress via the Essentia brand.

What I love about my new Essentia mattress..

* I love that my Essentia mattress is vegan.
* I love that my Essentia mattress feels amazing.
* I love that my Essentia mattress is made from pure ingredients: Hevea Milk (sap!), Dunlop Latex, Organic Esential Oils, Certified Organic Cotton, Natural Plant Extracts. more.
* I love that my Essentia mattress arrived on my doorstep, odor-free from day one.
* I love that my Essentia mattress fits my wellness, green, Eco-friendly, plant-based lifestyle.
* I love that my Essentia mattress is biodegradable.
* I love that other vegan faces I trust love the Essentia brand too! Like Alicia Silverstone and Jason Wrobel. (DrOz and Rachel Ray are also among the many fans)

So now that you know where I stand, lets dig into my personal mattress story!

My Mattress Tale. When I was in college I slept on the crappy mattress that I found in my dorm room. It had squeaky springs, soft spots, lumpy spots and the only way I could survive its mattress wrath was to pile two layers of cheap yellow foam liners on top. A few years later I rented some furniture in a college-time apartment and the same thing. These traditional, spring-loaded, chemical-laden mattresses provided something "soft" to sleep on and did the job. Or so I thought. But I never loved these mattresses. They were simply just places to crash at night and wake the next morning in a groggy "where is the coffee?" haze.

Then my last year in college my mom bought me a foam brand mattress for my bed. She had been sleeping on one for years and raved about them. I still remember that first time I laid down on that mattress. It was like night and day. No more squeaky springs, shifting mattress lumps and mysterious back aches and pains the next morning. I was a foam bed girl now. (For a while that is!)

Then when I eventually married my husband we dove in and bought our own foam brand mattress. We loved it! But the truth was, we had no idea what we were really sleeping on. Some research into what exactly those popular memory foam mattresses are made of will yield search results describing "a series of chemical processes" and "petroleum-based chemicals." Yikes.

I try so hard to minimize the chemicals in my household via cleaning products and more, it seemed quite ridiculous to ignore something I laid my body against for about a third of my life.

I mean, if you are striving to live a green lifestyle like me, green smoothie in one hand, yoga mat in the other, you probably don't want to be sleeping on something that is not-so-green.

So fast forward to my current life. My husband and I have moved around a lot the past seven years for work. I mean A LOT. That meant renting apartments and renting furniture in some cases while our favorite items stayed back at home in DC. I SO missed our "good" mattress!

When we first came out to LA, where we are now, we decided to buy a cheap foam mattress off the internet. It arrived and was fine. The out-of-box stinky chemical smell was pretty cringe-worthy, but for the price of this temporary mattress, we were pleased. But then I started noticing small aches and pains when I woke up, and strange soft spots. "Um. Hunny. The mattress is melting." I said one night. We knew this mattress had to go.

But as a band aid "fix" we decided to try buying a true foam brand brand mattress topper. We drove out to a bed and bath store one night, lugged the heavy cardboard box inside, squeezed out the plastic-wrapped topper and unrolled the goods.

And boom. The most noxious chemical smell I could imagine came seeping into my nostrils, filling our bedroom with stench. I was stunned. This chemical smell made me sick. We gave the topper a good hour. But it didn't die down at all so we shoved it into the bathroom, closed the door, and returned it the next day.

The next morning I googled "smell-free mattresses." And "No chemicals mattress." I had no idea what I was searching for but thus began a long two week search for the perfect natural, vegan, chemical-smell-free, supportive, wonderful, look-forward-to-dreamland mattress. We decided on latex, after much researching. And all the sudden I was a latex mattress expert, googling and researching all I could.

We visited to a few latex mattress stores here in Santa Monica and I was shocked to find that nearly all of the mattresses contained wool. Mostly in the mattress coverings. Well as someone who checks every soft sweater tag to make sure it is wool-free and vegan, I knew I couldn't buy a wool mattress!

So eventually I was lead to the Essentia brand, they even have a store here in Santa Monica. Perfect! After MUCH research and laying on random beds in mattress stores, I knew we found a brand that was perfect for us.

New mattress in the house!..

Our beausommet mattress arrived and it was lovely. Perfectly soft yet firm enough, and completely odor-free upon arrival! I wanted to wait a few weeks to post this review to see how I felt after sleeping on this new mattress. But since sleeping on our new mattress I have woken to a spry feeling in the morning. It is soft yet supportive and I just adore that it fits my lifestyle. I get excited to climb into bed at night!

The unique texture of the latex took me a few days to get used to since I was used to a firm rigid foam. But I love it now! And you can always choose a firmer style or softer style from the Essentia brand to fit your mattress needs.

Now a few notes on latex mattresses and Essentia:

* Slats! Your bed frame "slats" must be close together to achieve support. Most websites say 2-3 inches apart is ideal. However, if your slats are farther apart than that you can buy several products that help "support" the mattress. Crate and Barrel sells a product called a Bunky Board. We actually bought one from another online store called a "Bed Rug" made from coconut fibers. You do not want to place your mattress right on a flat, non-breathable, surface because it needs to breathe and have air-circulation.

* Latex is HEAVY. You cannot really flop this mattress around the room easily, so just be warned about that. And when you do move it, the mattress tends to roll and flop around a bit, so moving it is a bit of a process.

* $$$ Essentia mattresses (like most high quality latex mattresses) are not cheap! This is an investment purchase in your health and wellness. You remember the first time you thought paying over $300, $400 or more for a BLENDER was insane. Fast forward to now when you couldn't live without your Vitamix or Blendtec? Well that is what these mattresses are like. (Note: And trust me, I know I will get comments about the price. And I agree that the sticker shock is intense at first! And the cost, out of reach for some people. My advice, buy an Essentia pillow! Start small. Take a tiny step towards green-ing your Zzzz's. Plus, it will keep you dreaming of maybe saving up one day to buy the full mattress!)

* Vegan mattress! I promise you that once you start researching mattresses, it will be tricky to find one that is wool-free and uses the word "vegan" to describe it. With Essentia, your mattress falls right in line with your plant-based lifestyle.

My advice! Do your research so you feel well-informed when buying a new mattress. There is a lot of info online, but also be warned that much of the information is conflicting, confusing and frustrating. The brands are vast and the market for "natural" "organic" and "green" mattresses is wide. But just what these labels mean can get very confusing and misleading. I walked into the Santa Monica Essentia store and chatted with the store's sales guy, laid on the beds and asked questions. I felt more than happy with the answers and after getting to know the Essentia crew, it is a brand I know I can trust!

Ready to take the plunge? Essentia store: Healthy Happy life readers get 10% off by using the coupon code HAPPY10.

Not just mattresses for adults!! I swoon over their pet beds, pillows and baby crib mattresses. The kittens might need an Essentia of their own... :)

FAQ: What is the difference between memory foam and latex vs. Essentia latex mattresses? Watch this!..

full disclosure: I was thrilled that Essentia offered me a mattress right around the time I was going to buy one! I was happy to do this review in exchange. All opinions are my own. I cannot guarantee your product results will be the same as mine. Always do your own research, testing and evaluation when mattress hunting. This is not a paid post.

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