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Most mattress company executives would say they’re in the “sleep business,” but Jack Dell’Accio, founder and CEO of Essentia, says he’s in the wellness industry. That’s because Essentia approaches mattresses differently from other brands. They don’t make mattresses with springs or standard memory foam. Like many direct-to-consumer brands, they only have a few showrooms.

What makes Essentia different is the amount of research behind their products to engineer mattresses that are more than just comfortable, but also designed to improve wellness and overall quality of life.

Made from latex, there are three different collections currently available, each in a different price range with a variety of features. Whether an entry-level or a custom mattress, all Essentia products are organic, cooling, and sustainably manufactured.

I recently spoke with Dell’Accio about his unique approach to designing mattresses, how the features Essentia offers can be truly life-changing, designing a bed for professional athletes and so much more. His perspective on this common product that’s in every home may have you re-think the purpose of mattresses altogether.

Amanda Lauren: What is an organic mattress?

Jack Dell’Accio: Essentia participates in what is called the Global Organic Latex Standard or GOLS. That is the standard for mattresses. This standard covers that all the components are organic are fair trade sourced so that workers are paid fair wages. So there’s a lot more than just being organic.

Generally speaking, most organic mattresses have an innerspring unit in them [but] coils are not organic. So most organic mattresses are made up of 80 percent springs and 20 percent latex, fiber, and fabric. And that’s what makes a general organic mattress that would be the equivalent of an innerspring, regular mattress.

But, not all GOLS-certified mattresses are created equal because being organic is one thing, and being a performance organic mattress is something else.

Lauren: What is the difference between Essentia and other brands of organic mattresses?

Dell’Accio: I started this company trying to find a healthier option for people who were suffering from pain primarily due to people having chemical intolerances. And a lot of them were undergoing different treatments and were immunocompromised. They experienced physical pains and sometimes respiratory issues. Some people that are so compromised, every little detail makes a huge impact. And that was the foundation for making Essentia the best possible product that can provide physical support, manage pain, redistribute pressure, and is fully clean, organic, and doesn’t [give off] VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Lauren: How has the brand evolved since launching?

Dell’Accio: We started as a resource for people who were going through health challenges in 2005. But by 2009, when I started to really understand the impact and the power of sleep, and how that helps both mental and physical recovery—I patented a new latex core with multiple layers where each serves a specific purpose in support and pressure management. [They also] allow your body heat to escape and to have an active drop in temperature throughout the night.

Lauren: How have professional athletes played a role in Essentia’s product development?

Dell’Accio: Today, more than 25 to 30 percent of NHL players sleep on an Essentia mattress, a lot of Major League Baseball, NBA players, and athletes from all walks of life. Improving their sleep improves focus and recovery. And so that’s been an awesome journey because athletes are really in tune with their bodies.

Lauren: What are the dangers of using a conventional mattress?

Dell’Accio: Conventional mattresses have VOCs that make your central nervous system hyperactive and keep you out of your deep sleep and REM sleep cycles. So it really stimulates you. So by shortening that—you’re shortening the recovery time, whether it be physical or mental recovery. You’re not getting that deep reenergizing sleep that you should. Obviously, if you’re health-compromised, your immune system has to battle those toxins even more. So that can lead to respiratory issues, or breaking out in hives and rashes.

The rest of us are getting chronic exposure to low-level toxins, but the real effects are not giving you the deepest and healthiest possible sleep.

Lauren: How does EMF blocking work with the Procor P1 Custom Mattress?

Dell’Accio: So the EMF was a pretty big deal for us. I’ve been working on that for the last five years. One of the biggest reasons is that many of Essentia’s customers are professional athletes who all have something in common. They’re mostly young—between the ages of 20 and 25. They’re willing to do almost anything to perform well and recover because their livelihood depends on it. The biggest struggle I had with them is having to shut down their phones and tablets.

For the last five years, I’ve been trying to explore what the options are and I came across a doctor in Switzerland, who was working with quartz and we [figured out] how we can have quartz inside our latex.

We are proud to offer EMF protection technology not only on our ProCor P1 mattress, but as an upgrade on the Dormeuse REM9 and Classic REM5 mattresses. We have recently launched a topper including this technology which is the Zero Gravity Organic Latex Topper with EMF protection. This topper option is an amazing value and priced just right so it can be added to any mattress to benefit from the EMF protection technology.

Lauren: What’s the best way to buy a mattress without being able to try it first?

Dell’Accio: We have a great team of sleep experts who are happy to help match you with the right Essentia model and support that will work for you. They utilize a few tools including our Essentia ID assessment, and can even do video calls! This is on top of our 120-Night mattress sleep trial so you do have peace of mind when choosing a mattress. When it comes to Essentia, we refer to our support options as mid-contour and full-contour. So you won’t find a very firm or very soft mattress here because we prioritize the support on your back.

We don’t believe in a firm mattress. Essentia’s mattresses are extremely high-density, meaning two to three times higher density than anything that considers itself high-density. So that being the case, what ends up happening is you get full, very dense support, which is long-lasting, and really functional. So whether it be the mid contour or full contour, all of them actually can work for any sleeper. But we’re just obsessed with the details.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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