Where did all the time go?  It was just a few months ago they graduated high school full of excitement and energy. Minds filled with adventures, hot summer nights with friends, late-night videogame sessions, and not a care in the world. We all remember those days too well. Fast forward two months and life is turned upside down. We’re prepping their college dorm essentials list, and getting ready for move-in day! Our kids are essentially starting a new life, living in a new city with endless opportunities, and experiencing true freedom for the first time.

Stress, anxiety, depression, nervous energy, exuberance, and relief are the mix of emotions that both parents and students feel during this time period. Once the dust settles from the “Move-In Day” frenzy we as parents think to ourselves; did we do everything we can to provide the best chances of success and happiness for our child? Is the dorm environment safe and healthy? This is why we want to take you through all the college dorm essentials that you need to be sure you check off the list after moving in. 


Here is what we know of most typical college dorm rooms.  Universities and colleges provide the basic furniture for the incoming student which includes a desk, dresser, bed frame, and mattress that are designed to survive from being passed down from user to user over many years. The furniture material is usually cheap steel and laminated wood built for strength and durability.  You have to consider that colleges are purchasing hundreds or thousands of sets at a time so cost is a major consideration. Most beds are standard twin xl size and most mattresses are firm, encased in a plastic or synthetic cover, and not very comfortable.  On top of that, the materials used to create the mattress are not organic and tend to emit toxins throughout the product’s life cycle. Toxins are stimulants that disrupt your quality of sleep. In fact, we came to realize that giving you a list of college dorm essentials was super important as one of our own colleagues had a son move into his college dorm, only to be met with this mattress:

Dorm room mattress on metal fram 

The goal is to make your dorm bed as supportive and comfortable as possible to get the best sleep which plays a crucial role in the student’s overall health. Keep in mind that universities don’t supply pillows, pillowcases, sheets, toppers, or air purifying systems which all function together to provide clean air quality in a crowded dorm room environment. This is especially important with older universities with dated student housing buildings which are poorly equipped with air circulation systems that are required to help remove mold and toxins in the air. 

Dorm beds are designed to take up as little space as possible which allows accommodations of two or more students in a modest space.  A large number of students find dorm mattresses significantly less comfortable than their mattresses at home. Common issues are, that it’s too firm, it sags in the middle from years of use, it lacks proper support at the edges and it’s too hot. Creating a healthy dorm room environment for your child seems nearly impossible with all the things that we can not control. From the age of the buildings, and the dorm room furniture to the number of students per dorm, these are outside factors that we are at the mercy of the university. At Essentia, we give a little control back to you, the parent, so you can rest assured that you gifted your child the healthiest, safest, and most comfortable dorm room environment possible. 

Don’t rely on the universities to protect your child when they are sleeping, take matters into your own hand and get peace of mind. While you may be tempted to replace the mattress provided by the school, there are other, more affordable ways you can make your dorm bed more comfortable. If your dorm bed is uncomfortable from years of use, a mattress topper is your best bet.  Toppers are the preferred solution for over 11.9 million full-time students that head back to campus housing each year. Toppers provide comfort similar to what students are used to at home, in addition, it creates a  2-3 inch barrier between the mattress and usually comes with a cover that can be removed and washed.


  1. DORM IQ ORGANIC FOAM TOPPER : our patented Beyond Latex organic foam is nontoxic, made with only natural ingredients, no VOC or off-gassing, and is impervious to dust mites and bed bugs which reduces exposure to allergens. Comes with a removable and washable organic cotton cover. Provides superior support and comfort while being nontoxic and hypoallergenic. The Dorm IQ topper is perfect to add pressure relief and comfort to a firm dorm mattress.
  2. ZERO GRAVITY ORGANIC LATEX TOPPER with EMF PROTECTION : our newest addition comes with Essentia's EMF Protection Foam upgrade. Proven to reduce the impact of 3G/4G/5G and wireless radiation waves while in bed, yes that means even when you are on your phone scrolling Tik Tok in the morning!  This GOLS certified organic latex topper will add a cloud of comfort and protection to a college dorm mattress.
  3. ORGANIC COMFORT PILLOW The healthiest loose-fill pillow with proprietary latex foam blends. Good for all sleep positions while providing comfort and neck support without flattening out.  Skip the 10 Dollar pillows at the department store, they only last about a month and are made cheaply with highly toxic chemicals. 
  4. ORGANIC CLASSIC PILLOW A traditionally shaped pillow taken to the next level. This molded natural memory foam pillow will cradle the head and neck while maintaining proper spine alignment as you sleep.  Active cooling and accelerated recovery technology for the most quality night’s sleep. 
  5. ORGANIC COTTON SHEETS 100% organic luxury sheets with GOTS certification. A fitted sheet to cover the topper, a flat sheet in between and two pillowcases are included. Breathe fresh air every night you jump into bed.

Every time we look at a college dorm essentials list, we see the same recommendations because the fact of the matter is, dorm mattresses are awful for the person sleeping on them and the environment. Some colleges are making an effort to provide eco-friendly bedding options and recognize the importance of sustainable and healthy campus living. However, the majority of colleges and universities still operate on a cost-profit model which requires reducing expenses that include furniture and bedding for dorm rooms.  

Higher education is an investment in your child’s future. Creating a clean and safe dorm room environment is an investment in the well-being of your child. It was stated by NRF (National Retail Federation) that college students and families spend almost $1200 on back-to-school spending and most likely higher with the adjustment of inflation. A small investment today makes a big impact on the quality of sleep for years. If you won’t settle for less for the education of your child, then you shouldn’t settle for less to provide them the safest, cleanest, and healthiest dorm room environment.

Is your child a student athlete? You don’t want to miss this deep dive into how away games affect their sleep!