US 20010029630 A1
A nape and a head pillow with a neck supporting part and a pillow part comprises two or more chambers and a set of inserts of differing hardnesses for these chambers. The pillow allows a simple and reproducible adjustment of the softness of the nape-supporting part.
1. Nape and head pillow, with a nape-supporting part and a contiguous head-supporting part, characterized in that the nape-supporting part comprises two or more superposed chambers accessible from outside which extend transversally across the width B of the pillow, and in that the pillow further comprises a set of at least two inserts of differing hardness and with shapes that are essentially adapted to the shapes of the chambers.
2. Nape and head pillow, with a nape-supporting part and a contiguous head-supporting part, in particular as recited in
3. Nape and head pillow according to
4. Nape and head pillow according to
5. Nape and head pillow according to
6. Nape and head pillow according to one of
7. Nape and head pillow according to
8. Nape and head pillow according to one of
9. Nape and head pillow according to one of
10. Nape and head pillow according to one of
11. Nape and head pillow according to one of
12. Nape and head pillow according to
13. Nape and head pillow according to one of
14. Nape and head pillow according to one of
15. Set of inserts with different hardnesses for a nape and head pillow according to one of claims 1-14.
16. Set according to
17. Set according to
18. Set according to one of
 This application claims the priority of Swiss application No. 672/00, filed Apr. 4, 2000, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
 The invention relates to a nape and a head pillow according to the generic part of claim 1 and 2, respectively, and also to a set of inserts according to claim 15 for such a pillow.
 The document CH-A-666 394 describes a nape and head pillow comprising an inflatable sheath that allows to modify simultaneously the height and the hardness of the nape-supporting part, this simultaneous modification is undesirable, however, and requires an air pump. Further, it is doubtful whether reproducible results are obtained. The document CH-A-645 007 discloses a mattress with stiffening battens made of plastic or foamed plastic. The document CH-A-592 022 discloses a gymnastic, or jumping mattress provided with air channels in which worms made of the same foamed material can be introduced in order to recover the normal stiffness of the mattress.
 Hence, it is a general object of the invention to provide a nape and a head pillow that allows to regulate in a simple and reproducible way the hardness in the region of the nape without modifying the height of the load-free pillow.
 In order to implement these and further objects, the pillow of the invention is defined as recited in claim 1 and 2, respectively.
 The provision of superposed chambers which can receive inserts chosen among a set of inserts with different hardnesses allows one to obtain various hardnesses of nape-support without changing the height of the cushion when no load is applied to it; this can be obtained in a simple an reproducible way which enables one to easily find, and then maintain, individually optimal adjustments.
 When using pillows with two nape-supporting parts of different heights, this is particularly suitable for persons, in particular children and teenagers, of very different sizes, whilst the hardness of each nape-supporting part can still be modified through the use or several inserts.
 The chambers are preferably superposed obliquely with respect to the base of the pillow, which makes for a very appropriate support of the nape. Further, when seen in a longitudinal section, and preferably also in plan view 2, the front surface of the pillow is concave, which ensures a particularly good fit of the pillow to the user.
 Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described with the help of the drawings in which
FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a nape and head pillow according to the invention;
FIG. 2 shows a longitudinal section along the line A-A of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 shows a section similar to that of FIG. 2 for a further embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 4 shows a longitudinal section through a further embodiment of the pillow of the invention.
FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a nape and head pillow 1, simply called pillow in odd follows. What is shown is the pillow by itself, that is its basic shape without a pillowcase and also without the slip which usually covers it. The basic shape of the pillow, which is made of foamed material, preferably natural latex, is determined by its manufacture and changes only when the pillow is deformed elastically by a load. When the user ceases to apply a load the pillow returns to the shape shown in the Figure, that is its resting shape. The pillow comprises a head-supporting part 2 intended to receive the head of a user, and a higher nape-supporting part 3 intended for the neck or nape, respectively, of the user. This type of basic shape of a nape and head pillow is known in principle. The pillow has a lengths L and a width B, and also a forward part which will be hereafter called the frontal part 11; it also has a rear end 24. A nape supporting pillow must take into account that the nape region of man contains a very compact structure made of vertebra, nerves, blood vessels, and a complex array of muscles, all contained within a very small space. Inappropriate resting positions due to an uncomfortable angle of the head may therefore disturb the sleep and also lead to a sleepiness, headaches, stiffness, lack of concentration and other symptoms. Therefore a nape pillow must provide a comfortable sleeping position where the head and the nape are supported in a way that makes the sleep of the user comfortable and is beneficial for his health. Because these requirements, especially with respect to the sleeping comfort, can be very different for different users it is imperative that a nape-supporting pillow can be adapted individually and in a reproducible way to the requirements of different users.
 According to the invention, the nape-supporting part 3 of the pillow 1 comprises superposed chambers which in the embodiment of FIG. 2 consist of two chambers 4 and 5 in the nape-supporting part 3. The chambers 4 and 5 are accessible from outside, in this example through slits 4′ and 5′ which extend form the respective chamber to the front surface 11 of the pillow and which allow to access the corresponding chamber by bending the material of the pillow upwards along this slit. An insert belonging to the pillow can be inserted in one, both or none of the chambers 4 and 5, in order to modify the hardness of the nape-supporting part 3 of the pillow. By way of example FIG. 1 shows the case where an insert 8 and 9, respectively, is located in each chamber. In this example the chambers 4 and 5 extend over the entire widths B of the pillow or its nape-supporting part 3, respectively, and these chambers are open on the front side, as shown. Accordingly, the inserts 8 and 9 can extend over the entire width of the pillow and therefore extend from one frontal opening of the chamber to the other frontal opening of the chamber. The shape of the inserts is adapted to the shape of the chamber, which in the drawing is a hollow cylinder; accordingly, the inserts 8 and 9 have the shape of cylinders but other shapes are of course possible. In this way the insertion of the inserts into the chambers does not modify the height of the basic, or unloaded shape of the pillow. However, changing the hardness of the inserts 8 and 9 results in a modification of the stiffness, and thereby also of the height of the nape-supporting part 3 when it carries the load for which it is intended. This smallest hardness of the pillow, and accordingly the greatest degrease in height when the nape-supporting part 3 carries a load is obtained when no insert is introduced into either chamber 4 or 5. An increased hardness is obtained through the insertion of an insert into only one chamber, and a yet larger hardness, respectively an even smaller depression of the nape-supporting part 3 when under load, is obtained when both chambers 4 and 5 contain an insert. The full set of inserts for the pillow, which comprises at least two inserts 8 and 9, allows further variations of the hardness through the use of inserts with different hardnesses. The inserts 8 and 9 may consist of foam material of different hardnesses, but they can also consist of materials having various hardnesses. The set of inserts for the pillow with two chambers shown in the Figure can for instance consist in three inserts having the hardness valves soft, medium, and hard, respectively. A further insert can for instance be made very hard. Different combinations of these inserts and of their positions in the upper, respectively lower chamber of the pillow produce a very large number of different hardnesses, or equivalently of different heights of the nape-supporting part when it supports a load, whilst the height of the nape-supporting part in its rest position always remains the same. Preferably, all inserts of a set, or at least the majority of these insert will have a greater hardness than the material of the pillow which forms the chambers.
 In a further embodiment the inserts may be shaped so that their lengths is less than the full length of the chamber, and preferably less than half the length of the corresponding chamber. This is represented in FIG. 1 by the inserts 9′ and 9″ which are shorter than the length of the chambers 4 and 5, respectively, which extend over the entire width of the pillow. This type of insert allows a further variation of the characteristic of the pillow through the placing of the inserts in an arbitrary position along the length of the chamber or the widths of the pillow, respectively. If the inserts are for instance so placed that their lateral front surfaces are flush with the lateral front surfaces of the pillow, then this creates a region in the middle of the corresponding chamber where no insert works. The full nape-supporting part 3 then has a smaller hardness in the middle than in both lateral regions.
FIGS. 2 and 3 show longitudinal sections through a pillow along the line A-A in FIG. 1, FIG. 2 showing a longitudinal section through a pillow with two chambers according to FIG. 2, and FIG. 3 a longitudinal section through a pillow with three chambers 14, 15 and 16. Chambers 4 and 5, respectively 14-16 are preferably arranged obliquely above one another when considering the inclination with respect to the base surface 20 of the pillow. In the example shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 the auxiliary line 18 through the lengthwise axis' of the chambers forms an angle α of approximately 78° with the base 20 when seen in longitudinal section. An angle in the range of 70°-85°, and in particular an angle of 78°, is preferred because it turns out that this results in an especially good efficiency of the chambers and the inserts, respectively. When three or more chambers are present it is possible to align only two chambers at this angle whilst the others are placed differently.
 Preferably, the front surface 11 of the pillow will be concave, as can be seen in the Figures. A lower part 7 of the arch of such a form provides a supporting quoin for the nape-supporting part 3, which avoids an excessive deformation of the nape-supporting part 3 towards the front side and thus improves the efficiency of the chambers and the inserts, respectively. Such a form further improves the fit of the pillow to the shoulders of a user and thereby enhances the feeling of comfort. In a specially preferred embodiment said lower part of the arch, or support portion 7, extends further forward than the nape-supporting part 3. Further, the forward part of the front surface then preferably comprises a quoin 21 of the arch 7, which quoin is flush with the base 20 of the pillow. In FIGS. 2 and 3 the auxiliary line 6 shows how the quoin 21 then forms the part of the pillow that extend furthest forward.
 Further, the upper part of the vertically concave frontal surface 11 of the pillow preferably comprises a straight segment 25, the extension of which is inclined at an angle β of about 70° with respect to the base 20, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 by the auxiliary line 19. The preferred range of angle β lies in the interval 65-75° and the angle β should preferably be smaller than the angle α.
FIG. 1 further shows that the frontal surface 11 is also concave when seen in plan view. This does improve the comfort of the pillow through a better fit with the shoulders of the user, and through the fact that the user will then rather remain on the pillow when turning his or her body.
 The head supporting parts 2 of pillow 1 also preferably comprises at least one chamber 22 which is preferably located at the rear end 24 of the pillow and also accessible from outside. This chamber, or chambers, is meant to contain inserts from the set of inserts which are not in use in the nape-supporting part 3 and are thus carried within the pillow and cannot be lost. Their position in the rear part 24 ensures that these inserts do not influence the sleeping comfort because the head of the user does not rest on this region. However, it is also possible to use chambers within the head supporting part for modifying the hardness of the pillow.
FIG. 4 shows an embodiment 31 of the pillow where a further nape-supporting part 33 is provided at the end 2 of the pillow which is opposed to the nape-supporting part 3; however, this nape-supporting part 33 is lower than the nape-supporting part 3. The nape-supporting part 33 preferably comprises only one chamber, but it could also comprise a second, lower-lying chamber, the chamber 34 or the chambers being able to contain one of the aforesaid inserts. In this embodiment the nape-supporting part 3 preferably comprises only one chamber 35 instead of the chambers 4 and 5, but it could also comprise two or three or more chambers as indicated by FIGS. 1 to 3. The pillow shown in FIG. 4 is preferably intended for children and teenagers, so that as a rule it will be smaller than the pillow 1 of FIGS. 1 to 3. The seize of the nape-supporting part 33 can for instance be appropriate for children of 2 to 6 years of age, whilst the nape-supporting part 3 of this pillow 31 can have a size that is appropriate for children of 6 to 12 years of age. But it is also possible to have a normal-seized pillow 1 shaped according to FIG. 4.
 As already mentioned, the head-supporting part 2 and the nape-supporting part 3 preferably consist of natural latex, which material allows to combine an antibacterial and fungi resistant pillow with an oxygen regulating and optimally distributed support function. This also avoids an intake of humidity and a change of shape through the warmth of the body, undesirable effects that occur in particular with synthetic foams and thermo-foams. The casing of the pillow (not shown in the Figures) consists preferably of raw cotton, which also allows the passage of humidity and oxygen. Preferably, one will use very closely woven cloth, which is impermeable to acarus and dust.
 The different inserts of a single set of inserts are preferably marked according to their hardness. This can be achieved by printed markings. Preferably, however, the inserts will be colored according to their hardness and the chambers will be open laterally as shown in FIG. 1 so that the colors visible through the lateral opening make it easy to read off the hardness adjustment of given pillow. A preferred array of colors is for example yellow for the soft insert, blue, in particular light blue, for the insert of medium hardness, light brown or mustard colored for the hard insert and dark brown for the very hard insert.
 While there are shown and described presently preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.