BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to padding. More particularly, the present invention relates to mattress pads or toppers and bench or seat padding which are designed to conform to the anatomy of a person using the pad.
2. State of the Art
Many persons are affected by symptoms common to a loss of sleep., Additionally, there are many persons who get enough sleep but experience similar symptoms because, due to discomfort while sleeping, they are not able to gain the full benefit of sleep and their body is not well rested. While there are many symptoms associated with a lack of good sleep, some common symptoms include: trouble concentrating or remembering, losing one's sense of humor, tiredness in the morning or throughout the day, reduced immunity to disease and viral infections, having mood shifts, feeling depressed or irritable, or experiencing weight gain or loss.
Symptoms like these often result from poor sleep. If a person is not sleeping well, their body will not recover from the stress and physical and emotional depletion of the previous day. Consequentially, their physical and emotional wellbeing suffer.
There are many reasons that a person does not sleep well. Many of these reasons are caused by a mattress that is of poor quality, too old, or the wrong type of mattress for the individual. Many mattresses cause the individual to feel too cold or hot, or do not properly support the individual while sleeping.
If an individual is not properly supported while sleeping, the individual's body is not held comfortably by the mattress. The individual will experience too much pressure on prominent areas of the body, such as the shoulders or hips. An individual who is not properly supported by their mattress will also experience improper alignment of areas of the body such as the neck, spine, shoulders, or pelvis. Improper alignment of such areas of the body while sleeping may promote joint problems such as arthritis, back or neck pain, or soreness of the muscles associated with the misaligned joint.
An individual that feels too cold or hot while sleeping will also experience reduced quality of sleep. A person who feels too cold while sleeping will often tighten up and curl up into an uncomfortable position, causing further misalignment of the body and subsequent discomfort. A person who is too cold may also experience muscle tension and soreness, because the muscles may not be fully relaxed while sleeping. A person who feels too hot while sleeping may have difficulty falling asleep and may turn more during the night.
Thus persons with uncomfortable mattresses experience a number of problems while sleeping which are caused by the mattress and which reduce the quality of sleep they experience. These problems often cause a deterioration of the person's physical and emotional well-being.
Many of the persons experiencing sleep problems as described are unable to purchase a proper mattress to relieve the problems because of the high cost of a premium mattress. Premium mattresses solve many of the described sleep problems by inclusion of many layers of various types of padding including foam and woven cloth or plastic fibers. The premium mattresses, however, commonly sell for thousands of dollars. Many persons are unable to purchase a mattress that expensive and must purchase a mattress of lesser quality. The less expensive mattresses typically do not have the number of layers of padding that the premium mattresses have, and persons purchasing less expensive mattresses typically experience more discomfort and other problems while sleeping.
Additionally, many can not afford to replace an old mattress, as even less expensive mattresses can easily cost five hundred dollars or more.
There is thus a need for a way to eliminate the discomfort associated with a less expensive or old mattress without requiring the purchase of a new premium mattress which is too expensive for many persons.
Additionally, there are many other situations when a person would desire a sleeping pad or mattress pad or topper to enhance the quality of sleep. A few common situations include camping in a tent or trailer, sleeping on a boat, or staying with relatives.
It is common when camping to sleep on the ground, or on top of a thin camping pad or thin trailer mattress. The person will then experience the aforementioned problems caused by discomfort while sleeping. It is desirable to have a pad to place on top of the camping pad or mattress to increase the comfort and quality of sleep. Similarly, a person sleeping or resting in a boat would desire the greater comfort achieved through the use of a mattress pad.
Additionally, it is common for persons who are visiting relatives or friends and staying overnight to sleep on the floor, on a thin pad, or on an old bed. These persons will typically experience discomfort while sleeping caused by areas of high pressure and improper alignment of the body. It is thus desirable to have a sleeping pad or mattress topper to eliminate these problems.
It is also desirable for the mattress pad or topper to easily transported to be useful in increasing the comfort and quality of sleep when camping, boating, or visiting friends or relatives.
It is further desirable to have an improved pad for chairs, benches, or other sitting areas to eliminate sitting discomfort caused by areas of high pressure and improper support of the person sitting.
It is not uncommon for a person to experience discomfort while sitting caused by ineffective support from the chair pad. This discomfort is common in offices where persons will spend extended periods of time seated while working. While sitting, persons may commonly experience areas of high pressure or poor sitting posture caused by an ineffective chair pad. Areas of high pressure caused by a ineffective chair pad may commonly cause bruising, soreness, or ulceration of the tissue. A chair pad that does not properly support the occupant may also result in poor sitting posture, which in turn may cause back and neck pain, back and shoulder fatigue, stress, and further discomfort.
Many persons also experience discomfort while sitting in lawn chairs, pool lounges, or other portable chairs. Such portable chairs often have little or no padding. The person may commonly sit on chairs constructed with plastic or metal slats or plastic webbing. Such chair designs often do not properly support and cushion the occupant and may cause bruising and discomfort.
It is thus desirable to have a pad for chairs and lounges to provide the occupant with greater comfort while sitting.
The above and other advantages are realized by the improvement in a Dual Air Ventilation Pad.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention resolves some or all of these concerns through the use of improved pad for use when sitting, laying down, or sleeping.
In accordance with the present invention, a pad is constructed from a polyurethane memory foam, also known as a visco-elastic foam.
Memory foam is an open-celled foam. The cells of the foam are not a series of closed bubbles, as a conventional closed-cell foam, but a web-like matrix of the foam fibers. The open-celled nature of the memory foam allows faster movement of fluids, such as air, through the foam.
Memory foam has a low resilience, or low resistance to deformation. The low resilience and open-celled mature of the foam allow the foam to quickly and completely conform to a person's body providing greater support and comfort. As a pad conforms more completely to the person's body, the pressure is distributed more evenly across the body, relieving areas of high pressure. This alleviates the bruises, sores, or ulceration associated with areas of high pressure while sitting or sleeping.
Memory foam is also temperature sensitive, becoming slightly softer and conforming better with the heat from a person's body. Memory foam thus continuously reacts to the weight and body temperature of the user, dramatically minimizing areas of high pressure.
The greater conformation of memory foam to a person as compared with conventional foam or pads will result in better posture. Because the foam conforms to the shape of the person's body, the body is held in a natural position, yielding better sleeping or sitting posture. Better sleeping and sitting posture results in lower pain, discomfort, and joint problems.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, holes are formed in the memory foam pad. The holes, or sleep air columns, extend from the top surface to the bottom surface of the pad. The sleep air columns are typically spaced about one inch apart and are about one quarter of an inch in diameter. One of skill in the art of making foam pad will appreciate that other diameters of sleep air columns and spacing length between holes will accomplish the same result.
The sleep air columns in the memory foam allow for easier air passage in and out of the foam. This improves the foam's ability to conform to the person's body and increases the deformation and recovery speed of the foam. This is advantageous because it allows the foam to conform more quickly to the person's body as they sit, sleep, or move while on the foam.
Another advantage of using sleep air columns in the mattress pad is the corresponding reduction of weight of the pad. For example, if ten percent of the pad area is occupied by sleep air columns, as may be typical, the pad would be ten percent lighter than a similar pad without sleep air columns. Likewise, a pad with ten percent of its area covered by sleep air columns may be made ten percent thicker or ten percent more dense without a gain in weight as compared to a similar pad without sleep air columns. The corresponding gain in thickness or density would provide greater comfort, while the lighter pad would be easier to move.
The sleep air columns can be uniformly shaped and distributed throughout the throughout the memory foam to maintain the structural integrity of the foam and preserve all of the benefits of the foam while increasing the ability of the foam to conform to the person's body.
In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, the pad is made with multiple layers of memory foam, each layer having a different density of memory foam. The memory foam used is typically in the density range of between 3 and 10 pounds per cubic foot of foam. Foam of about five pounds per cubic foot density is commonly used in a more preferred embodiment. A pad may then have two layers, for example, with one layer being of a density somewhat less than five pounds and a second layer with a density of somewhat more than five pounds. The two layers would then be bonded together into one pad. Likewise, pads with three, four or more layers are possible.
Pads with multiple layers of different density foam are advantageous because the less dense (and thus softer) layer may provide gentle support to the entire body while the more dense (and firmer) layer provides greater support to a heavier area of the body that sinks deeper into the pad. Additionally, a multiple layer pad is advantageous because it allows a user to adjust the firmness of the pad. A user who wants a softer pad may use the pad with the soft side up while a user desiring a firmer pad may use the pad with the firm side up.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, mattress pads for beds where individuals share a bed (such as is commonly found with full, queen, or king beds) are made with two separate sides, allowing each person to chose the firmness desired from a multiple layer mattress pad by placing the appropriate side of the pad facing upward.
The ability to change the firmness of one side of the bed without affecting the other side is advantageous because two persons sharing a bed will often have different likes and dislike in the comfort and firmness of the bedding. The present invention allows two persons to customize their bedding without requiring the purchase of a new mattress.
Accordingly, the above described pads allow a person to increase the comfort of their bed without requiring the purchase of a new and expensive bed. Instead of spending thousands on a new premium bed, a person may spend only hundreds on a mattress pad or topper and achieve a similar level of comfort as compared to a premium bed.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, portable sleeping pads may be made of memory foam for use camping, boating, or when visiting friends or relatives. Similar to the above described pads, these pads may contain multiple layers of different densities of foam to allow for greater comfort and allow a person to select the degree of firmness desired from the pad. The pads may also comprise sleep air columns to enhance the ability of the foam to conform to the person's body. Additionally, pads designed for camping, boating, or for use in visiting a friend or relative are designed to be resistant to the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and the like, and may have an outer fabric shell to inhibit dust and dirt from entering the foam pad and allow for easier cleaning of the pad.
In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, similar pads may be made to fit chairs, such as office or table chairs, lawn chairs, patio furniture, pool lounges, or the like. In accordance with a more preferred embodiment, the pads may contain multiple layers of different density foam, may be reversible to adjust the firmness of the pad, and may contain uniformly spaced and symmetrical holes extending from the top surface to the bottom surface of the pad.
Such pads allow a person to increase the comfort of their chairs or lounges without requiring the purchase of new furniture.