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 This invention relates to a pressure adjustable, self-inflating mattress and to a technique for rapidly and effectively deflating the mattress so that it may be conveniently stored and transported.
 Various self-inflating and pressure adjustable mattresses have been developed. See for example, Lea et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,872,525, Nissen, U.S. Pat. No. 5,023,133, Bridgens, U.K. Patent No. 984,604 and my previous U.S. Pat. No. 6,038,722. To date, these devices have been particularly designed for outdoor and recreational use. None of the self-inflating mattresses or cushions is suitable for use as a conventional bedroom mattress. For example, the Lea product is very thin and employed primarily as a camping mat. It is difficult to successfully adjust the pressure in the Lea mattress or to provide for desired levels of comfort because of the relative thinness of the item. If a user is lays upon the Lea mattress with the valve open, the foam cushion fully deflates almost immediately. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to adjust the pressure level in either this or the other known products.
 Pressure adjustability is highly desirable in mattresses intended primarily for bedroom use. People have widely varying comfort levels and require differing degrees of mattress firmness/softness. To date, however, self-inflating mattresses have not be used in indoor bedding applications. A likely reason for this fact is that the mattress for a conventional bed is typically much thicker than the standard self-inflating mattresses. In order to provide the needed support and comfort levels desired by most persons, a bedroom mattress should have a thickness of at least 4″-5″ and preferably 6″-7″. To date, this degree of thickness has not been conducive to the use of the self-inflating valve used in most available pressure adjustable mattresses. It would be extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible for the average individual to deflate a foam pad having the size and thickness of a normal bedroom mattress. For example, a twin mattress typically measures approximately 39½″×74″; a full mattress measures approximately 74″×54½″ and a queen mattress has a size of approximately 74″×60½″. Attempting to fold a foam mattress with these dimensions as well as a thickness of 6″-7″ would be incredibly difficult, tedious and time consuming. It is likely two or more individuals would be needed to deflate the mattress. Accordingly, to date, there do not appear to be any self-inflating mattresses available for indoor bedroom use.
 It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a self-inflating mattress that is uniquely suited for use as an indoor bedroom mattress.
 It is a further object of this invention to provide a self-inflating mattress having the size and thickness of a conventional bedroom mattress, but which may be partially or fully deflated in a quick and convenient manner by a single person and with very little time, effort and exertion.
 It is a further object of this invention to provide a self-inflating mattress that may be quickly and conveniently pressure adjusted to provide an accurate and comfortable firmness custom designed for the individual user.
 It is a further object of this invention to provide a self-inflating mattress that may be quickly and conveniently collapsed, stored and transported when required.
 It is a further object of this invention to provide a self-inflating mattress that is quick, convenient and virtually effortless to assemble.
 It is a further object of this invention to provide a self-inflating mattress that is extremely water resistant and functions as a flotation device.
 This invention results from a realization that a self-inflating mattress having the thickness of a standard bedroom mattress (e.g. 6″-7″) is uniquely able to be pressure adjusted so that the user can set the firmness, softness for his or her own individual requirements. It is further recognition of this invention that a self-inflating mattress having the size of a standard bedroom mattress can be practically, quickly and almost effortlessly deflated by engaging the suction inlet of a conventional vacuum pump with a valve of the self-inflating mattress and operating the pump to exhaust air from the mattress through the valve.
 This invention features a pressure adjustable mattress including a body supporting member that has a resilient, air pressure adjustable, self-inflating foam core and flexible, airtight covering that encloses the core. There are valve means extending through the covering and connected communicably to an interior of the body supporting member. The valve means are opened for exhausting air from and at least partially collapsing the core and for allowing the core that is at least partially collapsed to draw in air and expand. The valve means are closed for maintaining a selected air pressure within the core. A hydrophobic element may be engaged with and extend across an inner end of the valve for transmitting air and restricting the passage of fluid therethrough. A vacuum pump having a suction inlet may be engaged with the valve by introducing the valve into the suction inlet and sealably engaging the suction inlet a the side surface of the body portion surrounding the valve. The vacuum pump is operated to exhaust air from the interior of the body portion through the valve and at least partially deflate the foam core.
 In a preferred embodiment, the body portion has the dimensions of a standard bedroom mattress. The foam core may have a thickness of approximately 4″-7″. The mattress may have a length of approximately 72″-74″ and a width of at least 39.5″ (twin bed) -60.6″ (queen bed). The foam core may comprise an open-cell foam. The covering may constitute nylon or other synthetic material. A strap and buckle or other attachment means may be employed to secure the deflated cushion in a rolled-up condition.
 This invention also features various methods of adjusting or deflating the body supporting member. In one method, the suction inlet of a standard vacuum pump is sealably interengaged with the side wall of the body supporting member such that the valve is received by the suction inlet. The vacuum pump is then operated to at least partially exhaust air from the foam core and thereby the interior of the body supporting member. In another method according to this invention, the firmness/softness of the body supporting portion is adjusted. A person lies upon the mattress and the valve is open such that mattress partially deflates. When a desired contour/firmness is achieved, the user closes the valve. The partially deflated foam core provides the body supporting member with a desired firmness/softness and a custom impression of the user's body is formed in the body supporting member.
 Other objects, features and advantages will occur from the following description of preferred embodiments and the accompanying drawings, in which:
 There is shown in
 In order to function as a bedroom mattress, it is preferred that mattress 10 have approximately the following dimensions:
Twin: 74″ in length × 39.6″ in width × 7″ thickness Full: 74″ in length × 54.5″ in width × 7″ thickness Queen: 74″ in length × 60.5″ in width × 7″ thickness
 It should be understood that the foregoing dimensions can vary within the scope of this invention. However, it is particularly desirable for the mattress to have a thickness of at least 4″ so that the pressure control feature described below may be successfully achieved. If a thinner mattress is utilized, the mattress will deflate almost immediately when the user lies upon the mattress. This will prevent the mattress from being successfully pressure adjusted in the manner described below.
 Valve means are employed by mattress
 The inner end of drain valve
 The operator then activates vacuum pump
 By using a vacuum to exhaust air from the foam core, the user is able to quickly and conveniently flatten even a relatively large and bulky, bed-sized mattress. Considerable time is saved in collapsing the mattress, either partially or fully, because the mattress does not have to be manually squeezed and exhausted of air. Rather, the suction provided by a standard vacuum unit accomplishes this in a much faster, less strenuous and more convenient fashion.
 The self-inflating mattress of this invention may also be custom adjusted in the manner shown in
 Alternatively, the mattress may be adjusted from a fully deflated condition. Typically, one or more users (depending upon the width of the mattress) lie upon the mattress in a fully flattened condition. Each user reclines such that his or her head is proximate one of the drain valves
 The foregoing embodiment exhibits a number of unexpected benefits. In particular, the individual users imprints remain in the mattress regardless of pressure adjustment and/or movement by the adjacent user. In contrast to other inflatable types of mattresses, movement by one of the users does not cause waves or ripples of air to move through the mattress and disturb the other user. The foam core of the present mattress is relatively thick compared to conventional camping mats and other air mattresses. Accordingly, the present mattress acts as a shock absorber. Movement on one half of the mattress is not transmitted through the mattress to the other half. Optimal individual sleeping comfort for each user is thereby achieved.
 From the foregoing it may be seen that the apparatus of this invention provides for a pressure adjustable, self-inflating mattress and to a technique for rapidly and effectively deflating the mattress so that it may be conveniently pressured adjusted, or stored and transported. While this detailed description has set forth particularly preferred embodiments of the apparatus of this invention, numerous modifications and variations of the structure of this invention, all within the scope of the invention, will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is understood that this description is illustrative only of the principles of the invention and is not limitative thereof.
 Although specific features of the invention are shown in some of the drawings and not others, this is for convenience only, as each feature may be combined with any and all of the other features in accordance with this invention.
 Other embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art and are within the following claims: