This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/671,136, filed Apr. 14, 2005, the teachings of which are included herein in their entirety.
The present application relates in general to inclined sleep surfaces and, more specifically, to bed elevating methods and apparatus including a box spring that is insertable between a bed mattress and a bed frame, whereby the mattress is elevated at a substantially angularly extending plane that supports one end of the mattress at a height higher than the opposite end of the mattress relative to the bed frame.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,243,726 teaches an adjustable bed frame with a mattress tilting assembly having upper and lower support frames. The upper support frame is designed to carry a conventional box spring and a conventional mattress and is pivoted to the lower support frame so that the head portion of the mattress is raised higher than the foot portion. Lock means are positioned between the upper and lower frames for providing stability when the upper frame is in a raised position. Means are also provided so that the frame members may be adjusted to accommodate mattresses of different widths.
One problem associated with providing the mattress tilting function in the bed frame, however, is that the approach requires the use of separate rails, slats, supporting legs or operating levers. The bed frames are typically comprised of metal members and, thus, are heavy, expensive, and difficult to install.
Another approach is taught in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2004/0168257. As suggested there, a full-body mattress with an integrated incline is provided for prevention of conditions which may have a negative impact on health and for improvement of the health and comfort of a user. The full-body mattress has a first end with a first height, a second end opposite the first end with a second height, a top surface disposed between the first end and second end, and a bottom surface opposite the top surface. The first height is less than the second height. At least a portion of the top surface is inclined at an angle, the angle being located in a plane defined by a length and height of the full-body mattress. The bottom surface is not parallel with the inclined portion of the top surface so that the user's head can be elevated relative to the user's feet during use.
It is difficult, however, to provide a mattress of the type described above primarily because of the properties inherent in the nature of mattress construction. Essentially, mattresses typically do not have rigid frames. Thus, the overall asymmetric construction property of mattresses of the type above must be provided by soft components within the mattress making them unstable, difficult to manufacture, or impractical.
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a bed elevating box spring apparatus is provided. The box spring foundation is formed of a substantially rigid outer frame having an overall truncated wedge shape. The foundation is selectively insertable between the mattress and bed frame for providing a single angularly extending plane for elevating one end of the mattress higher than the opposite end of the mattress relative to the bed frame and underlying ground surface.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the bed elevating box spring foundation apparatus is a truncated wedge-shaped steel box spring. There, a series of increasingly taller springs or modules are arranged within the steel box spring to provide an upper single angularly extending plane for supporting the mattress relative to the bed frame.
In accordance with yet a further aspect of the invention, the bed elevating box spring foundation includes an otherwise standard flat steel box spring attached with an upper foam wedge-shaped member to provide an overall truncated wedge shape and an angularly extending planar top surface for supporting a mattress in a tilted orientation. There, standard flat steel box springs can be used and simply modified with a wedge-shaped foam member for use as a bed elevating box spring foundation apparatus having the overall function and characteristics of the invention.
In accordance with yet another aspect of the invention, the bed elevating box spring foundation apparatus includes a wood foundation using a wood buildup portion of the foundation wherein angled pieces of wood are cut and arranged to define an inclined surface for supporting the mattress in a single angularly extending plane relative to the bed frame and ground surface.
In accordance with yet a further aspect of the invention, a method is provided for elevating one end of a mattress higher than the opposite end of the mattress relative to a bed frame and underlying ground surface. The method includes selectively disposing a substantially truncated wedge-shaped box spring apparatus between an otherwise conventional mattress and bed frame or other support surface. The method has the effect of raising one end of the mattress relative to the opposite end in a single angularly extending plane.
The embodiments of the present invention provide numerous benefits particularly in connection with symptoms associated with medical conditions including acid reflux, snoring, and poor circulation. It is believed that sleeping in the position provided by the embodiments of the present application help many symptoms of these combinations by allowing users to lie from head to toe at a slightly declining slope which, preferably, is barely noticeable. The inclined sleep surface provided by embodiments of the invention provide a desirable arrangement to people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) who heretofore have attempted to prop their heads with extra pillows to discourage the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. In accordance with the present application, the inclined sleep surface puts the entire body at an angle, helping discourage the backflow of acid. Further, the elevated foundation has the potential of helping prevent retraction of the tongue into the back of the throat thus blocking airways, one of the most common causes of snoring. The inclined sleep surface provided by the embodiments of the present application can help lessen both the frequency and intensity of snoring, resulting in a better night's sleep for the end user. Further, the symptoms of cramping, fatigue, swelling, and tired legs can be assisted by sleeping on an inclined surface of the present application which helps increase blood flow to these areas helping ease the discomfort associated with poor circulation.
These and other advantages and benefits of the embodiments of the present application will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description.
FIG. 1 is an elevational side view of a typical embodiment of a bed elevating apparatus inserted between a mattress and bed frame;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bed elevating box spring foundation apparatus of the present application;
FIG. 3 is an elevational side view of a further embodiment of a bed elevating box spring apparatus inserted between a mattress and a bed frame;
FIG. 4 is a perspective schematic view showing the bed elevating box spring foundation of FIG. 3 in a stage of partial manufacture;
FIG. 5 is a perspective schematic view of the foundation of FIG. 3 shown in a further stage of partial manufacture;
FIG. 6 is a perspective schematic view showing the bed elevating box spring foundation of FIG. 3 shown in a final stage of manufacture; and,
FIG. 7 is a perspective schematic view of a bed elevating box spring foundation apparatus in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention.
As shown in FIG. 1, the bed elevating apparatus 1 providing an inclined sleep surface is shown inserted between a mattress 2 and a bed frame 4 that are all supported at a ground surface 17. The bed elevating apparatus 1, mattress 2, and bed frame 4 together form a bed system 5 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In its preferred form, the bed elevating apparatus is a wedge shaped box spring or a wedge-shaped foundation.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the bed elevating apparatus 1 has spaced apart first and second ends 10 and 11, respectively, and top and bottom surfaces 12 and 13, respectively. The top surface 12 extends at an angle 15 relative to the horizontally extending support surface 17. Specifically, the top surface 12 extends at an angle 15 in a substantially single angularly extending plane with respect to the support surface 17 from the first end 10 to the second end 11. The box spring foundation bed elevating apparatus 1, when inserted into the bed system 5, raises the mattress first end 20 to a height above the support surface 17 that is higher than the mattress second end 21. The box spring apparatus 1 thereby supports the top surface 22 of the mattress 2 to lie at the same angle 15 in a substantially single angular plane with respect to the underlying support surface 17 from the mattress first end 20 to the mattress second end 21.
As shown in FIG. 2, the first end 10 of the box spring 1 has a first height 25 and a second end 11 has a second height 16. In a preferred form of the subject box spring, the first dimension 25 can take on any height but, preferably, is a height within a range of about 2 inches to 8 inches taller than the second height 16 of the second end 11. Additionally, the box spring apparatus 1 has approximate dimensions of 60 inches wide by 80 inches long by about 5 inches high. In a preferred form, the first height 25 is about 10 inches and the second height 16 is about 6 inches. Any degree of incline can be use, however, as desired. Preferably, however, the first dimension 25 is about 4 inches higher than the second dimension 16.
The subject box spring 1 provides a method and means for elevating the mattress first end 20 in a substantially single angular plane with respect to the bed frame 4 and support surface 17. The bottom surface 13 of the bed elevating apparatus is flat and, therefore, it can be placed directly onto the floor or any underlying support surface 17 and, from that position, support the mattress 8 at the desired inclined pitch.
With reference now to FIGS. 3-6, a further embodiment of the invention is shown wherein a bed elevating apparatus 1′ is provided in a bed system 5′ in the form of a wedge-shaped member 30 attached with a standard box spring base 3 having a substantially rectangular cross section. Preferably, the wedge-shaped member 30 is provided in the form of a high density foam 31. The foam 31 is attached to the top flat surface 40 of a standard box spring 3 to define an overall single angular plane for supporting the mattress 2 relative to the frame 4 and support surface 17. In that way, the wedge-shaped member is integrated with the standard box spring base 3. In one preferred form, the foam 31 defines a height at one end of about 4 inches and about 1 inch on the opposite end so that the finished overall foundation has a height on a first end of approximately 10 inches and a height on a second end of approximately 6 inches.
FIG. 4 shows the bed elevating apparatus 1′ in a stage of partial assembly. More particularly, as illustrated there, a standard box spring base defines a top flat surface 40 adapted to receive the wedge-shaped member 30 which, as noted above, is preferably a high density foam 31 having the general shape and proportions described above. As can be appreciated by those skilled in the art, FIG. 4 shows a standard box spring base 30 prior to being covered with an outer quilted box spring cover. In that way, at the stage of manufacture illustrated in the figure, the wedge-shaped foam member 30 can be easily positioned on and then adhered to the top flat surface 40 to form an integrated bed elevating apparatus 1′ according to an aspect of the present application.
FIG. 5 shows the wedge-shaped member 30 partially adhered to the top flat surface 40 of the box spring base 3. Various glues or the like including hot melt glues, epoxies, and the like can be used to adhere the bottom surface of the wedge-shaped member 30 with the top flat surface 40 of the box spring 3. As shown, a spray gun device 32 is used to spray a fluidized glue over the top surface area of the base 3 and/or the underside of the wedge member 30. It is to be appreciated that, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the box spring is preferably formed of a substantially rigid wooden outer frame. However, as understood by those skilled in the art, other suitable materials can be equivalently used in the box spring construction as well.
As shown in FIG. 6, a quilted box spring cover 33 is attached to the foam 31 and box spring member 3 by wrapping the quilted cover over the top surface and stapling the cover down to the bottom edges of the foundation. In that way, the wedge-shaped member 30 is integrated with the box spring 3 to collectively form a bed elevating apparatus 1′ having the characteristics and advantages of the embodiments described above.
It is to be appreciated that any degree of incline can be realized using the embodiments of the present invention described above. However, in most cases, the preferred amount of incline will vary from 2 to 8 inches difference between the first or head end of the mattress support surface and the foot or second end thereof.
In addition, it is to be appreciated that the methods and apparatus described herein for elevating one end of a mattress higher than the other end are applicable to all bed systems, including those without a bed frame as such. More particularly, the invention finds application in any bed system comprising a mattress supported relative to a ground surface such as a floor or the like. The bed elevating apparatus 1, 1′ is selectively received between a mattress 2 and any underlying support surface such as a floor, a solid block frame such as a platform bed base, a frame comprised of rails, headboard/footboard/rail systems, a wheeled structure, or any other object which might be used for supporting the bed system.
FIG. 7 shows a further alternative embodiment of a bed elevating apparatus 1″ in accordance with the present application. The bed elevating apparatus 1″ is configured for use in the bed systems 5, 5′ described above for insertion between a mattress and a bed frame that are all supported at a ground surface. The bed elevating apparatus 1″, the mattress and bed frame together form a bed system. In its preferred form, the alternative embodiment bed elevating apparatus 1″ is a wedge-shaped box spring 40 having spaced apart first and second ends 50 and 51, respectively, and top and bottom surfaces 52 and 53, respectively. The top surface 52 extends at an angle 55 relative to the horizontally extending support surface below. Specifically, the top surface 52 extends at an angle 15 in a substantially single angularly extending plane with respect to the support surface from the first end 50 to the second end 51. The box spring foundation bed elevating apparatus 1″, when inserted into the bed systems described above, raises the first end of the mattress to a height above the support surface that is higher than the mattress second end above the support surface. In FIG. 7, the box spring apparatus 1″ includes a plurality of spaced apart spring members 60 having varied heights selected so that spring members 60 adjacent the first end 50 of the box spring 1″ are taller than springs 60 adjacent the second end 51 of the support member 1″. Preferably, the springs 60 include a set of steel springs having a range of height and arranged in the box spring to provide the single angularly extending plane.
The exemplary apparatus have been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. As an example, the apparatus shown comprise mechanical members and resilient foam members but other techniques and approaches are useful as well to provide an inclined sleep surface including the use of various fluids contained within shape-defining surrounding structures such as wedge-shaped air mattresses and wedge-shaped waterbed constructions, and the like. Combinations of mechanical and fluid systems are contemplated as well. It is intended that the exemplary embodiments may be construed including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.