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1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a mattress for beds, futons and the like.
2. Prior Art
There is an increasing awareness of the impact of dust mites, bacteria, and mold within a mattress and its effects on the ability to sleep comfortably and efficiently. Dust mites carry disease and can cause allergic reactions when they (or their residue) come in contact with the mattress user. Studies have shown the weight of an innerspring mattress doubles every ten years due to live dust mites, dead dust mites, and dust mite feces. The mattress is second only to the garbage disposal in microbiological growth within the home (toilet is third). Sixty-eight percent (68%) of those in a recent survey with allergies indicated they had a difficult time obtaining a restful night's sleep.
Moisture from perspiration causes a natural environment for biological growth. This particularly evident in waterbeds and air mattresses where there is a disparity between the person's body temperature and the temperature of the water mattress or air mattress. The average person perspires one pint of fluid during an 8-hour sleep period. A warm moist environment is ideal for microbe proliferation.
Dust mites feed on fungus, body ash (dead skin cells flaking off the body), and natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk and rayon. These fibers are ideally used for absorbing moisture to maintain a dry hygienic sleep surface. Unfortunately these fibers, while reducing the moisture laden environment that will control mildew and mold, attract dust mites that feed on these natural fibers.
It has also been discovered that mattresses could be improved in other ways. Many types of materials have been proposed for use in mattresses, such as various kinds of foams, inner springs, air and water chambers, and the like. These materials, for the most part, provide a satisfactory sleep surface. But they are fairly heavy, which makes them expensive to ship and somewhat awkward to move or flip. Many people prefer a sleep support that conforms to their body, which certain of these materials provide in one form or another. But such conforming supports do not usually provide a solid “feel” for the user.
It would be desirable to have a mattress that solves one or more of these problems, to provide the user a better night's sleep.
Briefly, in a first embodiment of the present invention, a mattress includes a support core, an anti-microbial fabric layer for partially covering a portion of the support core, and a liquid impermeable layer removably secured to the anti-microbial fabric layer to enclose the support core. The anti-microbial fabric layer is completely removable from the liquid impermeable layer so that the anti-microbial fabric layer may be removed from the liquid impermeable layer for washing.
In a second aspect of the present invention, a mattress includes a resilient container defining an interior volume, said resilient container having a length and a width sufficient to support a human user, and a plurality of expanded polystyrene beads filling a substantial part of the interior volume.
In a third aspect of the present invention, a mattress includes a top cover formed of an anti-microbial material that is permeable to liquid, a liquid impermeable layer removably secured to the top cover, said liquid impermeable layer being disposed below the top cover so that a human user does not lay directly on the liquid impermeable layer, and a support core disposed below the liquid impermeable layer, so that the liquid impermeable layer prevents liquid moving through the top cover to the support core.
Among the various objects and features of the present invention may be noted the provision of an improved mattress with anti-microbial features.
A second feature is the provision of such a mattress that provides a substantially pristine environment conducive to obtaining a better night's sleep.
A third feature is the provision of a mattress that provides a conforming sleep surface with an improved feel.
A fourth feature is the provision of a mattress than is substantially lighter than many conventional types of mattresses.
A fifth feature is the provision of such a mattress that includes a light top support surface with improved feel in combination with an additional support below the top support surface.
Other objects and features will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.
FIG. 1 is an expanded view of a mattress of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an expanded view of a second embodiment of a mattress of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a support core of the present invention having expanded polystyrene beads;
FIG. 4 is an alternative embodiment to that of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a third embodiment of an expanded polystyrene bead support core.
Similar reference characters indicate similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Turning to the drawings, a mattress 11 of the present invention may include a removable, washable top cover 13, a support core 15, and a liquid impermeable layer 17 below the top cover. Top cover 13 is preferably secured to a second portion 19 of the cover of the mattress by means of a slide fastener or hook and pile fastener 20 or some other attachment method. Preferably the top surface material of the top cover 13 is made of an absorbent fabric such as a Lyocel, rayon, cotton blend, and or a stretch knit fabric. This portion of the top cover may be quilted using an anti-microbial fiber or a washable foam such as latex as a batting material. The bottom (lower fabric) portion of the top cover 13 can be any fabric, preferably treated to be anti-microbial or using a genetically engineered fiber that is anti-microbial.
Second portion 19 is preferably composed of an anti-microbial fabric that envelops (either alone or in combination with the top cover) the top and sides of support core 15. The support core may be formed of any desired material such as polyurethane foam, latex foam, memory foam, a fluid filled chamber, a gel layer, particulated foam, fiber, fiber with an oxygenating capability, polyethylene foam, an innerspring, and magnets. The expanded polystyrene bead support surface described below makes a particularly good support core.
The bottom layer 17 of the envelope that surrounds the support core is made of a non-porous (to liquids) material such as polyvinyl chloride. The fabric portion of this surrounding envelop is attached to the non-porous layer 17 with a slide fastener, hook and pile fastener, or other detachable mechanism. The fabric portion is preferably removable and washable. The vinyl or other non-porous layer 17 is able to be cleaned with a vinyl cleaner or a household disinfectant. This barrier of non-porous material prevents dust mites, mold, mildew, and/or other micro-organisms from penetrating deeper into the mattress. This non-porous material is also not a food source for the dust mite. It prevents the further penetration of perspiration or other fluids that could become lodged deeper into the mattress. The non-porous layer also stops body ash from sifting deeper into the mattress. This accumulated body ash on this layer is easier to clean once it has collected on the surface of the non-porous material. This second layer could be flipped if desired so that the non-porous layer is on the top and the fabric layer is on the bottom.
An optional third component 23 of the mattress of the present invention is an additional support unit consisting of an innerspring unit, fiber, visco elastic foam, polyurethane foam, latex foam, particulated foam, air chamber(s), flotation chamber(s), or any other sleep support material such as those listed above. This component does not need to be removable or washable due to the other layers that would lie between the sleeper and this support surface. The component 23 shown in FIG. 1 fits within a recess in a support core retainer 25 (which is, of course, optional). And the entire mattress 11 rests, if desired on a platform 27.
Turning to FIGS. 2, 2A, and 2B, a mattress 31 constitutes a second embodiment of the present invention. This embodiment differs from mattress 11 primarily in that the liquid impermeable layer 17 is removably secured directly to top cover 13 by any suitable fastener such as slide fastener 33 shown. Layer 17 still performs the functions described above, but it is located adjacent the top cover 13. The top cover in this embodiment thus includes two fasteners-fastener 20 to removably secure it to component 19, and fastener 33 to removably secure it to the liquid impermeable layer 17. It should be appreciated that top cover 13 preferably is removable and washable, but it need not be removable and washable. In any event, the top cover may be plain or quilted, and be filled with a batting such as an anti-microbial fiber batting or a washable foam batting.
It should also be realized that at least some of the materials constituting the mattress can, if desired, be fire resistant.
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the support core 15 includes a plurality of expanded polystyrene beads such as is shown in FIG. 3. In this embodiment, a large number of expanded polystyrene beads 41 are disposed in a cover or container 43. Optionally, as shown in FIG. 3, the beads may be separated into various sections, such as sections 15A, 15B, and 15C shown, by partition baffles 45. Optionally, the partition baffles may be provided with a plurality of holes 47 to allow some migration of beads from one section of the support core to another.
Beads 41 may be of different diameters, densities, and/or weights, and may be placed in different sections of the support core as desired. For example, low weight and density beads with a larger diameter may be placed at the foot of the support core where there is reduced weight displacement, while denser but smaller beads may be placed in the middle section 15B to accommodate the additional weight anticipated for the typical user.
Although the expanded polystyrene beads construction is particularly useful in mattress 11, it may be used with other mattresses. For example, in FIG. 4, an expanded polystyrene bead support core 51 is provided with downwardly extending side panels 53 which function to keep support core 51 positioned on a mattress 55. (Other methods of securement such as elastic bands, etc. could be used to secure the support core 51 to mattress 55. In this embodiment, support core 51 functions as a mattress topper. The cover of support core 51 (or any of the support cores described herein) can be formed of multiple layers, such as an outer stretch knit outer layer 57 and an inner woven or knit fabric layer 59 to contain the expanded polystyrene beads.
Turning to FIG. 5, a dual topper support core 61 is shown. In this embodiment, dual support cores 61A, 61B are disposed over a foam base 63. One or more belts, bands, or the like 65 may optionally be used to secure the cores 61A, 61B in place. The belts may optionally have buckles 67 or other such mechanisms to allow the belt to be fastened or unfastened. If desired, foam base 63 may be of various foams, having differing densities and/or layers as desired, with or without an edge support.
If desired, sections 61A and 61B may be secured together with any suitable fastener, including a hook and pile fastener to reduce the potential for gapping between the two sections. Similarly, a suitable fastener could be added to the bottom of these sections and the top of the foam base 63 to help keep dual support core 61 in place.
A cover (not shown) could be provided for sections 61A, 61B and foam base 63 to provide a more conventional look. Preferably such a cover would have an openable top to allow for manual access to sections 61A, 61B to allow for adjustment of the placement of the beads. Such a cover could be totally removable and washable.
It should be appreciated that the various objects and features of the present invention are achieved in the constructions as set out above. The description and drawings herein are intended to be illustrative only and not limiting. The present invention is defined not by this description, but rather by the following claims.