Title:
MULTI-PURPOSE BODY PILLOW WITH INSERT PANEL AND METHOD OF USING THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A body pillow including an elongate cushion having first and second ends. The cushion includes an arcuate first portion and an arcuate second portion, and a mid-portion extending therebetween. The cushion is configurable between a relaxed configuration and a coiled configuration. In the relaxed configuration the first portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle and the second portion extends arcuately in a second direction different than the first direction about less than a majority of a circumference of a circle. In the coiled configuration the second portion is congruent with a least some of the first portion. The body pillow may further include an interior panel joined to an inner periphery of the first portion for retaining the first portion in its arcuate position.



Inventors:
John, Lord. (Lakewood, CO, US)
Seigler, Donald (US)
Application Number:
11/941709
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
11/16/2007
Assignee:
BASIC COMFORT, INC. (Denver, CO, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/10
View Patent Images:
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20100088817SIDE GRATEApril, 2010Bock
20060085913Movable bedApril, 2006Kawakami et al.
20100011503CORNER COMPONENTS FOR A BED SHEETJanuary, 2010Hipp
20090056018SEMI-FITTED BEDSHEET AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SAMEMarch, 2009Aprile et al.



Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & HART, LLP (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A body pillow, comprising: an elongate cushion having first and second ends, said cushion including an arcuate first portion, an arcuate second portion, and a mid-portion extending therebetween, said cushion configurable between: a. a relaxed configuration wherein said first portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle, and said second portion extends arcuately in a second direction different than the first direction about less than a majority of a circumference of a circle; and b. a coiled configuration wherein said second portion is congruent with at least some of said first portion.

2. A body pillow according to claim 1 further comprising an interior panel joined to an inner periphery of said first portion, said interior panel for retaining the first portion in its arcuate position.

3. A body pillow according to claim 2 wherein said interior panel has a teardrop shape and is releasably fastened to said first portion.

4. A body pillow according to claim 3 including a zipper for releasably fastening said interior panel to said first portion.

5. A body pillow according to claim 4 including a cover flange attached to said inner periphery for covering said zipper.

6. A body pillow according to claim 1 wherein said cushion includes a filler material selected from the group consisting of feathers, fibrous material, foam, and beads.

7. A body pillow according to claim 6 wherein said cushion has a roundish cross-section.

8. A body pillow according to claim 1 including a casing enclosing said elongate cushion.

9. A body pillow according to claim 8 wherein said casing is a removable fabric.

10. A body pillow, comprising: a. an elongate cushion having first and second ends, said cushion including an arcuate upper portion, a lower portion, and a mid-portion extending therebetween, said cushion constructed to assume a relaxed configuration wherein said upper portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle, said lower portion extends arcuately in a second direction different than the first direction about less than a majority of a circumference of a circle, and said mid-portion extends linearly therebetween, whereupon said body pillow can support an adult in a reposed position; and b. an interior panel joined to an inner periphery of said upper portion, said interior panel for retaining said upper portion in its arcuate position.

11. A body pillow according to claim 10 further comprising a casing enclosing said elongate cushion.

12. A body pillow according to claim 10 wherein said interior panel has a teardrop shape and is releasably fastened to said upper portion.

13. A body pillow according to claim 12 including a zipper for releasably fastening said interior panel to said upper portion.

14. A body pillow according to claim 12 including cooperative hook and loop fastener materials for releasably fastening said interior panel to said upper portion.

15. A body pillow, comprising: a. an elongate cushion having first and second ends, said cushion including an arcuate upper portion, a lower portion, and a mid-portion extending therebetween, said cushion configurable into a coiled configuration wherein said lower portion is congruent with at least some of said upper portion; and b. an interior panel joined to an inner periphery of said upper portion for retaining the upper portion in its arcuate position.

16. A body pillow according to claim 15 further comprising a casing enclosing said elongate cushion.

17. A body pillow according to claim 16 including a zipper for releasably fastening said interior panel to said upper portion.

18. A body pillow according to claim 17 including a cover flange attached to said inner periphery for covering said zipper.

19. A method for supporting a person in a reposed position comprising: providing a body pillow with an elongate cushion having arcuate first and second end portions, and a mid-portion extending therebetween; placing said body pillow on a support surface; configuring said body pillow such that said first portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle; and placing the person so that their head and abdomen are supported by the first end portion and the person's back is in close confronting relation to said mid-portion.

20. The method according to claim 19 including retaining the first portion in its arcuate configuration.

21. The method according to claim 20 including placing the person so that their legs straddle said second portion.

22. The method according to claim 20 including subsequently reconfiguring the body pillow into a coiled configuration by positioning said second portion congruently with said first portion.

23. The method according to claim 22 wherein the body pillow is positioned into a coiled configuration by overlapping said first portion with said second portion.

24. The method according to claim 22 wherein the body pillow is positioned into a coiled configuration by encircling said first portion with said second portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Sooner or later it seems that everyone has some difficulty in sleeping. Sleep loss has enormous impact on individuals and society. Sleep loss impacts work productivity and learning ability. Sleep deprivation is a dangerous ingredient when mixed with driving, operating machinery, or making critical decisions, often resulting in accidents and injury. Sleep loss is also related to health problems, both physical and mental.

Difficulty in sleeping may be caused by consuming too much caffeine, sleep apnea, ambient noise, or from just general worrying. It seems, however, that the most common complaint regarding difficulty in sleeping is the inability to get comfortable. There are many reasons why someone might have difficulty getting comfortable enough to sleep. Some examples of discomfort are related to external environmental factors associated with a particular situation, such as sitting upright in an airplane seat, sleeping on hard lumpy ground when camping, or being too hot or too cold. Other examples of discomfort affecting sleep are related to the physical condition of the person trying to sleep. Some examples of physical conditions affecting sleep are a painful injury, a persistent back problem, breathing disorders, and of particular interest here—pregnancy.

There have been many attempts to alleviate the discomfort associated with these situations and conditions. For instance, in the case of sleeping in an airplane seat, horseshoe shaped pillows that wrap around the traveler's neck to support the head have been suggested. Also, a multitude of different types of mattresses are made from space foams, air bladders, and water bladders that have been touted as having miraculous abilities to ease back pain and cause a person to fall asleep. Others simply improvise by using multiple pillows in various arrangements to support the body in a manner that alleviates their particular discomfort.

In the particular case of pregnant women, they obviously have the issue of supporting their back and abdominal area. A woman's body has unusual forces and stresses placed on it as a result of the weight of the child. These forces can make it difficult to find a comfortable position for sleeping. This is especially true in later term when the child is larger and the woman is correspondingly enlarged such that many sleeping positions, such as on her stomach or back, are no longer an option. In fact some experts recommend specifically that an expectant mother sleep on her left side during late term pregnancy.

Some attempts have been made to provide a remedy for the particular discomfort associated with pregnancy that makes falling and staying asleep difficult. An example of such an attempt is U.S. Pat. No. 6,499,164 to Leach. Leach suggests a support pillow having a horseshoe shaped top and a j-shaped bottom connected together by a straight section, whereby the horseshoe shaped top includes a foot that is spaced, from and parallel, to the straight portion. An adult female lying on her side can rest her head on the horseshoe shaped portion and the j-shaped portion of the support pillow may be received between the legs. Because the foot is spaced from and parallel to the straight portion the resulting curved opening naturally does not provide any support for a pregnant woman's abdomen.

Accordingly, there remains a need to provide a new and improved support cushion that provides not only a comfortable pillow but also provides support for the pregnant woman's back and more importantly her abdomen. Furthermore, because a pregnancy generally only lasts nine months a multi-purpose body pillow is desirable that has other uses after pregnancy. For instance, the body pillow could be used to support the baby itself either in a sleeping position or, as it grows, in an upright sitting position.

SUMMARY

Provided is a body pillow including an elongate cushion having first and second ends. The cushion includes an arcuate first portion, an arcuate second portion, and a mid-portion extending therebetween. The cushion is configurable between a relaxed configuration and a coiled configuration. In the relaxed configuration the first portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle and the second portion extends arcuately in a second direction different than the first direction about less than a majority of a circumference of a circle. In the coiled configuration the second portion is congruent with a least some of the first portion. This may be done by overlapping the first portion with the second portion or by encircling the first portion with the second portion.

The body pillow may further include an interior panel joined to an inner periphery of the first portion for retaining the first portion in its arcuate position. The interior panel may be teardrop in shape and be releasably fastened to the first portion. The interior panel may be releasably fastened to the inner periphery with, for example, a zipper or cooperative hook and loop fastener materials.

The cushion may include a filler material such as feathers, fibrous materials, foam, and beads, to name just a few. The cushion could be roundish in cross-section and enclosed by a removable casing formed of fabric or the like. Preferably, also, the body pillow includes a cover flange attached to the casing along the first portion's inner periphery for covering the zipper.

Also provided is an embodiment of a body pillow wherein the cushion is constructed to assume the relaxed configuration wherein the upper portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of the circumference of a circle and the lower portion extends arcuately in a second direction different than the first direction about less than a majority of a circumference of a circle. The mid-portion extends linearly between the upper and lower portions. In yet another embodiment a body pillow is provided wherein the cushion is configurable into a coiled configuration wherein the lower portion is congruent with a least some of the upper portion.

Also provided is a method for supporting a person in a reposed position including providing a body pillow with an elongate cushion having arcuate first and second end portions, and a mid-portion extending therebetween. The method also includes placing the body pillow on a support surface and configuring the body pillow such that the first portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle. The method also includes placing the person, for example an expectant mother, so that her head and abdomen are supported by the first end portion and her back is in close confronting relation to the mid-portion. The method may also include retaining the first portion in its arcuate configuration. The person may also be placed so that her legs straddle the second portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pregnant female sleeping in and supported by an exemplary embodiment of a body pillow;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the body pillow in a spiral or coiled configuration operative to support an infant in a reposed position;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the body pillow in a coiled configuration whereby the cushion supports an infant or child in a sitting upright position;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the body pillow as configured to support a sleeping adult;

FIG. 5 illustrates a plan view of an embodiment of the body pillow that includes a removable insert panel;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the body pillow taken about lines 6-6 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the body pillow shown in FIGS. 5 and 6;

FIG. 8 is a detailed view of the insert panel from FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a partial view of the cushion casing illustrating the overlapping panels and the insertion of the insert panel;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged cross-section of the body pillow illustrating the construction and attachment of the zippered insert panel; and

FIG. 11 is an enlarged cross-section of the support cushion similar to FIG. 10 where the insert panel is attached with cooperative hook and loop materials.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a support cushion or body pillow 20 being employed by a pregnant female 10 where her head 12, abdomen 14, and back 18 are all supported by body pillow 20. In addition, her hips 16 are kept in a comfortable position by supporting her leg 17. While a pregnant woman is used as an example because of the common discomfort associated with pregnancy, it is an example only and should not be construed as limiting. There may be other conditions such as chronic back pain where one might benefit from the support provided by the body pillow as described herein.

FIG. 2 illustrates a second embodiment of a body pillow 120 including a removable interior panel 140. FIG. 2 also illustrates the body pillow in a spiral or coiled configuration. In this configuration, with the interior panel installed, a child 15 may be placed in the middle of the spiral on top of the interior panel 140 either for sleeping or for playing. FIG. 3 illustrates the body pillow 120 arranged in a coiled configuration with the interior panel 140 removed. In this optional configuration the child 15 is supported in an upright sitting position.

With reference to FIG. 4 it can be seen that the body pillow 20 is comprised of an arcuate first portion 22 and an arcuate second portion 26 with a mid-portion 23 extending therebetween. In its relaxed or preformed state the first portion 22 extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle C1, and the second portion 26 extends arcuately in a second direction different than the first direction about less than a majority of a circumference of a circle C2. The first portion 22 may have an outer diameter 28, which is approximately 25 to 27 inches, and an inner diameter 29, which is approximately 9 to 11 inches. The inner diameter 29 defines an interior area 30. As can be appreciated in FIG. 4, the end 24 of the first portion 22 extends along phantom line “d” in a direction generally perpendicular to that of the mid-portion 23 which extends along phantom line “L”. By terminating the first portion 22 perpendicular to the mid-portion 23, support is provided for the user's abdomen (FIG. 1).

The second portion 26 is sized such that opening 27 is approximately 9 to 11 inches wide. Second portion 26 may be curved with an inner radius 25 matching the dimension of outer diameter 28 of the first portion 22. Constructing the body pillow with these or similar dimensions facilitates the spiral and coiled configurations shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. It should be understood that the above dimensions are merely representative and that various dimensions and relationships thereof could be selected.

With reference again to FIG. 1 it can be seen that the woman's head 12 is supported by the first portion 22 and the woman's abdomen 14 is supported by the end 24 of first portion 22. The woman's leg 17 is supported by second portion 26 thereby keeping her hips 16 in a comfortable position. This is accomplished by placing her legs 17 so that they straddle the second portion 26. The woman's back 18 is supported by mid-portion 23.

With reference to FIG. 4, it is noted that the body pillow may be displaced from the relaxed or preformed state into various configurations. For example, the body pillow may be configured into the coiled configuration such as shown in FIG. 2 by wrapping the inner diameter 25 of second portion 26 adjacent to outer diameter 28 of the first portion 22. Alternatively, the coiled configuration of FIG. 3 can be created by overlapping first portion 22 with second portion 26.

FIG. 5 illustrates in more detail the alternative embodiment, as introduced in FIGS. 2 and 3, which includes the interior panel 140. This embodiment 120 is similar to the embodiment 20 of FIG. 4 in that it includes a first portion 122, a second portion 126, and a mid-portion 123. The first portion 122 has an outer diameter 128 and an inner diameter 129. Inner diameter 129 defines the perimeter of the interior panel 140. The interior panel 140 may be attached by various means such as with a zipper, buttons, snaps or cooperative hook and loop material as will be discussed more fully below. Also illustrated in FIG. 5 is cover flange 132 that covers the rough side of the zipper, which is used to hold the interior panel in place.

With reference to FIG. 8, interior panel 140 is configured to correspond to the shape of inner diameter 129. Interior panel 140 is comprised of a main panel portion 142 and tail portion 144 forming a teardrop shape. The entire perimeter of panel 140 is bordered with a first zipper side 170. Tail portion 144 of interior panel 140 is configured to fill the area created where first portion 22 terminates perpendicular to the mid-portion 23.

As can be seen in FIG. 6, body pillow 120 is comprised of an outer pillow casing 150 and an inner pillow insert 160. The diameter of pillow casing 150 as shown in the cross section of FIG. 6 is approximately 7 to 9 inches. Pillowcase 150 is comprised of top panel 152 and bottom panels 154, corresponding to the first portion, and bottom panel 156, corresponding to the second and mid portions. Referring to FIG. 7, panel 154 overlaps panel 156 on second portion 126 creating overlap section 157. Overlap section 157 provides an opening for inserting pillow insert 160. Pillow insert 160 may be an elongate pillow insert made of down filling, foam, beads, or fibrous material such as polyester, cotton, and the like. Outer pillowcase 150 may be made out of cotton, synthetics, blends of the same, or any soft material. FIG. 9 shows in more detail the operation of the overlaps of panels 154 and 156 providing for the insertion of pillow insert 160. Pillowcase 150 is in an upside-down configuration where the cover is slightly folded exposing opening 165, which is normally obscured by the overlap section 157 when the cover is in a normally straight position. Preferably the edge of panel 154 is strengthened by adding piping 158 to prevent tearing.

FIG. 10 shows in greater detail the construction and attachment of interior panel 140. In this embodiment, interior panel 140 is attached with a zipper 175 comprised of a first side 170 and a second side 171. As is typical of a zipper, there is a rough side and a relatively smooth side. Cover flange 132 is located on the rough side of the zipper 175 to prevent any discomfort to the user caused by the zipper. Preferably, cover flange 132 is constructed of the same material as is the pillowcase 150 and the outer part of the insert panel 140. Insert panel 140 is constructed of two layers of material 146 and 148 with synthetic fiber fill 200 or the like disposed therebetween. Sewn between the two panels 146 and 148 is the first zipper side 170. As can be seen in detail in FIG. 10 the attachment of the mating side of the zipper 171 is sewn in between panels 152 and 154 of the pillowcase 150 along with cover flange 132. Panels 152, 154, and 156 along with cover flange 132 and zipper 170 are all sewn together with methods of attaching and/or sewing panels and zippers together which are generally well known in the art. The second zipper side 171 is sewn into the inner diameter 129 of the first portion 122 thereby matching the shape and diameter of the interior panel 140 and operative to mate with the first zipper side 170. Also shown in FIG. 10 is the construction of pillow insert 160, which is comprised of an outer casing 162, filled with suitable fill material as described above or as shown here, synthetic fiber fill 200.

FIG. 11 is a further embodiment of the interior panel where the zipper is replaced with cooperative hook 180 and loop 185 fastener materials in order to fasten the interior panel 140 to the comfort flange 132.

With the above construction in mind, also contemplated is a method for supporting a person in a reposed position. This method may include any of the steps inherent in any of the disclosed embodiments. Broadly the method may include the step of providing a body pillow with an elongate cushion having arcuate first and second end portions, and a mid-portion extending therebetween. The body pillow is placed on a support surface and configured such that the first portion extends arcuately in a first direction about a majority of a circumference of a circle. The person is placed so that his/her head and abdomen are supported by the first end portion and the person's back is in close confronting relation to the mid-portion. This method may further include retaining the first portion in its arcuate configuration. This method may further include placing the person so that his/her legs straddle the second portion. Subsequently the body pillow may be configured into a coiled configuration by positioning the second portion congruently with the first portion.

Accordingly, the present invention has been described with some degree of particularity directed to the exemplary embodiments of the body pillow. It should be appreciated though that the present invention is defined by the following claims construed in light of the prior art such that modifications or changes may be made to the exemplary embodiments without departing from the inventive concepts contained herein.