Title:
Bed
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bed is provided which orients a user in a multi-angled, prone position. The bed supports a downward positioning of a user's face to maintain an open airway to reduce or eliminate sleeping problems associated with gravity aggravated apnea. By positioning the user's head downward, gravity operates to maintain the user's airway open as opposed to forcing it closed. The bed is provided with a moisture absorbent covering which may be changed and laundered as desired.



Inventors:
Wood, Tom (Waycross, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/228604
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
08/14/2008
Assignee:
RemGenic LLC
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/652, 128/898
International Classes:
A47C16/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILSON, BRITTANY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRETT J. TROUT, PC (DES MOINES, IA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bed comprising: (a) a face support defining an airway; (b) a body support; (c) a leg support positioned below said face support and said body support; and (d) an arm support positioned below said face support.

2. The bed of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of said arm support is positioned forward of said head support and wherein said leg support is positioned rearward of said head support.

3. The bed of claim 2, further comprising a frame coupled to said body support and said leg support.

4. The bed of claim 3, wherein said face support is adjustable relative to said body support.

5. The bed of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of said arm support is positioned forward of said head support and wherein said leg support is positioned rearward of said head support.

6. The bed of claim 5, further comprising a thigh support located between said body support and said leg support.

7. The bed of claim 6, wherein said support is angled more than one hundred eighty degrees and less than two hundred seventy degrees relative to said body support.

8. The bed of claim 7, wherein said body support is angled more than ninety degrees and less than one hundred eighty degrees relative to said thigh support.

9. The bed of claim 8, wherein said thigh support is angled more one hundred eighty degrees and less than two hundred seventy degrees relative to said leg support.

10. The bed of claim 9, wherein said face support is adjustable relative to said body support.

11. The bed of claim 9, further comprising a moisture absorbent material positioned over said thigh support and said leg support.

12. The bed of claim 6, wherein said face support is adjustable relative to said body support.

13. The bed of claim 1, wherein said arm support is vertically adjustable relative to said head support.

14. The bed of claim 12, wherein said arm support is horizontally adjustable relative to said head support.

15. A bed comprising: (a) a head support defining an airway; (b) a body support coupled to said head support at an angle more than one hundred eighty degrees and less than two hundred seventy; (c) a thigh support coupled to said chest support at an angle more than one hundred eighty degrees and less than two hundred seventy degrees; and (d) a leg support coupled to said thigh support at an angle more than ninety degrees and less than one hundred eighty degrees.

16. The bed of claim 15, further comprising a moisture absorbent material positioned over said body.

17. The bed of claim 16, further comprising an arm support provided below said head support.

18. The bed of claim 16, wherein at least a portion of said arm support is positioned forward of said head support, wherein at least a portion of said body support is positioned rearward of said head support, and further comprising means for adjusting an angle of said face support relative to said chest support.

19. A method for treating a medical sleep disorder: (a) diagnosing a user with a medical sleep disorder; (b) providing a bed comprising: (i) a face support defining an airway; (ii) a body support; (iii) a leg support positioned below said face support and said body support; and (iv) an arm support positioned below said face support; (c) adjusting an angle of said face support relative to said body support to a first position; (d) positioning said user face down on said bed; (e) monitoring the medical sleep disorder of said user on said bed in said first position during a first sleep cycle; (f) adjusting an angle of said face support relative to said body support to a second position; (g) monitoring the medical sleep disorder of said user on said bed in said second position during a second sleep cycle; and (h) adjusting an angle of said face support relative to said body support in response to said monitoring to reduce an impact of the medical condition on said user.

20. The method for treating a medical sleep disorder of claim 19, wherein said bed further comprises a thigh support coupled to, and angled relative to, said body support, and a leg support coupled to, and angled relative to, said thigh support.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates in general to a bed and, more particularly, to a bed which allows a user to be inverted during sleep to reduce airway restrictions and increase sleep quality.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Beds are well known in the art. It is also well known in the art to provide beds with air-filled mattresses, water-filled mattresses, or resilient foam or springs to increase comfort. One drawback associated with prior art beds is the tendency of users to experience obstructive sleep apnea (cessation of breathing) during sleep. Although sleep apnea can arise from many circumstances, one type of sleep apnea, namely obstructive sleep apnea, typically occurs when the soft tissue collapses and blocks the airway during sleep. This causes the user to temporarily stop breathing, until the user awakes or otherwise begins breathing. This cycle can continue dozens of times during the night, preventing the user from attaining the deepest and most regenerative stages of sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs more frequently when sleeping on one's back. While it is known for a person to attempt to sleep on their side to reduce obstructive sleep apnea, this is not a complete solution as obstructive sleep apnea can occur when the user is on their side. Furthermore, even if a sleeper starts out on their side, they may tend to roll onto their back during the night. While it known to sleep on one's stomach in an attempt to reduce obstructive sleep apnea, this is an uncomfortable sleeping position for many, causing the sleeper to roll onto their side or back during the night. Sleeping on one's stomach may also lead to pain of the back or neck, due to the unnatural orientation of the spine, shoulders and head during face down sleeping.

Massage tables which position a user in a semi-prone position are also known in the art. Such tables, however, are typically not adjustable by the user during use. Furthermore, such tables are typically too flat to allow for a comfortable sleeping position. Such tables are also used by multiple people, necessitating the use of water repellant surfaces. While water repellant surfaces are acceptable for short term use, water repellant surfaces are uncomfortable for long term use associated with nighttime sleep. Massage tables have the additional drawback of placing a user's arms in an uncomfortable position and not allowing supported movement of the user's arms.

It would, therefore, be desirable to provide a bed which would allow the user to be supported in a face-down position, in a manner which allows unrestricted anatomical airway airflow, and which does not put undue pressure on the user's spine or neck. It would also be desirable to provide a bed which would absorb moisture and which would allow for user adjustment and movement during use. The difficulties in the prior art discussed hereinabove are substantially eliminated by the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In an advantage provided by this invention, a bed is provided which supports a user in a substantially face-down position.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bed which prevents airway resistance and increases airflow to a user when the user's head is in a face down position.

Advantageously, this invention facilitates movement of the diaphragm during respiration.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bed which provides for supported movement of a user's limbs during use.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bed which provides a moisture absorptive surface.

Advantageously, in a preferred embodiment of this invention, a bed is provided which supports a user in an angled, face-down orientation. The bed is provided with a moisture absorptive surface. Preferably the bed is provided with head, chest, thigh and shin supports.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a top perspective view of the improved bed of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a side elevation of the improved bed of FIG. 1, shown with a user sleeping on the bed;

FIG. 3 illustrates a top perspective view in partial cutaway of the head and arm support system of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 illustrates a bottom perspective view of the improved bed of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

An improved bed system according to this invention is shown generally as (10) in FIG. 1. The bed system (10) includes a lower frame (12) and a main vertical support (14). (FIG. 2). The frame (12) and support (14) may be constructed of aluminum, steel or any desired material. The frame (12) and support (14) may be tubular, triangular or of any suitable construction or configuration known in the art. In the preferred embodiment, the frame (12) and support (14) are constructed of tubular steel and are welded to one another.

As shown in FIG. 2, the vertical support (14) is coupled to a bed (16). The bed (16) includes a head support system (18) hinged to a body support (20). The body support (20) is hinged to a thigh support (22) which, in turn, is hinged to a leg support (24).

Arm supports (26) and (28) are hinged to wings (30) and (32) which are hinged to a collar (34). The collar (34) is slidably coupled to the vertical support (14) and held in place by a steel pin (36) passing through holes (38) in the vertical support (14). (FIGS. 1 and 2).

As shown in FIG. 2, the thigh support (22) is hinged to a first linearly actuated telescopic leg (40) and a second linearly actuated telescopic leg (42). The telescopic legs (40) and (42) are also hinged to the frame (12). The telescopic legs (40) and (42) may be of any type known in the art but are of sufficient durability to support the bed (16) and a user (44). The telescopic legs (40) and (42) may be manually mechanically operated, electronically operated, or operated hydraulically, pneumatically or by any means known in the art. Preferably, the telescopic legs (40) and (42) are each provided with electric motors (46) and (48) which, in turn, are electrically coupled to a master converter (50). The master converter (50) converts alternating current from a wall outlet (52) to direct current for use by the electric motors (46) and (48) to extend the telescopic legs (40) and (42) by screws, rack and pinion, or any other method of linear actuation known in the art. An electric motor (54) is also coupled to a screw (56) in mating engagement with the collar (34) coupled to the wings (30) and (32) to raise and lower the arm supports (26) and (28).

As shown in FIGS. 2-3, the head support system (18) includes a steel sleeve (58) welded to the bottom of the body support (16) and to the vertical support (14). Slidably received within the steel sleeve (58) is an extensible neck (60). The extensible neck (60) is coupled to an electric motor (62) by a screw, rack and pinion or other system known in the art to extend and retract the extensible neck (60) relative to the steel sleeve (58). A collar (64) is secured to the end of the extensible neck (60) and is provided with a hole (66) through which passes a steel post (68). The post (68) is retained in place by a manually operable set screw (70) received in the collar (64). Pivotably coupled to the top of the post (68) is a steel support finger (72), pivotably coupled on its opposite end to a face support (74). The support finger (72) is adjustable using a manually operable set screw (76).

Another manually operable set screw (78) allows for the adjustment and locking of the face support (74) relative to the support finger (72). While the face support (74) may be of any desired design, preferably the face support (74) includes a forehead support (80) and cheek supports (82) and (84). The face support (74) is provided with a recess or opening (140) to receive a user's eyes (86), nose (88) and mouth (90).

As shown in the figures, the face support (74) is positioned below the body support (16) and angled downward relatively thereto. The head support system (18) is preferably designed to be adjusted and fixed at angles more than one hundred eighty and less than two hundred seventy degrees relative to the body support (16) as shown in the drawings. Similarly, the telescopic legs (40) and (42) may be extended and retracted as desired to change the angles between the body support (16), thigh support (22) and leg support (24).

While the telescopic legs (40) and (42) may be extended to make the body support (16), thigh support (22) and leg support (24) parallel to one another, the telescopic legs (40) and (42) are preferably adjusted to position the thigh support (22) at least one hundred eighty degrees and less than two hundred seventy degrees relative to the body support (16), more than ninety degrees and less than one hundred eighty degrees relative to the leg support (24), or whatever positioning is most preferable for the user (44). The leg support (24) is located rearward of and below the body support (16) to facilitate blood flow.

As shown in FIG. 3, the arm supports (26) and (28) are positioned at least ten centimeters below and at least partially forward of the body support (16). The arm supports (26) and (28) may be locked in place with set screws or may be allowed to rotate relative to the wings (30) and (32). The wings (30) and (32) may also be locked in place by set screws, or may be allowed to pivot relative to the collar (34) to allow the user (44) to adjust his/her supported arms (92) and (94) during sleep. The arm supports (26) and (28) may be moved from a plane even with the body support (16) to a point seventy centimeters or more below the body support (16) by actuating the electric motor (54) and screws (56).

While the supports (16), (22), (24) and (74) may be constructed of any suitable material known in the art, the supports (16), (22), (24) and (74) are preferably constructed of resilient foam pieces provided over steel plates (104), (106), (108) and (110). The supports (16), (22), (24) and (74) may, of course, may be constructed of air-filled or water-filled bladders, or of a “memory” or conforming foam, such as those known in the art. Alternatively, the supports (16), (22), (24) and (74) may be constructed of fabric covered springs, similar to standard spring mattresses secured to the plate. The supports (16), (22), (24) and (74) are provided with bolsters (112), (114), (116) and (118) to prevent the user from rolling off the bed (16).

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the face support (74), the body support (16), thigh support (22) and leg support (24) are preferably all covered with moisture absorbent cover material, such as woven cotton sheet (120), (122), (124) or (126) or the like. While the material (120), (122), (124) or (126) may be constructed of a non-moisture absorbing material itself, the material (120), (122), (124) or (126) is configured to facilitate the movement of moisture away from the user (44). (FIGS. 1, 2 and 3). The material (120), (122), (124) or (126) may be moisture permeable to allow moisture, such as sweat, to pass through the material (120), (122), (124) or (126) and “wick” moisture away from the user (44). The material (120), (122), (124) or (126) is preferably provided in a shape conforming to the associated body supports (16), (22), (24) and (74). For example, the face support (74) is covered with sheet (126) in the shape of the face support (74). The sheet (126) is preferably resiliently gathered on the underside of the face support (74) in the manner used in the prior art for retaining fitted sheets and the like. This configuration moves moisture away from the user (44) and resiliently retains the sheet (126) on the face support (74), while allowing the sheet (126) to be quickly and easily removed for cleaning.

Similarly, the chest support (112) is provided with a sheet (120), the thigh support (22) is provided with a sheet (122), and the leg support (24) is provided with a sheet (124). The sheets (120), (122), (124) and (126) protect the body supports (16), (22), (24) and (74) from sweat and oil. Armrest sheets (130) and (132) are provided around the armrests (26) and (28). Alternatively, a single sheet (not shown) may be provided over all of the supports (16), (22), (24), (74), (26) and (28).

When it is desired to utilize the bed system (10) of the present invention, once a user (44) is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, the sheets (120), (122), (124), (126), (130) and (132) are provided over the associated supports (16), (22), (24), (74), (26) and (28) of the bed system (10), and the user (44) adjusts the head support system (18) so that the user's face (134) rests with the user's forehead (136) on the forehead support (80), the cheeks (138) rest on the check rests (82) and (84), and the eyes (86), nose (88) and mouth (90) through the opening (140) of the face support (24). The opening (140) is preferably sized to allow the user's jaw (142) to hang freely, to further reduce any potential airway restriction and to facilitate more restful sleep. At this point, the user's chest (144) is resting on the body support (16). In a similar manner, the user's thighs (146) are positioned on the thigh support (22) and the user's shins (148) are positioned on the leg support (24). As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the user's arms (92) and (94) extend downward from the tapered top (150) of the body support (18). The body support (18) and other supports (22), (24), (74), (26) and (28) may be contoured and indented as desired. For example, the body support (20) may be provided with indentions to accommodate a female user.

The user (44) adjusts the arm supports (26) and (28) to the desired height using the motor (54) and screw (56). The user (44) adjusts the thigh supports (24) and (26) relative to the body support (20) and to one another using the motors (46) and (48) to adjust the desired heights of the telescopic legs (40) and (42).

The user then adjusts the head support system (18) as desired and rests on the bed system (10) as shown in FIG. 2. The user's sleep is assessed and adjustments are made to angles of the supports (20), (22), (24), (74), (26) and (28) to further facilitate more restful sleep. Adjustments are made based upon assessments of the user's feedback and length of period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The user (44) again sleeps on the bed system (10) and the user's sleep is again monitored. The process continues until a satisfactory orientation of the bed system (10) for a particular user (44) and optimum REM sleep is achieved. Preferably, the resulting orientation simulates the orientation the user (44) would have sleeping in zero gravity. This orientation increases circulation, reduces stress, reduces pressure points during sleep and uses gravity to pull the user's neck muscles away from the user's airway.

When the user (44) has finished sleeping, the sheets (120), (122), (124), (126), (130) and (132) may be removed, laundered and replaced as desired. Not only is the bed system (10) designed to limit the collapse of the soft tissue in the user's throat. The bed system (10) also angles the user's lower abdomen downward to make it easier for the user's abdominal muscles to pull down the diaphragm and expand the user's chest cavity for the inspiratory cycle. By reducing airway obstruction and restriction, the bed system (10) may be utilized to treat obstructive sleep apnea and facilitate sleep cycles. Other benefits include a reduction in snoring and an increase in the amount of REM sleep.

If desired, as shown in FIG. 2, the master converter (50) may be coupled to a central processing unit (152) and a plurality of “preset” buttons (154), (156) and (158) which allow the user (44) to save a particularly desirable orientation of the bed system (10) by holding down a preset button (154) for a period of time. The user (44) can then preset other orientations using the remaining buttons for resting, sleeping and or for another user.

In the even the bed system (10) is not placed on a level surface, or if it is desired to tilt the bed system (10), the user (44) may adjust any of the screw type leveler feet (160), (162), (164) and (166) secured to the frame (12). (FIG. 4).

The foregoing description and drawings merely explain and illustrate the invention, and the invention is not limited thereto except insofar as the claims are so limited, as those skilled in the art, who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications and variations therein without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the bed system (10) may be shortened or elongated and may be utilized with user's without sleep disorders.