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1. (WO2018085887) SLEEPING ACCESSORY
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SLEEPING ACCESSORY

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a sleeping accessory.

Background of the Invention

Keeping a person's spine in alignment while sleeping on their side is an often-stated requirement for reducing back pain, and is often touted in advertisements for mattresses.

However, during sleep a person may roll over several times, and may not remain still and in one position in their sleep. When a person moves their legs out of alignment with each other, for example with one leg aligned more ventrally than the other, then the person's spine will become slightly twisted, which may also be a factor in causing back pain. An illustration of such a twisted alignment is shown in Figure 1 . In one or more aspects, the present invention seeks to lessen these problems by providing a device which reduces the tendency for spinal twisting.

It will be clearly understood that, if a prior art publication is referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms part of the common general knowledge in the art in Australia or in any other country.

Summary

In one aspect, there is provided a sleeping accessory for holding a person's legs in alignment with each other, the sleeping accessory comprising: a body defining a pair of holding formations, each holding formation being configured for receiving at least a portion of the leg of a user in operation and for holding the legs of the user parallel to each other in operation when the user is sleeping on their side; wherein each of the holding formations defines a recess having a depth that is at least one-third or more of the width of the recess.

In one embodiment, the depth of the recess is at least one-half of the width of the recess. In one embodiment, each of the holding formations defines at least a portion of a concave semicircular curved surface when viewed in cross section on a plane transverse to the longitudinal axis of the user's leg.

In one embodiment, the body defines a front end configured to extend ventrally of the user's legs in operation and a back end configured to extend dorsally of the

user's legs in operation, and wherein the width, extending along a sagittal plane and a coronal plane, of the back end is smaller than the width of the front end.

In one embodiment, the body generally defines a wedge portion. In one embodiment, the body at least partially defines a pair of tapered surfaces that together define a wedge portion when viewed from above in operation. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory comprises at least one securing arrangement configured for securing the legs of a user relative to each other when received in the pair of holding formations. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory further comprises a pair of securing arrangements, one securing arrangement being provided for each of the holding formations. In one embodiment, each recess defines a mouth aligned in an opposed direction from each other. In one embodiment, the body is at least partially composed of a resilient material. In one embodiment, the body is at least partially composed of a flexible material.

In one embodiment, the body comprises an inner portion and a cover. In one embodiment, the cover is composed of a textile material. In one embodiment, the body defines a pair of recesses as holding formations. In one embodiment, each of the said one selected from a recess and an aperture defines a curved surface. In one embodiment, the curved surface defines a main radius for receiving at least portion of a user's leg in operation.

In one embodiment, the curved surface defines a secondary radius configured for cupping the patella of a user in operation. In one embodiment, the main radius is larger than the secondary radius In one embodiment, the body defines a separating portion for extending between and separating a user's legs in operation.

In one embodiment, the separating portion is dimensioned to engage with a user's legs to hold them apart from each other to facilitate ventilation. In one embodiment, the securing arrangement comprises strapping. In one embodiment, the strapping is elasticated. In one embodiment, the cover comprises a fastener arrangement for allowing the cover to be removed from the inner portion. In one embodiment, the body comprises a frame. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory is symmetrical about a central axis of symmetry. In one embodiment, the curved surface defines at least part of a frustoconical three-dimensional surface. In one embodiment, the curved surface defines at least part of a cylindrical three-dimensional surface. In one embodiment, the depth of the recess defined by the

curved surface is equal to or more than one-third of the width of the recess. In one embodiment, the depth of the recess defined by the curved surface is equal to or more than one-half of the width of the recess.

In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory includes a monitoring arrangement configured for monitoring aspects of the user in operation. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory includes a feedback arrangement configured for providing feedback to the user in operation. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory further comprises digital storage media. In one embodiment, the monitoring arrangement includes a controller configured for receiving signals from sensors. In one

embodiment, the digital storage media includes instructions configured for instructing the controller. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory further includes a clock arrangement configured for providing current time to the controller. In one

embodiment, the monitoring arrangement includes at least one or more sensors.

In one embodiment, the sensors include at least one or more selected from an accelerometer; a thermometer; and a pressure sensor.

In one embodiment, the feedback arrangement includes one or more selected from a vibrating device and a thermal device. In one embodiment, the thermal device is a thermoelectric device.

In one embodiment, the instructions are configured for instructing the controller to store signals received from the at least one or more sensors. In one embodiment, the instructions are configured for instructing the controller to store signals received from the at least one or more sensors in association with the time that they are received. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory comprises a transmitter for transmitting signals to a remote terminal. In one embodiment, the instructions are configured for instructing the controller to transmit signals received from the sensors to a remote terminal. In one embodiment, the transmitter is a wireless transmitter. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory comprises a receiver configured for receiving signals from a remote terminal. In one embodiment, the receiver is a wireless receiver. In one embodiment, the sleeping accessory further comprises a manual input arrangement configured for receiving input from a user.

In another aspect, there is provided a method for aligning a user's spine when they are lying on their side, the method comprising the steps of: providing a sleeping accessory comprising a body defining a pair of holding formations, each holding

formation being configured for receiving at least a portion of the leg of a user in operation and for holding the legs of the user parallel to each other in operation when the user is sleeping on their side; wherein each of the holding formations defines at least a substantially curved surface defining a concave substantially semicircular shape when viewed in cross section on a plane transverse to the longitudinal axis of the user's leg; and engaging the sleeping accessory between a user's legs to thereby prevent the user's legs from moving out of alignment with each other during sleep by the user.

In one embodiment, the method further comprises the step of securing the sleeping accessory between a user's legs using a securing arrangement.

In another aspect, there is provided a removable cover for an inner portion of a sleeping accessory defining a pair of holding formations, each holding formation being configured for receiving a leg of a user to thereby hold the legs of the user alongside each other during sleep, the removable cover comprising: a textile lining configured for covering a body portion, the body portion defining a pair of holding formations, each holding formation defining a substantially concave semicircular curved surface for receiving a leg of a user and for holding at least a portion of the legs of the user parallel to each other in operation when the user is sleeping on their side; and a fastener arrangement for allowing the removal of the textile lining from engagement with the inner portion.

In one embodiment, the fastener arrangement comprises one or more selected from: a zipper arrangement; and a hook and loop arrangement.

In one embodiment, the removable cover comprises a securing arrangement for securing the user's legs to the textile lining.

In one embodiment, the securing arrangement comprises one or more selected from: a hook and loop arrangement; a buckle arrangement; and any suitable formation for connecting strapping.

In another aspect, there is provided a sleeping accessory for holding a person's legs in alignment with each other while sleeping, the sleeping accessory comprising: a body defining a pair of holding formations, each holding formation being configured for receiving a leg of a user and for holding at least a portion of the legs of the user parallel to each other in operation when the user is sleeping on their side; and at least one securing arrangement configured for securing the legs of a user relative to each other when received in the pair of holding formations.

In another aspect, there is provided a sleeping accessory for holding a person's legs in alignment with each other while sleeping, the sleeping accessory

comprising: a body defining a pair of holding formations, each holding formation being configured for receiving a leg of a user and for holding at least a portion of the legs of the user parallel to each other in operation when the user is sleeping on their side; wherein the body defines a front end configured to extend ventrally of the user's legs in operation and a back end configured to extend dorsally of the user's legs in operation, and wherein the width, extending along a sagittal plane and a coronal plane, of the back end is smaller than the width of the front end.

In one embodiment, the body at least partially defines a pair of tapered surfaces that together define a wedge portion when viewed from above in operation.

In another aspect, there is provided a sleeping accessory for holding a person's legs in alignment with each other, the sleeping accessory comprising: a body defining a pair of holding formations, each holding formation being configured for receiving at least a portion of the leg of a user in operation and for holding the legs of the user parallel to each other in operation when the user is sleeping on their side; wherein each of the holding formations defines an aperture passing through the body and configured for receiving a respective leg of a user longitudinally in operation.

In one embodiment, the apertures are substantially circular. In one embodiment, the apertures define a primary curve configured for receiving a user's legs and a secondary curve configured for receiving a user's patella. It will be appreciated that reference herein to "preferred" or "preferably" is intended as exemplary only.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed. In the present specification and claims, the word "comprising" and its derivatives including "comprises" and "comprise" include each of the stated integers, but does not exclude the inclusion of one or more further integers.

This invention may also be said broadly to consist in the parts, elements and features referred to or indicated in the specification of the application, individually or collectively, and any or all combinations of any two or more of said parts, elements or features, and where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents in the art to which this invention relates, such known equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth.

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate one or more embodiments of the invention and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

Brief Description of the Figures

Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, a preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a side view of a user sleeping on their side with one leg in front of the other as encountered in the prior art;

Figure 2 is a bottom side rear perspective view of a first embodiment of a sleeping accessory;

Figure 3 is side view of the sleeping accessory of figure 2;

Figure 4 is a rear view of the sleeping accessory of figure 2;

Figure 5 is a cutaway side view of the sleeping accessory of figure 2 of a sleeping accessory in use engaged with a user's legs;

Figure 6 is a cutaway side view of a second embodiment of a sleeping accessory in use engaged with a user's legs;

Figure 7 is a top right rear perspective view of a third embodiment of a sleeping accessory;

Figure 8 is a front view of the sleeping accessory of figure 7;

Figure 9 is a top right front perspective view of the sleeping accessory of figure 7;

Figure 10 is a right-side view of the sleeping accessory of figure 7;

Figure 1 1 shows a side view of a fourth embodiment of a sleeping accessory;

Figure 12 shows a cutaway side view of fourth embodiment of a sleeping accessory;

Figure 13 shows a side view of the sleeping accessory of figure 12 in

communication with a mobile communication device, the Internet, and a remote terminal; and

Figure 14 shows a bottom right perspective view of sleeping accessory of figure

12.

Description of Embodiments

With reference to the drawings, similar features are generally indicated by similar numerals, with different embodiments being prefixed by a number corresponding to the number of the embodiment being illustrated. For example, a similar feature in a first embodiment and a third embodiment would be 125 and 325.

As shown in figures 1 -5, a sleeping accessory according to a first aspect is generally indicated by the numeral 100.

The sleeping accessory 100 is configured for holding a user's legs, and preferably their knees (shown as the dashed lines L in figures 5, 6 and 10) in alignment, and parallel with each other when the user is lying on their side, for example when they are asleep.

The sleeping accessory 100 includes a body 1 10. The body 1 10 is preferably composed of inner portion 11 1 (shown in figure 5) of resilient, flexible material such as sponge, silicone or any other suitable material. The inner portion is covered by a cover 1 12 composed of flexible material such as textile material, and preferably washable textile material that is suitable for constant contact with a user overnight, such as cotton or silk, or any other suitable material.

The cover 112 is preferably configured to be removable from the inner portion for washing, for example if it becomes dirty through use. In this regard, the cover 1 12 includes a cover fastener arrangement 114 as shown in figure 2 that is configured to be opened to allow the cover to be removed from the inner portion 1 1 1. It is envisaged that the cover fastener arrangement 1 14 can include one or more buttons receivable within apertures in the cover, a zipper arrangement, a hook and loop formation such as that sold under the tradename Velcro™, or any other suitable arrangement. In figure 2 the cover fastener arrangement 1 14 is shown as a zipper arrangement.

The body 1 10 defines a pair of holding formations 120. Each holding formation 120 is configured for receiving and holding at least a portion of the legs of a user parallel to each other in operation when a user is asleep on their side. In the embodiments shown in the figures, the holding formations are configured as a pair of protrusions 121 separated by a recess 122 that defines a concave curved surface between the protrusions 121 . In a preferred embodiment, the concave curved surface is substantially semicircular.

In the embodiments shown in figures 1 -5, the protrusions 121 on opposed sides of the cross bar extend from the body to varying distances, although this need not necessarily be the case.

Each holding formation 120 defines a concave curved surface 125 that is generally substantially semicircular, at least in in a cross-section transverse to the longitudinal length of the user's legs in use, as it is envisaged by the applicant that this semicircular shape will provide sufficient depth to the recess 122 to enable the legs of a user to be received and held snugly in position when they are sleeping.

It is envisaged that the curved surfaces can be ellipsoid or any other shape that will provide sufficient comfort and support for the user's legs. To provide sufficient support to the user's legs in use, it is envisaged that the depth of the recess defined by the curved surfaces should be equal to or more than third of the width of the recess, and preferably more than half of the width of the recess. It is further envisaged that in one embodiment (not shown) the curved surface can define a three dimensional frustoconical curve (i.e. complementing the tapered shape of a human leg), which in the cross section mentioned above defines a substantially semicircular shape.

In figures 1 -5, the concave curved surface 125 defines a primary radius 126. In addition to the primary radius 126 shown in figures 1 -5, the curved surface also defines a secondary radius 128 for cupping or at least making space for at least part of a user's patella in use. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that such a secondary radius 128 will be smaller in dimension than the primary radius 126, and that the secondary radius 128 will preferably be located towards the front of the sleeping accessory where the user's patella will be located.

Each recess 122 defines a mouth 124 aligned to open in an opposed direction from each other so that a user's legs can preferably be received from opposed

directions. However, this need not necessarily be the case. For example, in alternative embodiments (not shown), the mouths can both be oriented in a similar direction or opposed directions facing towards the ventral and/or or dorsal side of the user. When both of a user's legs are received within the holding formations 120, those portions of the legs of the user are held alongside each other in parallel alignment. In the embodiments shown in figures 1 - 5, the sleeping accessory 100 is symmetrical about a central axis of symmetry (shown in the figures as axis of symmetry A in figure 3), although this need not necessarily be the case.

As described above, each of the recesses 122 defines a curved surface 125 that is substantially semicircular shape, and that complement the cross-sectional shape of the inner leg of a user to hold it in position in use. In the embodiment shown in figure 3, the curved surface 125 defines a substantially semicircular shape, having a primary radius 126, although this need not necessarily be the case. It is envisaged that the sleeping accessory 100 will be fitted between the legs of a user in operation at a location around their knees, although it is anticipated that it could be located at any position along the user's legs

The sleeping accessory 100 also includes a pair of securing arrangements 130 associated with each of the pair of holding formations 120. The securing

arrangements 130 are shown in the figures as strapping 132 or webbing. The securing arrangement 130 is provided to extend around the lateral side of each of the legs of a user in operation, and to secure the sleeping accessory 100 in place on a user's legs while they sleep.

The strapping 132 can be elasticated or not, and is preferably provided with a fastening arrangement 134 by which the strapping can either be secured to itself or to the body 1 10. The fastening arrangement 134 is shown in figures 1 -5 as a hook and loop formation, including a strip consisting of a plurality of hooks 134a being adapted for engagement with a strip including a plurality of loops 134b, such as that sold under the tradename Velcro™, although it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a wide variety of other fastening arrangements could be used, including at least one or more buttons receivable within apertures, a buckle formation, or any other suitable arrangement.

The strapping preferably extends centrally of the width of the sleeping accessory 100 when viewed from above in operation. In the first embodiment shown in figures 1 - 5, to allow for the strip with the plurality of loops 134b to extend centrally as described, the zipper arrangement 1 14 is offset from the centre of the end face, although this need not necessarily be the case.

As alluded to above, the pair of securing arrangements 130 are configured for securing the legs of a user relative to each other in operation, when the user's legs are received in the recesses 122.

It is envisaged that in an alternative embodiment (not shown), a single securing arrangement 130 could be used to secure both of a user's legs within the holding formations 120 in operation. An example of such a single securing arrangement would be a single piece of strapping that is configured to wind around both legs of a user and engage with itself by means of a hook and loop formation.

In the embodiment shown in figures 1 - 5, for purposes of increased sleeping comfort, it is envisaged that the body 110 will define a separating portion 1 14 that extends between a user's legs in operation. The separating portion 1 14 is preferably also composed of resilient, comfortable material, and serves to separate the user's legs while they are sleeping to hold their legs apart from each other at a separating width. It is envisaged that by providing a suitably dimensioned separating portion 1 14, this will increase comfort levels in the user by, for example, preventing the user's knees from contacting each other and increasing ventilation between the user's legs. Preferably, the separating portion 1 14 is between 1 mm and 20cm thick, more preferably between 1 mm and 10cm thick, and most preferably between 2cm and 5cm thick.

In the embodiment shown in figure 6, the body 210 is provided with a frame 250 to provide support to the body 210 to prevent the body 210 from being squashed in use, for example by movement of the user, to thereby allow movement of the users legs out of an aligned position.

The frame 250 is configured to complement the shape of the holding formations 220. In this regard, it may be substantially H-shaped when viewed from the side as shown in figure 6, and includes a cross bar 252 and protrusion pieces 254 that extend into the protrusions 221 of the holding formations 220.

The frame 250 can be composed of a rigid flexible material, such as spring steel, tough plastic, or the like, that allows it to support the holding formations until its tensile strength limit is reached, after which the frame 250 deforms elastically, to return to its original shape when external forces (for example the weight of the user) are removed. In another embodiment, the frame 250 can be composed of a non- rigid resilient material such as a foam that is of a higher density than the material of the inner portion 211 . In this way, the frame 250 can provide increased support for the holding formations, but can also be deformed by movement of the user in their sleep, while reducing potential discomfort to the user.

In the embodiment shown in figure 6 the body 210 also defines stabilising formations 240 that extend towards the sleeping surface (shown as reference numeral S) in use to engage with the sleeping surface on which a user is sleeping, or extend proximate to the sleeping surface, and are configured to resist an attempt by the user to roll over of move their legs out of alignment with each other. Alternatively, the stabilising formations 240 facilitate the maintaining of the position of the user in either lying completely on their front or back, or on their side. In this way, it is envisaged that a user will be discouraged from lying in a twisted position.

In the embodiments shown in figures 1 -5, the protrusions on the opposed sides of the cross bar extend equidistantly from the body as stabilising formations, although this need not necessarily be the case.

In a third embodiment shown in figures 7 - 10 the body 310 a front end 372 configured to extend ventrally of the user's legs in operation and a back end 374 configured to extend dorsally of the user's legs in operation, and wherein the width, extending along a sagittal plane and a coronal plane corresponding to its position in use, of the back end is smaller than the width of the front end.

In the embodiment shown in figure 9, the width of the front end 372 extending along a sagittal plan and a coronal plane is shown as arrow Wi , while the width of the back end 374 in the same plane as shown as W2. In this embodiment, the width is also measured in a direction parallel to the direction of the channel formed by each recess. The width W2 of the back end is smaller than the width Wi of the front end to allow the user to bend their legs more conveniently in operation.

The body also defines a pair of tapered surfaces 360 that together generally define a wedge portion 370 when viewed from above in operation. It is envisaged that in alternative embodiments the tapered surfaces can extend over the entire width of the body member, or any portion thereof, and that the entire body member, or any portion thereof, can define the wedge portion.

In an alternative embodiment (not shown) it is envisaged that tapered surfaces 360 need not be provided, and that, for example, stepped formations can be provided that allow the width of the body to be reduced at the rear end 374.

In use, the thin rear end 374 of the wedge portion 370 will preferably be located behind the user's knees in operation. In this way, the user will be able to bend their legs more freely, thereby allowing for increased comfort.

The body member 310 shown in figures 7 - 10 defines a front end 316 and a back end 318, corresponding to the ventral and dorsal sides of the user where the ends are located in use, respectively. The front end 316 defines a rounded surface 317 that is curved about an anteroposterior axis. In this way, the movement of the user in use between a position lying on one side and a position lying on their other side is facilitated.

The third embodiment of the sleeping accessory 300 shown in figures 7-10 also does not define a secondary radius to the curved surface as shown in the first two embodiments. The third embodiment also does not include a securing arrangement as show in the first two embodiments, as the recess 122 is deep enough to securely hold the user's legs in position in use without the use of a securing arrangement.

The protrusions 321 of the third embodiment also extend equidistantly to either side of the body 310. The distal ends of the protrusions 321 further define flat coplanar portions. Further, the zipper arrangement 314 extends centrally along an end face 319 (shown in figure 7) on the back end 318 of the body member 310.

In use, a user will first engage both of their legs within the holding formations, and then preferably use the securing arrangements to secure the sleeping accessory in place between their legs and at a desired position along the length of their legs. The user can then lie on their side (left or right side) on a sleeping surface S, and their legs will be prevented from moving out of alignment into a non-parallel position to each other.

It is envisaged that in another alternative embodiment shown in figure 1 1 , the holding formations 420 can also act as a securing arrangement 430. In this embodiment, the holding formations are configured as a pair of apertures 423, and the user's legs are received in a longitudinal direction through the apertures. In such an embodiment, it will be appreciated that the holding formations function to locate the user's legs in operation, as well as hold them next to each other in a direction transverse to the longitudinal length of the user's legs. As shown in figure 1 1 , the holding formations 420 define a holding portion 427 that extends laterally of the user's knees in operation. In figure 11 holding portion 427 is shown as having a thickness t. This holding portion 427 would carry out a similar function to the straps of the securing arrangement in the first embodiment.

It will be appreciated that whether separate securing arrangements in the form of straps are provided, or whether the holding formations act as securing arrangements in defining a holding portion 427, it is preferable that the thickness t of the holding portion 427 of the sleeping accessory 100 located laterally of the user's leg in operation (i.e. when they are lying down on their side on a sleeping surface, and which they will be lying on) is preferably thin enough to reduce the distance that the user's leg is lifted off the sleeping surface, and thereby reduce the lateral or medial bending of the user's spine. Preferably, the thickness t of the holding portion 427 is between 1 mm and 15cm thick, more preferably between 1 mm and 5cm thick, and most preferably between 1 mm and 10 mm thick. It is envisaged that, similarly to the other embodiments described, the body member 410 will be composed of a resilient material such as silicone, sponge or the like, thereby allowing the holding portion 427 to be resiliently deformed when the user is lying on it.

It will be appreciated that the steps described above may be performed in a different order, varied, or omitted entirely without departing from the scope of the present invention.

The foregoing description is by way of example only, and may be varied considerably without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the securing arrangement can be adjustable. Further, additional curves and/or radiuses can be provided for complementing the shape of a user's leg. The curvature of the curved surface can be ellipsoid. The curved surface shown in the embodiments defines a concave three-dimensional cylindrical surface, although persons skilled in the art will appreciate this need not necessarily be the case. For example, in an alternative embodiment (not shown), it is envisaged that the curved

surface can define part of a three dimensional substantially frustoconical surface, which also defines a concave semicircular shape in cross section.

It is also envisaged that the curved surface could include smaller features, such as ripples, apertures, recesses, serrations, or other surface deviations which together define a general shape for the curved surface.

The stabilising formations can extend outwardly to both sides of a user's leg, or only on one side.

The wedge portion could be tapered in an opposite direction to the direction shown in the third embodiment.

In an alternative embodiment (not shown), it is also envisaged that holding formations could define an aperture or pair of apertures that extends through the body.

In the embodiment shown in figures 12-14, the sleeping accessory 500 includes a monitoring arrangement 550. The monitoring arrangement 550 includes a controller 551 connected to sensors for sensing various aspects of a person while they are sleeping. In the exemplary embodiment shown in figure 12, the monitoring arrangement includes a controller 551 connected to an accelerometer 552, a thermometer 554 and a pressure sensor 556. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a wide variety of properties can be sensed by a large number of types of sensors. The sensors are connected to the controller 551 by wires 557, although in alternative embodiments, wireless transmission is also envisaged.

The controller 551 is connected to a transceiver 558 that is configured for being connected electronically to either a mobile computing device 900 such as a smart phone or the like, a computing device 910 such as a desktop personal computer or to cloud-based servers (not shown) over the Internet 920.

The transceiver 558 can be configured for being connected by a wired

connection, for example by including connectable ports for connection by adapters, or including a cord and plug for connecting to other electronic devices. Alternately, the transceiver 558 can be configured to connect wirelessly to outside electronic devices. The transceiver 558 can utilise any one or more of several wireless protocols and/or network types, including wireless wide area networks (WWAN),

wireless local area networks (WLAN), wireless personal area networks (WPAN) and/or wireless sensor actor networks (WSAN).

In a most preferred embodiment, the transceiver 558 will be configured for receiving and/or transmitting wireless signals over any one or more of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac ("Wi-Fi"), near field communication (NFC), and/or Zigbee.

In an alternative embodiment, it is envisaged that a transceiver need not be provided, and instead a transmitter need only be provided, that receives signals from the sensors and transmits them on widely. It will also be appreciated that in an alternative embodiment a controller need not necessarily be provided, as the controlling functionality can be provided by a remote terminal such as a mobile phone or desktop.

In a preferred embodiment, the mobile phone 900 and/or computing device 910 will preferably run through a downloadable application or mobile application ("app") that is downloadable from any one of a number of available mobile application virtual stores such as Google Play or Apple App Store.

The sensors are provided to be able to monitor the user while they are sleeping. For example, the thermometer 554 can monitor the temperature of a person, and by transmitting the measured temperature of the user in real-time, an alert signal may be actuated when the temperature of that person exceeds a threshold level.

Further, by careful placement of the pressure sensor 556 adjacent an appropriate region of the user's leg (for example near an artery or vein), the pressure sensor 556 can be used to monitor the user's heart rate and/or blood pressure.

In another advantageous arrangement, the accelerometer 552 can be used to determine the quality of sleep or sleep movement of the user. For example, an increased number of accelerations over a predetermined time period can indicate that the user is undergoing restless sleep, and is indicative of the type of sleep that the user is undergoing.

It is further envisaged that the accelerometer 552 can provide an indication of orientation of the user, to thereby establish the orientation of the user's legs while they are sleeping. In this way, it can be established whether the user is favouring one side or the other to sleep on.

Preferably, the controller 551 also comprises a clock arrangement that allows the time to be determined in association with signals received from any one of the sensors. The signals received from any one of the sensors, together with the time that the signal was received, can be stored on the digital storage media 559.

Alternately, the signals from the sensors can be sent with or without the associated time of receipt, to a remote terminal, where the signals can be stored, together with the time that they are received at the remote terminal. In this way, the user can review the logged sensor signals and times to obtain useful information about the state of their sleep.

Transmission of the signals received from the various sensors can be carried out in real-time, or the signals can be stored on digital storage media 559 associated with the controller

In addition to receiving information from sensors about qualities of the user, it is envisaged that the sleeping accessory 500 can further provide feedback to the user. In the embodiment shown in figures 12 - 15, sleeping accessory further includes a feedback arrangement 580. The feedback arrangement 580 comprises a vibrating device 582 that is also wired to the controller 551 . The vibrating device 582 can be actuated by the controller 551 to vibrate. Such an arrangement can be

advantageous to wake a user up, for example as an alarm clock by actuating the vibrating arrangement when a predetermined time is detected, or to wake the user up if the temperature and/or blood pressure of a user is detected as not being within a predetermined temperature and/or blood pressure range. The user will preferably set the alarm time on a remote terminal such as their smartphone. At the predetermined time, the smart phone 900 will transmit an actuation signal to the transceiver 558. The controller will then actuate the vibrating device 582 to vibrate, thereby waking the user up.

It is further envisaged that other types of feedback devices can be provided. For example, figure 12 shows a thermal device 584 can be provided that is capable of heating and/or cooling a predetermined area. Examples of such a thermal device include heating pads, or thermoelectric cooling devices such as Peltier cooling modules. Such a thermal device will preferably also be connected to the controller 551 for actuation by the user, and/or by the controller in the event of predetermined times been reached, or sensor reading thresholds being reached. For example, a

thermoelectric cooler can be actuated in the event of the user's temperature being detected as being above a predetermined threshold.

In an alternative embodiment, it is envisaged that the monitoring arrangement 550 and/or the feedback arrangement 580 need not necessarily include a controller 551 , and that only a transceiver 558 can be provided for receiving actuation signals, or for transmitting signals received from the sensors.

As shown in figures 12 - 15, the controller 551 includes a manual input arrangement 553, shown in the form of buttons that can be pressed by a user. In this way, a user can input values and/or settings. For example, a user can set the time for their alarm to go off, or a temperature and/or blood pressure reading at which an alert signal should be actuated. The controller preferably also includes an audio and/or visual indication generator, such as speakers or a sound buzzer and/or indicator light that can be used to draw attention to the sleeping accessory.

The features described with respect to one embodiment may be applied to other embodiments, or combined with or interchanged with the features of other

embodiments, as appropriate, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the invention disclosed herein.