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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Dan Elwing’s BodyWise Sleep System: A New Angle on Healthful, Restorative Sleep

May 31, 2013 10:43AM ● By Sheila Julson

Waukesha businessman and inventor Dan Elwing, creator of the BodyWise Sleep System, has always been ambitious. The Illinois native earned a scholarship with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, as well as degrees in electrical engineering and naval science. He served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Force from 1966 to 1970 and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. When he was only 34 years old, Elwing became president of the former RTE-ASEA Corporation, a power transformer company, in Waukesha, and was part of a team that invented and patented designs. He developed an interest in the biology of the human body during his eight-year tenure on the board of directors at Froedtert Hospital from 1982 to 1990.

A collaboration with a physician on the possible effects of gravity on acid reflux disease, the circulatory system and the body’s restorative process during sleep led Elwing to immerse himself in the study of biology during the sleep process. “I learned that the more efficient the circulatory system is, the better,” Elwing points out, noting that daily human activities can direct 80 percent of the body’s blood flow to the hands, feet and legs, while the same proportion of blood flow is directed to the brain and internal organs during sleep in order to rejuvenate the body.

Linking his research to personal experience with fam ily members that had suffered with sleep disorders and sinus ailments, Elwing realized that a traditional, flat bed forces the heart to work harder because it does not have the assistance of gravity to return blood from the brain to the heart. A flat bed also sets the sleeper up for snoring, because as an individual lies on his or her back, the palate, tongue and tonsils are pulled backward, often disrupting airflow and making the tissues vibrate. “Sleeping in a raised position with adjusted gravity works to pull the tonsils and tongue forward, opening the airway,” Elwing says. Sleeping on an incline allows gravity to help the circulatory system naturally do its work, lessening stress on the heart

Elwing collaborated with mechanical engineer Mike Peterman to design the BodyWise Sleep System, an adjustable bed frame that allows the user to set an entire straight bed at an incline, using a basic, three-setting, programmable remote pendant. After nearly two years of designing, engineering and testing prototypes, the BodyWise Sleep System was introduced in November 2012. The frame is made from 12-gauge steel manufactured in Lomira, Wisconsin. Elwing’s company assembles and distributes the adjustable frames at a warehouse and distribution center near its retail location in Waukesha.

Sleeping on an incline allows gravity to help the circulatory system naturally do its work, lessening stress on the heart.

Unlike adjustable beds that force the body into flexed and zigzagged sleeping positions that can actually reduce circulation, the BodyWise frame raises the body straight in one direction to allow gravity to drain sinuses, open air passages and improve blood flow. Elwing also points out the practical features: any mattress and box spring can be used with the frame, and headboard brackets are supplied. The frame can be discreetly disguised under decorative bed skirts, comforters and pillows. The end corners of the frame are indented, making it less likely than standard bedframe edges to bump and bruise ankles. The actuator that adjusts the frame is nearly silent as it gently raises the bed to the desired angle.

While the retail price starts at $1,390 for a twin-sized bed, Elwing says that the BodyWise Sleep System can pay for itself by reducing or eliminating the need to take over-the-counter or prescription drugs for sinus congestion or acid reflux, as well as eradicating snoring, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. During the short time that the BodyWise Sleep System has been available, Elwing has received glowing reviews of sound sleep and refreshed, symptom-free mornings from those that have used it.

BodyWise Sleep System is located at 1427 E. Racine Ave., Ste. C, in Waukesha. For more information, call 262-513-9525 or visit