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Fergus nurse helping people get better sleep

Julia Worrall launched The Sleep RN clinic in 2015 and launched Best Sleep Magazine earlier this year
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Julia Worrall, founder of The Sleep RN clinic in Fergus, is also the editor-in-chief of Best Sleep Magazine.

Proper sleep can make all the difference in the world, says Julia Worrall, speaking from experience. A critical care nurse for 20 years, she was used to feeling fatigued but thought it was just a normal part of a busy life.

Some people mistook her tired ways as depression, though she was sure that wasn’t the case. Then, one day she was encouraged to take a sleep test and discovered she has sleep apnea – a condition which involves interruptions in breathing that can impact the quality of a person’s sleep.

“That just blew my mind,” Worrall said, adding she was later found to have small airways as well. “You don’t imagine that when you close your eyes at night to go to bed that there’s all these other things that are happening during the night that sabotages how you feel during the day.

“And because you don’t know it, you go through life just scratching your head, ‘Why do I feel like this?’”

As a result, she started taking a variety of training courses and learning more about how sleep quality impacts people during their waking hours. 

Wanting to share what she’d learned with as many people as possible, in 2015 she launched The Sleep RN in Fergus, offering consultations with people experiencing fatigue, brain fog and memory loss, among other symptoms of sleep deprivation out of rented conference rooms.

Before long, Worrall was making the rounds as a guest speaker – something that’s seen her travel around the world.

Previously located on Garafraxa Street East, the clinic is in the midst of a move to St. Andrew Street West.

“If you don’t feel like a million bucks when you wake up every day, just take a little bit of time to examine what is happening in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping,” she said. “Don’t wait.”

There are many things that can impact a person’s sleep. There could be structural issues such as the partially blocked airways Worrall experienced following orthodontic work done when she was a teenager, low oxygen levels, hypervigilance which prevents them from achieving a dream state known as REM (rapid eye movement), medication side effects or an issue with cranial nerves.

“I have a really strong desire to educate my peers because I feel like the more of us that know, the better able we are to help people,” Worrall said, noting she has many clients who work in healthcare, but most don’t. 

“We do a lot of re-training for nasal breathing. That’s probably the number one thing we do – most people are surprised they come to me for their sleep issues and we spend a lot of time working on nasal breathing. That just resets everything.”

Solutions to sleep impediments can include exercises to strengthen and tone particular muscles, cranial nerve exercises or even a referral for dental/orthodontic work, Worrall said.

“Everyone has their own measure of success,” she said, recalling the example of a couple whose goal was to wake up together rather than in separate beds. The wife, Worrall explained, was in the habit of moving to another bed when her husband’s snoring became too much for her to bear.

After about two weeks of work, that happened.

“For them, it was a success.”

With an eye toward expanding her educational reach, earlier this year Worrall got together with a media firm to launch Best Sleep Magazine, which is currently available in doctor’s offices and dental clinics only.

“The response has been so good that we’re prepping now for monthly,” she said of the magazine’s frequency, which was planned to be quarterly. “I’m really excited about it.”

Each edition of the magazine, which is available for free digitally, focuses on a different sleep-related topics such as parents of children with ADHD or on the Autism spectrum, sleep apnea, movement disorders and more.

“I wanted to be able to tackle it in bite-sized pieces,” Worall, who is editor-in-chief of the magazine, said of the topics covered. “Each one will have it’s own theme.”

For more information about The Sleep RN, visit thesleeprn.com. Details about Best Sleep Magazine can be found at www.bestsleepmagazine.com.

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