By Leigh-Ann Worrell
It is something that eludes some during times of stress, anxiety or upon looming deadlines, but for others, the relief that should come with hitting the sack remains but a dream.
Perry Walker wants to fix that.
With gifted hands and innovative thinking, the 45-year-old certified massage therapist and entrepreneur created The SoundSleep Program for chronic insomniacs a year ago. It is offered through his company, Body Konectics, which was incorporated three years ago.
“I market myself as an insomnia relief therapist,” he explains during an interview on a Saturday afternoon, “basically what it is is changing persons’ lifestyles and behaviours as well as incorporating a massage protocol that I developed.”
He conceptualised the idea of developing a protocol to aid those suffering from sleepless nights while learning massage therapy in 2010 at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.
“I joked with my instructor that I was gonna come up with a cure for insomnia,” he recalls with a smile. “At first it was just a joke, but I researched more and more… and when I figured I had enough information, I developed the Sound Sleep Programme (which I first called the Sleep Well Programme), but it was scary because no one had ever done something like this.”
Perry decided to test the protocol on a few volunteers — some of whom were using heavy sleep aids — and received some astounding results.
“There was one of my clients who by the fourth or fifth session didn’t need to take the medication. . . So I knew I was onto something.”
He completed about 10 trials with individuals from various walks of life, and they were all successful. Perry has since helped between 15 to 20 people in total to achieve their dreams of sleeping through the night.
How does it work?
During the four-week programme, Perry identifies the habits and environment which may hinder sleep and works with clients to modify or eliminate them. These can also include the bedroom environment, the temperature of a person’s shower, and of course, staying on electronic devices too long.
Perry adds, “The thing about electronic devices is that they emit something called blue light which suppresses melatonin level and doesn’t allow you to go to sleep. [While] some people doze off when using their devices, they always wake up after some time. Also, they are not going to get a deep sleep. Melatonin is your body’s sleep hormone, and in order to work, it needs darkness and for your muscles to relax which comes into play with the massage protocol.”
He also notes that not getting a sound sleep can have impacts on insomnia (or vice versa) as well as on other conditions such as depression, diabetes and hypertension.
Armed with knowledge and strong testimonials, Perry made a leap of faith and left his 15-year-long career as a personal trainer last year and threw his time and resources into developing his niche service. He mainly works from his St Patrick’s, Christ Church base but also makes house visits.
Reaching out to medical practitioners was one of the main marketing tools he used to spread awareness about the programme, albeit with limited results. In fact, he was in the midst of this effort when he first heard about the Dazzle Entrepreneurship Toolkit competition.
“I was writing to doctors about the programme and not getting responses, so I was mentally and emotionally drained at the time I saw it,” he admitted. “Then I decided since I already had a write-up, why not abbreviate it and send it. It was close to the deadline and I sent it in not expecting anything.
“But one day while at Bushy Park, I got a call and it was Ryan who said that I was in the last five. When I got the email [that I had won] I was super elated, because at that time I had finished most of the trials and had the testimonials up [on my social media] and now I [had proof] that my hard work was worth it.”
Perry won a Project and Public Relations consultation from Avoda Consulting, two John Maxwell Certified Personal Development Courses from Life Engineer Inc., Financial Consultancy from Astrape Finance and a Printer package from On Line Consultancies.
He was grateful to receive the prize since paperwork is not his strength: “I like to interact with the clients, get to know their problems and do the hands-on work,” the St James Secondary alumni readily says.
As Perry builds his business, he envisions The Sound Sleep Programme working in tandem with polysomnographic services and psychiatry. “It may take 10 or 20 years but that’s how I see it going down the line: a bunch of specialists working as one team or unit to help people with chronic insomnia.”
But for now, empowering clients to end restless nights is more than enough to give Perry good dreams at the end of the day.
A good pelau always wins his heart
He loves to play Connect 4
He loves to go to the East Coast to watch the ocean.