On today’s World Sleep Day I am sharing my interview with Dr. Kat who is a sleep and body clock specialist. Dr Kat is passionate about helping women sleep well and feel good. She sees sleep as an act of self-care, and offers personalised 1-2-1 sleep therapy to women experiencing insomnia and poor sleep.
What career did you have before you set up your own business, and what made you want to start it?
I had done my PhD in Circadian Physiology after which spent a number of years working with shift workers from safety-critical industries. The focus was on helping them sleep better to minimise fatigue. This work took me around the world talking to lots of different people about their sleep.
I really enjoyed building a connection with a person and empowering them to improve their sleep. However, I wanted to work more with women – sleep is different in women compared to men, and being a woman myself I experience this difference first hand. But the lack of sleep also affects women differently to men, a fact that’s not always recognised though. I wanted to change that and set up my own company which focuses on helping women sleep well and feel good. Because not only can it be horrible to not sleep, it’s the day that follows that can be anxiety-provoking because we are worried about failing at our various ‘jobs’ on our to do list.
Sleep, good or bad, is a very personal experience. Every client story is unique. Working with a client on a 1-2-1 basis, we together can develop an understanding of what’s happening and way. And based on that, we devise strategies to improve sleep.
What was your main source of motivation when you started your own business?
I want to help other women improve their sleep, health and quality of life. There’s an entrenched gender health inequality, and the treatment of sleep problems is no difference. So, I am trying to make a change to that and offer female-specific sleep therapy for women struggling with poor sleep or insomnia.
How long did it take you to go from just having an idea to actually starting your business?
I think about 6 months.
What did you find hardest?
Creating an awareness that personalised sleep therapy exists.
If you could go back and do it all again, would you do anything differently?
Hmm, good question. Not sure if I would do anything differently because each experience taught me something.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Just do it.
How was your experience with the personal brand photoshoot?
It was amazing! It was about me as a female sleep therapist and not just another client. I felt seen, and also gently challenged to get out of my comfort zone. I would definitely do it all over again 😉
Do you have any pearls of wisdom for other women who have just set up their own business or are thinking about it?
Don’t overthink it, don’t let the need for perfection be a barrier for doing what you enjoy doing.
Who would be your 5 ideal dinner party guests?
My mother because she has been supporting girls and women all her life. She’s my inspiration!
Anne Lamott, author of several books – she talks about radical self-care, and I see sleeping as a form of self-care
Jess Phillips – she was on the Women and Equalities Committee
Prof Sara Arber – a sociologist who has done extensive research on gender and ageing
My husband because he is my greatest cheerleader
Dr Kat has written a practical guide to getting good sleep called ‘Sleep Sense’.
In her work, Dr Kat combines a deep understanding of the biology of sleep and the body clock, with her practical experience in managing fatigue and insomnia, and learnings from Mindfulness, Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy.