Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is a professional physiologist, sleep expert, author of four books and speaker with over 25 years of experience. She spent a decade conducting sleep and wellness programmes at Nightingale Hospital in London, coaches on burnout prevention at Ashridge Business School and is the original founder of BUPA’s Corporate Wellbeing Solutions.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I have spent the last 25 years helping people to sleep better, to live their lives with more energy and balance and navigate these fast-paced and turbulent times.
I started out in the academic world and then worked in health screening in London’s Square Mile. It was here that I noticed that the advancement of technology and the speed of life were affecting the physiology and health of the corporate employee. Stress and burnout levels began to rise, the insomnia epidemic began and I began to use my academic knowledge and personal interest in insomnia (maybe because of my own personal struggles with insomnia) to help others. It was when I left the clinic and set up my own consultancy that my business started to thrive. I was headhunted to work at the psychiatric clinic, The Capio Nightingale, and ended up writing my first book Tired But Wired (Profile Books, 2010) and this brought my work into the limelight.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
It may sound strange, but my business grew organically. I never set out with a game plan as such. I often say I followed a ‘breadcrumb trail’ and doors magically opened and opportunities started coming my way.
How did you achieve awareness?
I have never really marketed myself – particularly at the beginning – but I started gaining a reputation in the corporate world for my work on sleep, stress and resilience and things grew from there. When my books were published, particularly the first one, I began attracting more media (TV & radio) interest.
What are the key successes?
I believe that the main reason for my successes is down to my passion and belief in what I do, coupled with my unique methodology.
Sadly – the current uncertainty and stress in the world also means my work is needed even more than ever.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
There are times when things go quiet and slow down – it has been a bit like this recently since coming out of the pandemic. These are times that I have learnt to trust, rest and restore myself, and use the time to be creative. I always have faith that things will work out for the best and they usually do. I also have a solid self-care and contemplation practice that enables me to stay well during uncertain times.
What are your plans now/for the future?
I’m at a bit of a crossroads and am currently and toying with the idea of a 5th book. The year has started strangely and I have a sense that I want some new challenges, maybe a little more travel again (but not like pre-pandemic!) but I’m not sure yet. My new vision hasn’t completely landed for me yet.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Take a deep breath and jump! But make sure you are in a place of balance when you jump – don’t do it from a place of fear.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
As I’ve said above, for me it’s about radical self-care and some sort of reflection practice be it meditation or mindfulness that enables you to slow down and take stock, but also:
- Keep cultivating faith.
- Build good support around you. Know who’s got your back – including and especially in your friendships – friends you can laugh and cry with.
- Forgive yourself and ditch the perfectionism.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
My dad – his tenacity. He came from tough beginnings and built an amazing engineering company.
Mum – she’s 86, has Alzheimer’s, and still puts her perfume and makeup on every day and sings. She’s not giving up!
Edith Eger – her resilience, compassion, spirit, energy, and more.
Mahatma Gandhi – for the value of ‘being the change’.
Various girlfriends who are committed unashamedly and unapologetically to finding their joy in life now they are in their 50s. Their lives aren’t easy, but they don’t give up.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“There’s more to life than simply increasing its speed” – Mahatma Gandhi
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”
“It matters that we don’t just give up” – Stephen Hawking
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style” – Maya Angelou
“An unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
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