Imagine you were a young nurse and you had to go, on your own, into strangers’ homes to deliver inoculations and change bandages.

You’d be nervous, wouldn’t you?

Catharine Nixon, the 161st person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, certainly was. But she’d grown so sick of the temporary assignments she’d been doing since she arrived in London that she yearned for the comfort of a regular gig – even a risky one.

Thankfully, Catharine was never harmed. But there were times she’d walk into a rundown apartment block in a crime-ridden neighbourhood and wonder if she’d ever make it out alive.

Catharine’s London stint was notable for another reason – she switched from clinical nursing to a commercial health role in the field of sleep. Fifteen years later, Catharine still specialises in sleep. That involves a mix of consulting (with corporate clients), coaching (for people with sleep problems) and blogging (interesting, science-based content).

I was surprised to learn that about 20% of people suffer from sleep apnoea – most of whom have never been diagnosed. Another surprising fact is that our gut health influences the quality of our sleep (and vice versa).