IF YOU haven't been sleeping well lately, you're certainly not alone. The latest national lockdown and uncertainty surrounding how our lives will look in the months ahead has undoubtedly had an impact.

In a recent survey, 46 per cent of 1,500 Hampshire people asked said they are experiencing poor sleep.

But a new digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme called Sleepio is available for free to residents of North Hampshire, and has already changed the life of one Basingstoke teacher.

Catherine Floyd has suffered from insomnia for over 16 years, and decided to give Sleepio a go just before Christmas.

"I had suffered for about 16 years with sleep problems, which affected my mental health, concentration and mood," she told The Gazette.

"It affected any relationships I was in. I have been having to have naps for three to four hours a day."

But six weeks later, the programme, which teaches you about the 'racing mind' and how to control it, had a "massive impact" on the Rooksdown resident's life.

"I felt that I had more control on my sleep, rather than sleep controlling my life," the 31-year-old continued.

"I can definitely see a change. It has not been an easy change because there is no quick fix, but I can see the improvements."

At first, all you need to do is keep a sleep diary, jotting down when you're falling asleep and waking up, and if you find yourself lying in bed, staring at the ceiling for hours on end.

Then, 'Prof', the digitised sleep expert that offers you weekly sessions along with his dog Pavlov, takes you through techniques and advice to help you spend less time awake in bed.

This ranges from the simple, such as altering your bedroom to make it more sleep-friendly, to the hard, like restricting your time in bed to a set period.

For Catherine, this was by far the hardest part of the course.

"It was so difficult. I thought 'I can't do this'. It took me a good few weeks to get used to the fact that I wasn't allowed to nap and I wasn't allowed to go to bed until a specific time.

"It was hard but I have got used to that."

But, it is proven to work. Sleepio has been accessed by over 100,000 people in the UK so far, and GP surgeries are offering the service for free to patients in North Hampshire.

Dr. Tim Cooper, Mental Health Lead at Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Whitewater Loddon Primary Care Network said previously: “Primary care sees the majority of mental health needs across the system and we recognise the challenge patients currently face in waiting for psychological support.

"Offering Sleepio is a way to proactively address this challenge, giving patients instant access to evidence-based treatment.

"The learnings we generate can be applied to other digital solutions in the future, which will support innovation locally and further afield across the NHS.”

Offering advice to anyone else suffering from sleep issues, Catherine said: "Don't be afraid of it. It does work.

"It is tailored to you."

To get started with Sleepio or to learn more, go to www.sleepio.com/nhs, or speak to your GP to get a referral.