Hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton has spent over a decade using meditation to help others sleep better. So it’s no surprise she uses it as a daily tool. “I used to have panic attacks, and I’ve always struggled with generalized anxiety,” says Hamilton, host of the weekly Meditation Minis podcast. “I also have Attention Deficit Disorder, so practicing meditation felt like a natural fit for me.”

Billed as “a guided meditation for anxiety and stress,” Meditation Minis lives up to its name by providing a short but effective respite for the mind. Clocking in at around 10 minutes, each episode is a guided journey meant to provide a sense of calm and relaxation. With more than 3 million subscribers, Hamilton says she believes the podcast’s success is a result of its ability to “provide a pressure release valve” that helps listeners let go of the stress of the day.

Overcoming Anxiety

Breathing techniques and guided meditations have scientifically proven benefits, including slowing the heart rate and calming the body and mind. For people with anxiety, finding a way to restore a sense of calm is difficult, and it’s common to suffer from disrupted sleep.

“Anyone who has anxiety struggles with insomnia at some point,” Hamilton says. “Having overcome these very things myself, I thought this would be a good focal point for a podcast.”

What to Expect When Tuning In

One of the perks of this podcast, which airs a new episode each week, is that it’s brief but effective. Hamilton’s full, low-register voice is soothing and reassuring as she integrates each episode with a short commercial for that week’s sponsor before beginning the meditation.

While she presents meditations for a range of situations and emotions—such as building more self-confidence or getting over the loss of a loved one—some of her Meditation Minis are specifically designed to help with improving sleep.

Hamilton utilizes her experience as a hypnotherapist by helping listeners prepare for the next few minutes before taking them on a soothing mental journey, using words designed to help the audience de-stress and decompress. Words like “calm” and “relax,” paired with a gentle tone and a slow, easy breath are key in helping reach a state that eases both the mind and body. Whether the topic is creating a healthier state of being, overcoming anger, getting in touch with nature, or developing more patience, each meditation walks listeners through a process that is both simple and restorative.

Her insomnia-themed podcasts are designed specifically to help people relax even before they climb into bed, and she says that creating a new picture in your mind and reconsidering how you view your sleep experience is key to getting better rest.  

“If you have insomnia, you picture yourself struggling with sleep,” she explains. “Your subconscious mind views it as a battle every night. So your subconscious mind is sending you cues to prepare for a fight.” That immediately sets your body on edge at a time when it should be winding down for the night. “If you can learn to use new imagery and approach it differently, it changes your sleep experience.”

Training Your Brain

Though the Meditation Minis podcast isn’t specifically about sleep, Hamilton says it can have a dramatic effect on how well listeners sleep, even if they don’t listen right before going to bed. “When you do a guided meditation, it’s brain training. You are learning to use a word, a breath, something that calms you down and refocuses your brain when you need it,” she explains. “Then, when you lie down at night, you have a practice you can use if you’re having trouble going to sleep. Instead of struggling and fighting with it, you have tools you can use.”

Luckily, her podcast is available 24/7. Check out her episodes to help relax before drifting off to sleep.