It can be hard to get to sleep at night even if you have the best mattress at your disposal. But if you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled device, you can use the virtual assistant to help you get a better night’s sleep. Yes, really!
When it comes to winding down for bed, it’s a golden rule to avoid using your phone or any kind of electronics due to the blue light keeping you awake for longer. So, it might come as a surprise to you that I’m recommending using one of the best smart speakers or smart displays to drift off at night.
But Alexa has a few neat tricks that you can use to help wind down in the evening and fall asleep at night. Here are five Amazon Alexa hacks that can help you sleep better this winter.
1. “Alexa, open Sleep Sounds”
Starting off strong, you need to enable this Alexa Skill to help you relax and fall asleep quickly night after night. Alexa Sleep Sounds is a handy skill to have on your Echo Dot speaker or display as it offers peaceful sounds and meditations designed to help you wind down and sleep better.
To get started, just say “Alexa, open Sleep Sounds” and Alexa will ask you what sound you’d like to hear. You can choose from an extensive list of sounds and meditations, including rain, surf, forest, thunderstorm, desert and more. If you’re worried about falling asleep and not turning your speaker off, you can state the duration you want the sound to play for, for example “Alexa, open Sleep Sound and play Rain for 1 hour.”
2. “Alexa, open Sweet Dreams”
Sweet Dreams is a similar Alexa Skill to Sleep Sounds and you’ll need to enable it on your speaker or display to use its many features. Created by Stop, Breathe & Think, Sweet Dreams has many sounds and meditations to choose from, although it’s the meditation feature I’m going to be focusing on for this particular skill.
All you have to do is say “Alexa, open Sweet Dreams” or “Alexa, ask Sweet Dreams to play Meditation” and it’ll begin playing a guided meditation practice for you. The meditations you can choose from include Falling Asleep, Soften and Relax, Review the Day and Breathing in Waves, or Alexa will pick one for you if you don’t specify. This skill can be put on a time limit, too.
3. “Alexa, tell me a story”
Perfect for you or your children, Alexa can tell you a bedtime story to help you fall asleep at night. There are a few ways you can use this hack. The first is to simply ask Alexa to tell you a story, play a podcast or read out an audiobook (although you will have to have an app subscription like Spotify or Audible for the last two). But by saying “Alexa, tell me a story”, the virtual assistant will start speaking.
For children, you can enable the Bedtime Stories skill on their Echo Dot Kids. Bedtime Stories has seven free story genres and popular fairytale and fiction stories that Alexa can read to your child, including The Little Mermaid, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland and more. Just say “Alexa, open Bedtime Stories” to start using this feature.
4. “Alexa, open night light”
Not everyone enjoys sleeping in pitch black so if you need a little light when you sleep, you can use your Echo’s ring light as a night light. Simply say “Alexa, open night light” and the top of your Echo device will start glowing and pulsing. The light will stay on for five minutes unless you specify an amount of time. Not only is this hack useful for providing soft light while you get to sleep, but it’s also much more energy efficient than leaving the hallway light on during the night.
5. “Alexa, dim the lights”
Finally, there’s nothing worse than getting into bed and realising you haven’t turned the lights off. But when you use your Alexa-enabled device like an Echo Show display, you can keep all your smart home gadgets in one place, including your best smart bulbs. After you’ve settled into bed, say “Alexa, dim the lights” to help you relax before completely turning them off for sleep. Depending on the type of smart lighting you have set up, you can also ask Alexa to customise the colour to set the tone of your bedroom.