I’ve had a lot of trouble falling asleep lately for various reasons, including but not limited to upcoming finals, irregular sleep schedules, and just general things related to living in a college dorm. I found that playing relaxing sounds helped me a lot, but I wasn’t sure of an efficient way to play them. I decided to turn to my beloved Amazon Echo Dot and have Alexa help me fall asleep. While these might not work for everyone, here are eight Amazon Alexa skills that can help you relax, de-stress, and fall asleep. These skills work on any device that has Alexa enabled- Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo Look, and others. If you are wondering if the Amazon Echo is right for you, read my original review on the Echo Dot here.
“Alexa, enable white noise.”
No need to buy an expensive white noise generator or leave a fan on all night, just ask Alexa to enable white noise, and it will play for an hour by default. If you want it to go indefinitely, ask Alexa to turn the loop on, and it will play until you ask it to stop. If you enable looping, Alexa will loop the sound by default whenever you use the skill next.
“Alexa, enable icy snowstorm.”
One of my friends was telling me how they find the sounds of a snowstorm to be very relaxing. So if you like the sounds of wind howling and snowflakes falling, or want the feeling of walking in a winter wonderland, this skill is for you. It plays two hours continuously and does not have a loop option as of now.
“Alexa, enable ocean sounds.”
Maybe the thoughts of wind and cold weather aren’t very peaceful, and you want something to remind you of the sunshine. Ocean sounds plays the sounds of crashing waves on a beach for two hours continuously, unless it is paused. The waves rise and fall in a rhythmic way, making it easy to synchronize breathing.
“Alexa, enable campfire sounds.”
Missing the days of summer camp or just sleeping under the stars? This skill allows you to experience the relaxing crackling of a campfire, without the anxiety of a real fire burning the house down. Another friend commented that this skill reminded them of sleeping next to a fireplace when they used it in conjunction with a heated blanket.
“Alexa, tell me a bedtime story.”
By enabling parental permissions in the Alexa app (which takes about a minute), you can listen to a selection of stories from Amazon Rapids for free. When I enabled this skill, I was given a five minute Christmas-themed story with great voice acting. While it may not help adults fall asleep, it’s awesome for kids, or anyone who might want a distraction in the form of a silly story.
“Alexa, read from Kindle.”
When this skill is enabled, Alexa (not voice actors) reads whatever book I was last reading in the Kindle app, and can also read books from my library when I ask her to. However, I don’t want the book being read all night, so I set a sleep timer- more on that in a minute. I found that the Alexa read at a natural pace and didn’t sound choppy, even when reading unfamiliar words in a fantasy novel.
“Alexa, help me meditate.”
Alexa has an assortment of meditation skills to help with breathing and relaxation. I don’t have a particular favorite, as they all seem the same to me, but there’s many different kinds that can be enabled. If you purchased meditation tracks, ask Alexa to play them from the Amazon library.
“Alexa, set a sleep timer for __.”
In case you don’t want Alexa playing all night, set a sleep timer so that the audio shuts off after a given amount of time. This is great to make sure Alexa doesn’t bother other people sleeping nearby, or ensuring you don’t lose your place in a book. Alarms are not affected by the sleep timer.
I hope these tips help you to fall asleep and hopefully, stay asleep. I have loved using my Amazon Echo Dot for all sorts of things, and I can’t imagine life without one. As of publishing time, Echo Dots are currently on sale for $30- get one here. You won’t regret it!