One of the most common ways I used my Amazon Echo Dot while living in a college dorm was so that Alexa would help me sleep. Living in a dorm can be noisy at times, and there were nights where having ambient noise helped me fall and stay asleep more easily. Even though I don’t live in a dorm anymore, I still use various Amazon Alexa sleep skills to help me relax, de-stress, and fall asleep after a long day. Here is how Amazon Alexa can help you sleep with free skills that can be enabled with your voice or with the Amazon Alexa app.
Alexa, enable white noise
Amazon Echo devices come with a built-in white noise machine, which to me sounds like a fan. By default, the white noise skill will remain on for an hour, though users can also ask Alexa to loop the skill by asking “Alexa, loop white noise”, which will play the noise until the user tells it to stop. Looping will be enabled by default when the skill is enabled in the future unless the user asks Alexa to turn off looping or set it for a specific time, i.e “Alexa, play white noise for two hours.”
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Other options for ambient noise with Alexa
Not a fan of fans? Amazon Alexa offers several options for ambient noise including green noise, brown noise, and other environmental audio tracks. Some popular options that I’ve enabled include:
- Ocean sounds or ocean waves
- Icy snowstorm
- Brown noise
- Campfire sounds
- Classical music
- Sleep playlists on Spotify and Amazon Music
Users can enable skills within the Amazon Alexa app or by asking Alexa to enable a skill, i.e “Alexa, enable ocean sounds.” My personal favorite is the ocean waves skill, which reminds me of sitting on a beach.
Alexa, enable Tabletop Audio
While this is not a traditional sleep sound or ambient noise option, Tabletop Audio is an awesome free service that creates background tracks, ambiences, and music for tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs). Tabletop Audio offers a free skill with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to play tracks on a loop or timer and browse tracks by category. I’m currently listening to one of their tracks as I write this post- I recommend browsing their website to check out available titles.
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Amazon Alexa and Echo Glow
Echo Glow is a smart lamp that is marketed at kids and is controlled with Amazon Alexa. The Echo Glow has several options for colored light and setting timers/routines using the light, such as having the light glow green when it is time to wake up. I like to use it as a night light if I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night, and like that I can adjust the brightness and color of the light with my voice.
Users who are sensitive to strobe or flashing lights should avoid using Siren mode with Echo Glow, as it contains rapidly flashing red and blue lights.
Listening to an audiobook before bed
Users have a few different options for listening to audiobooks with Amazon Alexa, including asking Alexa to read from Kindle and asking Alexa to read a title from their Audible library. Reading from Kindle will open the most recent book in the Kindle library and read with Alexa’s voice, while reading from Audible will play the audiobook as it was originally recorded, usually with professional voice actors.
To avoid losing your place when reading an audiobook before bed, I highly recommend setting a sleep timer, which can be done by saying “Alexa, set a sleep timer for thirty minutes” or the desired time. The sleep timer does not affect alarms.
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Whispering to Alexa
Amazon Alexa offers a whisper mode where users can whisper or speak quietly to their device and Alexa will respond in a quiet whispered tone, which is helpful for people who don’t want to wake others up. Whisper Mode can be enabled in the Amazon Alexa app by going to Settings, Voice Responses, and turning on Whisper Mode.
Alexa guided meditation
There are several free and paid options for guided meditation with Amazon Alexa, including options to play purchased tracks from the Amazon music library or to find a track on a streaming service. My favorite skills have been the free Guided Meditation/Meditation of the Day which has several ad-free options for meditation, and Sleep Meditation. I’ve linked to another list of Amazon Alexa meditation skills below.
- 11 Best Alexa Meditation Skills for Relaxation and Sleep – Future Guidebook
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More ideas for how Amazon Alexa can help you sleep
- Alexa keeping you awake? Ask Alexa to turn on “do not disturb”, which will keep the device from lighting up or playing notifications, or create a routine in the Alexa app to enable Do Not Disturb at a certain time. Alarms will not be activated if Do Not Disturb is enabled
- For Amazon Echo devices with a screen such as Echo Show, I recommend enabling Night Mode, which features less bright lighting
- One of my friends mentioned talking in their sleep and activating their Amazon Echo Dot by mistake. They fixed this issue by pressing the Mute button on their Echo device before going to sleep, and they would unmute the device when their alarm would go off in the morning
- Amazon StoryTime is a free skill that can play bedtime stories for kids 5-12, though I have removed it from my recommendations as there is no way to filter by age group, which could potentially expose younger users to age-inappropriate content