Did you know, Alexa can do far more than just tell you the weather? In fact, she’s packed with a number of clever functions that can help you sleep better at night. Sure, there are plenty of meditation and sleep apps you can download to your phone, but if you’re interested in turning your Alexa device or Alexa speaker into a sleep aid, read on.
But how can Amazon’s persona voice assistant help you nod off faster, or stay asleep for longer? Along with the best Alexa skills, Alexa can play ambient sounds (think rain sounds, babbling brooks, and sounds of the ocean), offer guided meditations, and even read you a bedtime story.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the key Alexa sleep skills, and how to activate them on your device.
The best Alexa sleep skills to try tonight:
Plug your Alexa device in beside your bedside table, and get ready to unwind. All of the skills below can be downloaded onto your Alexa device. To do this, open the Alexa app on your mobile phone, tap the more icon, and select Skills & Games from the sidebar. Tap on the search icon in the top right, and search for “sleep” to find a host of tools to add to your Alexa. Not sure where to start? We’ve hand-picked some of our favorites below.
Most of the skills below will continue to play until the morning (unless you wake up in the night and say “Alexa, stop”), but you can also set a sleep timer, that will shut everything down automatically. To do this, once you’ve selected your sleep skill and it’s playing, you can say “Alexa, set a sleep timer for one hour”, or for however long you’d like your sleep skill to play.
Sleep sounds (opens in new tab) is a little like a white noise machine for a baby. It’ll play relaxing sounds to help you relax, while also drowning out the sounds of your dog moving around the house, the traffic, or your annoying neighbors.
To use the sleep skill, start by saying “Alexa, open Sleep Sounds” and Alexa will ask you what sound you’d like to play on a loop (we’re a fan of the thunderstorm mode). To hear the full list of sounds you can nod off to, say “Alexa, ask Sleep Sounds for a list”, and Alexa will read the different sounds out, and send a list to your smartphone app. The sound will play continuously, but if you’d rather it turn off, you can say “Alexa, stop in four hours”, or whatever duration you’d like.
It’s not only kids that hate the dark, and if you’re still not a fan of nodding off in the pitch black, Night Light (opens in new tab) lets Alexa cast a subdued glow over the room. It’s also handy if you’re getting up in the middle of the night to tend to a baby, or go to the bathroom.
To use the Night Light sleep skill, say “Alexa, open night light”, or turn it on or off using your phone. If you’d like the light to turn off after a certain amount of time, you can say, “Alexa, open night light for ten minutes”.
The Sweet Dreams (opens in new tab) skill allows you to play sleep music, and also guided meditations from your Alexa. Meditation has been proven to help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, in turn helping you fall asleep faster.
To get started, say “Alexa, open Sweet Dreams” where you will be prompted to say “Sound” or “Meditation” to play one chosen by the app. Alternatively, you can pick between the sounds on the app: rain, surf, stream, forest, canyon, desert, and brook. The available meditations are: falling asleep, soften and relax, breathing in waves, and review the day. You can say things like “Alexa, ask Sweet Dreams to play Rain for 1 hour”, or “Alexa, ask Sweet Dreams to play Falling Asleep”.
The Sleep w/me (opens in new tab) skill is another that provides you with a guided meditation to help you nod off easier. There’s only one, 18-minute meditation to choose from, but it has a number of five-star reviews from users saying it helps them to relax and unwind before bed.
To start the meditation, say “Alexa, start sleep meditation”, and it’ll talk you through all the steps needed to unwind before bed.
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness between waking and sleep, almost like the “going-to-sleep” stage. It’s long been used as a form of relaxation and meditation, and you can try it from your Alexa using the Yoga Nidra For Sleep (opens in new tab) skill.
To get started, say “Alexa, open Yoga Nidra Meditation”, and follow the 20-minute meditation, either before bed, or when winding down before you get into bed.
You’re never too old for a bedtime story. The Sleep Tales (opens in new tab) skill combines relaxing bedtime sounds with a gentle story to help you unwind and relax before falling asleep. There’s a free or paid option of the skill, with premium members getting a wider selection of stories to choose from.
To try it, say “Alexa, open sleep tales”. You can choose to play a random tale, which the app will select for you, or one of the ones available on the free app. The tales you have to choose from are: Beauty and the Beast, Robinson Crusoe, Amboseli, A Day on the Bay, The Velveteen Rabbit. You can also say things like, “Alexa, open sleep tales and play Beauty and the Beast”.
Sleep stories (opens in new tab) is another sleep skill that reads you a nighttime tale to help you drop off to sleep. There’s a free and premium membership, with the premium stories being read by professional actors.
To try it, say, “Alexa, play Sleep Stories”, and Alexa will play a story at random. If you’re not enjoying the tale, you can skip to a new one saying, “Alexa, ask Sleep Stories to play the next story”.