The Amazon Echo and Alexa make brilliant bedtime partners, with an array of features for alarms, music and radio. But if you’re just using your Amazon Echo as a basic alarm clock, you’re missing out on its huge potential for a better night’s sleep.
While a few years ago sleep trackers were all the rage, your Amazon Echo has a bunch of great skills to replicate many of the features. Let’s get stuck in.
How to set an Alexa alarm
This is the easy one: just say “Alexa, set an alarm for [time].” Alexa will then confirm with you, normally questioning AM/PM if you forgot to say. You can also add as many alarms as you want, so it’s fine to add ones for you and your partner.
When your alarm sounds just say “Alexa, turn off” or whatever you can muster. But don’t forget “Alexa, snooze” for that all-important 10 more minutes. (It's actually nine minutes).
How to set a music/radio alarm via Alexa
This one didn’t exist when Alexa first launched, but it was honestly the first thing we tried. You can ask “Alexa, wake me up to [song name] by [artist] at [time]”, or even just an artist radio by not specifying a song. It works with Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.
You can do it with pretty much any radio station, via the TuneIn skill. Just say “Alexa, wake me up to [radio station] at time” to get a gentler wake up.
It applies to the news as well. Just ask “Alexa, wake me up to [news service] at [time].”
Play bedtime sounds & use the sleep timer
OK – that’s the basics of alarm clocks, pretty simple. But what about going to sleep? Well, there are a few neat Alexa skills there as well. Try “Alexa, play ambient sounds” to get a list of relaxing soundscapes to drift off to. You can also try things like “bedtime music” or “sleep sounds” as well.
Most of Alexa’s sleep tracks last an hour, but there are also a few clever things you can do. Our favourite is “Alexa, turn music off in XX minutes”, so you can drift off, and not get woken back up by the sound of crashing waves. Pretty useful. You can also do the opposite, and say “Alexa, loop this track” to have it played all night.
Create a brilliant bedtime/morning routine
Of course, you can also use Alexa groups to set up a perfect bedtime or wake up routine.
Set these up within the Routines section of the Alexa app. For the bedtime routine this can involve turning off the lights, dimming lights to a certain level and colour. That one already exists in the app by default, just as an example, and you say "Alexa, bedtime" to enable it.
Read more: How smart lighting can benefit your health
Likewise, a morning one could involve powering up your coffee machine, turning the lights on and reading you the news, weather or traffic update. It’s neat, but the only really irritating omission is that you can’t select music, radio or specific skills. We’re sure that’s incoming.
Only some of these features are available via the Alexa app, but you can automate them via Yonomi, a free smart home app. That is in turn controllable via Alexa, so you can create the conditions in Yonomi, and map that to a command such as “Alexa, start bedtime.” Check out our full guide to Yonomi to get started.