How to use Alexa sleep sounds and timers to get a better night's rest

Hit the sack with help from Amazon's smart assistant

How to sleep better with Alexa
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So, you need some help getting to sleep. Maybe you need something to soothe your mind after a long, hectic day at work. Maybe you just want something to drown out the sound of traffic outside. We get it.

Either way, Amazon Alexa can help. The company's smart assistant may be really good at playing music and answering your queries, but it can also help you when you need to get some Zs.

Read this: The best Alexa skills for your Echo

Don't worry, we got you. Below, we've assembled a look at how Alexa can help you get your beauty rest better than ever.

Use sleep sounds from Amazon Prime Music

If you're all-in on the Amazon ecosystem and have a subscription to Amazon Prime, you'll be able to take advantage of Prime Music to use sleep sounds. The way it works is pretty simple, all you have to do is say, "Alexa, play sleeping sounds on Amazon Prime Music."

Alexa will pull them from Amazon Prime Music. Of course, you can also create your own playlist and add sleeping sounds to it. But if you're in more of a pinch and want something for the right now, Alexa's got the medicine.

How to set a sleep timer with Alexa

Sweet dreams: How to sleep better with Alexa skills and features

Say you get Alexa to play you some ambient noise to rock you off to sleep. Do you really want that to play all night? It might just end up waking you up again. Or worse, your significant other might be driven crazy and toss your Alexa-enabled device out the window.

That wouldn't be good for anybody. It's exactly why there's a sleep timer, which tells Alexa to shut down the noise after a specified period of time.

All you have to do is tell Alexa how long you want to set the sleep timer. Try saying something like, "Alexa, set a sleep timer for one hour."

After an hour, Alexa will stop playing whatever podcast, music or story you're listening to automatically.

Listen to a podcast

Sometimes, the soothing voice of someone smarter and funnier than you talking about interesting things is the only way to go to sleep. In that case, a podcast might be exactly what you need.

Now, Alexa isn't naturally gifted at playing you podcasts. However, you can use TuneIn, AnyPod or Pocket Casts skills to listen to what you want. Hot tip: pair it with the sleep timer to turn off the podcast after a certain amount of time.

Also read: How to play podcasts on Amazon Echo

There's an added benefit to going with TuneIn over AnyPod and Pocket Casts, however. TuneIn works with Alexa Routines, which means you can set up a 'Good Night' routine that'll turn off your lights, get your room nice and comfy and play your sleep podcast. Sadly, Alexa can't fetch you milk and cookies too, but it's a start.

Get a bedtime story

Sweet dreams: How to sleep better with Alexa skills and features

Feel like regressing back to those better childhood days? Need something to help the kids nod off? Alexa can read out a bedtime story.

You'll have to turn to the Bedtime Story skill for this one to work. Once you do, you can even set it up with your name to get a little extra personalization. Here are some of the commands you can use:

"Alexa, open Bedtime Story."

"Alexa, tell a bedtime story to [x]."

Zen out with some meditation

Maybe all of this isn't your thing, and maybe you just need to clear your mind. In that case, your best bet is to turn to meditation. Specifically, you can turn to something like the Guided Meditation skill.

Each session lasts between three and eight minutes, and in addition to sessions focused on depression, stress relief and anxiety, there are meditations focused entirely on getting you to fall asleep. Try these on for size:

"Alexa, open Guided Meditation."

"Alexa, play next."

"Alexa, ask Guided Meditation to play meditation."

Get to bed on time

How to sleep better with Alexa

It's good to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. See, we tend to wake up the freshest when we time our waking up with our sleep cycles. But figuring out when we're in REM, deep or light sleep is complicated.

Sleep Buddy makes it a little more simple. You can simply ask when the best time for you to wake up is. Or, you can ask when the best time for you to sleep is. It's obviously not going to know for certain - not until Alexa gets brain wave-reading abilities - but it can take a good guess.

"Alexa, ask Sleep Buddy when the best time to go to sleep is if I want to wake up at 6am."

"Alexa, ask Sleep Buddy when I should wake up if I go to sleep at 10pm."

The best other sleep skills

Sleep Sounds

If Amazon's catalog of sleep noise and white noise isn't to your taste, you can always turn to Sleep Sounds, which houses over 40 noises that could put you right to sleep. Included sounds include ocean waves, airplanes, rain on tents and tin roofs, a washing machine and even a forest night.

To enable: "Alexa, open Sleep Sounds."

To command: "Alexa, ask Sleep Sounds for a list."

Night Light

Maybe you don't need sounds to soothe you to sleep, maybe you just need a nice warm light. We get it, complete and utter darkness isn't everyone's idea of a good sleeping environment, especially if you're used to the lights of a city peaking through your window. Night Light basically turns your Echo into, well, a night light. Go ahead, bask in the turquoise-y glow.

To enable: "Alexa, open Night Light."

To command: "Alexa, open Night Light for 30 minutes."

More Amazon Alexa how-tos

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