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Alexa wants to help you sleep, here’s what you need to ask your Amazon Echo to test it out

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If you’re struggling to sleep, AI assistant Alexa might be able to help. The chatty hands-free assistant, which is the brains inside the hugely-successful Amazon Echo as well as a number of Smart TVs, smartwatches, Bluetooth speakers, smartphones and more, has a number of features that might help you drift off at night.

Amazon is always adding new features and tweaking existing tricks behind-the-scenes (remember when it added a reference to the Handforth Parish Council meeting within hours of Jackie Weaver going viral) and after World Sleep Day on Friday March 19, it highlighted some of the Alexa features designed to boost your kip.

Here are some of our favourites…

Guided Meditation

Alexa offers a wide variety of meditation and mindfulness Skills, accessible via the Alexa companion app on your iPhone or Android device, which can be a great way to wind down after a stressful day before heading to bed. Of course, it you’d rather not pull-out your phone, you can use voice commands to kickstart the feature. For a short meditation, say “Alexa, ask Sweet Dreams to play [name of meditation].” Here, you can plump for meditations such as “Falling Asleep,” “Soften and Relax,” “Breathing in Waves,” and “Review the Day.”

Each mediation runs for a certain number of minutes and provides guided steps for deep breathing and other actions designed to calm your mind and body.

Night Light

Not everyone sleeps all that well in a pitch-black room …but sometimes a lamp or a bedside light can be a little too much. If you’re only looking for a little glow to lessen the gloom in your room, then Alexa lets you put the Echo or Echo Dot’s ring light to good use.

Just say “Alexa, open night light” and the top of your Echo will start glowing and pulsing. This is especially useful if you find yourself needing to get out of bed at night because it offers just the right amount of light. When you’re ready to turn the night light off, just say “Alexa, stop.”

Of course, if you have an Alexa Smart Plug, then you can also use the chatty AI to take control of the lighting in your room. If you want to leave a lamp on whilst you fall asleep but are worried about leaving it on all night, then simply set up a timed routine using the Alexa app which will allow you to select when the light is turned off each night. Smart light bulbs that can be added to the Alexa app can do all the same tricks too.

Relaxation Music

Alexa can help you drift off to sleep by serving up relaxing music. Say “Alexa, play relaxation music.” Alexa plays a restful music playlist to clear your mind and relax your body as you fall asleep. You can also set a music timer to specify how long you want Alexa to play music by saying “Alexa, play relaxation music for one hour”.

Ambient Sounds

The Relaxing Sounds Alexa Skill can play an array of sounds, such as ocean waves, a babbling brook, a rainforest, frogs, pink noise, windy trees, rain on a tent, dripping water, a blizzard, an owl, cicadas, and loons. To discover all the sounds, look up the Skill in the Alexa app or say “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for a list.”

To hear a specific sound, say: “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for ocean waves,” for example. If you’re stuck on what to ask for, you can also say “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for a random sound,” to let the skill pick the sound.

Sleep Stories

Whether you’re an adult trying to fall asleep or you have a child struggling to drift off, sometimes a good bedtime story can help. With the Sleep Stories Alexa Skill, a soothing voice tells you a story designed to help you drift off. Say “Alexa, play Sleep Stories,” and the voice starts narrating a random story. If you don’t like the current story, just say “Alexa, ask Sleep Stories to play next story” and a new story starts playing.



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