Whilst there are a plethora of paid-for and free sleep, meditation and general wellbeing apps on the popular app stores for your smart phone, the ever more ubiquitous Amazon Alexa devices can perform similar functions much more naturally. All you have to do is ask.
How can Alexa help me sleep?
Simply place your Alexa device near your bed and use skills that will play soothing sounds, offer guided sleep meditations, play restful music, or tell you a bedtime story. Open the Alexa app on your mobile phone or tablet. Tap the 'More' icon in the lower right and select 'Skills & Games' from the sidebar. Tap the search icon in the upper right and search for “sleep” to find many sleep-inducing skills. Or simply ask Alexa to 'Help me sleep?' and you'll be recommended a suitable skill to try.
Some great options
'Relaxing Sounds' is a skill that will play a variety of sounds, such as ocean waves, a babbling brook, a rainforest, frogs, pink noise, windy trees and so on. To learn all the sounds, check the skill’s Alexa page or say “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for a list.” To hear a specific sound, say “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for [name of sound],” such as “Alexa, ask Relaxing sounds for windy leaves” or “Alexa, ask Relaxing sounds for a boat ride.” You can also say “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for a random sound,” to let the skill pick a sound.
The 'sleep w/ me' guided sleep meditation offers just one meditation, complete with a soothing voice that takes you through some breathing exercises. Say “Alexa, play Sleep meditation.” The 18-minute meditation prompts you to lie down and listen to the sound of their voice. After asking you to take three deep breaths, the voice gently helps you to relax and drift away.
But it'll play all night?
Many of these skills will continue playing until you say "Alexa, stop.", which you obviously don't want to have to wake up for. To stop them them running all night, activate your skill and then say "Alexa, set a sleep timer for [period of time]." For example, you could say “Alexa, ask Relaxing Sounds for ocean waves." When the wave sound begins, say "Alexa, set a sleep timer for one hour." Alexa will acknowledge the request, and the wave sound will stop after 60 minutes. Simple.
So if you usually struggle to fall asleep and have an Alexa device, why not give it a go? She might just become your new best bedtime friend.