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How to use your smart speaker for better sleep




Woman Sleeping In Bed With Voice Assistant On Bedside Table Next To Her

In addition to everything else your smart speaker can do (from weather forecasts to fact-checking to playing music), it can also help you improve your sleep. This could be, for example, playing sounds to help you fall asleep, or gently waking you up in the morning.

The sleep-boosting tricks we’re going to discuss here can be used on smart speakers from Amazon, Google, and Apple (as well as the smart displays), so there should be something here to suit your smart home setup.

Make some noise

You can choose from a wide range of sounds. Screenshot: Amazon

Your smart speaker can work as a sound machine if that helps you fall asleep. You can even choose from different colors of sound. If static electricity isn’t your thing, smart speakers can also play a variety of natural sounds, so you can drift off to the sound of a thunderstorm or the clack-clack of a train on the track.

Getting this setup is as simple as saying “play white noise”, “play pink noise” or “play the sounds of a thunderstorm” to your smart speaker, although they all work in slightly different ways in terms of how they react. For example, an Amazon Echo will try to find a specific app to help, while a Google Nest might load a song from YouTube – it really depends on what you asked for.

Go to the companion app on your phone (i.e. the Alexa app, the Google Home app, or the Home app for iOS) to see what’s currently playing and set options like a sleep timer. Most sounds can be configured to play throughout the night, or to turn themselves off after a certain amount of time has passed.

Evening and morning routines

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You can edit smart speaker alarms with the accompanying app. Screenshot: apple

Another way smart speakers can improve your sleep health is by giving you nudges to help you stick to a routine. For example, any smart speaker can set reminders: just ask for a reminder to be read at a certain time, when you know you’re going to have to prepare for some silence.

At the other end of the day, you can set an alarm to get out of bed in the same way. The available alarm sounds, which can be set via the app that comes with your smart speaker, include a number of gentle and soothing options. If you’re using a Google Nest smart display, you can adjust what’s labeled a in the alarm settings Pre-alarm sound that also comes before the alarm.

Smart speakers from Amazon, Google and Apple can all trigger routines alongside an alarm, so you can do things like turn your smart lights on gradually, or start a playlist specifically designed to get you out of bed without having to resort to take the snooze button (or a snooze voice command).

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Put a morning routine on your speaker. Screenshot: Google

In the Alexa app, tap the + (plus) button in the top right corner of it At home tab and then choose Routine. Set the time you want the routine to start (it can start with the sunrise time in your part of the world, if you wish) and then choose what you want the Echo to do. Some of the options include playing specific sounds, starting a playlist, and reading the news aloud.

In the Google Home app, go to the Automations tab and then choose + Add start. The options are pretty similar to those of the Echo speakers: you can choose a specific time for the routine to start or have it synced to your local sunrise time, and you can choose from a variety of sounds and audio sources to listen to, such as and you can control connected smart devices (for example, you can gradually brighten your smart lights so that you wake up more peacefully).

If you’re using a HomePod, open the Home app for iOS and go to the At home tab and then tap the + (plus) button up in the top right corner. To elect Add sceneThan Amendedand you’re ready to get started: just like with the Amazon and Google speakers, you can, among other things, softly turn on the smart lights and broadcast a specific playlist.

Other relaxation ideas for smart speakers

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Any iPhone audio can be sent to a HomePod via AirPlay. Screenshot: apple

There’s plenty more you can do with your smart speaker to help you relax before bed. Just think of the different types of audio it can produce. In addition to putting together a specially prepared playlist, you can also play an audiobook while you’re sleepy, or perhaps go through an audio meditation session.

Sometimes you can do this directly through the speaker (like with the Guided Meditations skill for the Amazon Echo) and other times you have to manage the audio on your phone and simply let it stream through your smart speaker (it certainly sounds better than on your phone), perhaps via an app like Headroom or Calm.

You can connect to Echo speakers wirelessly via Bluetooth (just say “Alexa, pair” to get into pairing mode), to Nest speakers via Chromecast (tap the Chromecast button in the app you’re using), and to HomePod speakers via AirPlay (tap the AirPlay logo in Control Center on your iPhone). All the necessary settings, including volume and sleep timers, can then be set on your phone before you wander off.