The Amazon Echo smart speaker is a popular device found in many homes. These speakers found their way into our kitchens, family rooms, and even our bedrooms. Undeniably, there are downsides to smart speakers and there is a price we pay to bring them into our homes. However, smart speakers can also be very beneficial and even be tools for self-improvement.
One area that Alexa can help us with is sleep. If you are going to put an Amazon Echo device in your bedroom, then you might as well use it to help you sleep. Alexa can be a great sound machine to help you fall asleep and a great smart alarm clock to gently wake you up.
One of the best ways to use Alexa is as a sound machine. Stand-alone sound machines are already found in a lot of bedrooms. These devices can be very beneficial for sleep. A sound machine can help you fall asleep faster and help you stay asleep longer by drowning out noises.
Sound machines are also great for providing ambient noise to block out distractions. This is perfect for improving focus while studying, writing, or reading.
If you own an Alexa Echo device, then (surprise) you already have a sound machine that is voice-activated and constantly updated with more sounds to help you relax.
Alexa can also help us with self-improvement as a meditation guide. Meditation is very beneficial for managing stress and anxiety. Our daily lives at home, school, and work are filled with stressful events. Learning to manage this stress through meditation is a great skill to acquire.
Fortunately, there are several Alexa skills available that are a great introduction to using meditation to manage these stresses. Even though meditation has been around for hundreds of years, technology brings it right to our fingertips.
Adding daily meditations is as important and beneficial as physical exercise. Don’t want to use a smart speaker for meditation? You can find more guided meditations to play on your phone and computer.
There are several Alexa skills available to play sounds and noises to improve focus and sleep.
When using Alexa, just remember that you can set a sleep timer to turn the music/sound off later. Just say, “Alexa…set a sleep timer for 2 hours.” Alexa will automatically turn off the sound after the time you specify. Check out this complete list of Alexa commands for music and more.
Voice Enable: Alexa, Open Sleep Sounds
Read More and Enable: Sleep and Relaxation Sounds
One of the most popular sleep sounds skills on Alexa. With over 125 different high-quality sounds, you will find sounds for sleep and sounds for focus. This skill contains some of the most popular sleep sounds including Ocean, Rain, White Noise and Thunderstorm.
Sounds are automatically played on a loop until you say “Alexa, stop.” You can also set a sleep timer as described above to stop the sounds after a period of time.
This app also offers premium features such as combining sounds to create an unlimited combinations of unique sounds.
Voice Enable: Alexa, Open Sweet Dreams
Read More and Enable: Sweet Dreams: Sounds & Meditations for Sleep
A popular and simple skill for providing both sounds and meditation for sleep, this command includes seven sounds (Rain, Surf, Stream, Forest, Canyon, Desert, and Brook). However, the most beneficial feature of this skill is sleep meditation.
The Sweet Dreams skill includes four different sleep medications to help you fall asleep quickly. After finishing a meditation, the skill will play the ambient sound of your choice.
Multiple users say this skill helps them fall asleep in minutes.
Voice Enable: Alexa, Open Zen Sounds
Read More and Enable: Zen Sounds
Zen Sounds is a skill that helps you create a relaxing mood in your home. This app includes 12 custom, high-quality audio streams that are great for relaxation or meditation. The following sounds are included:
This is a highly rated skill with just one major complaint. The app will repeat the opening instructions every time it is enabled. You can avoid this by saying, “Alexa, ask Zen Sounds to Play [sound name].” This will start your sound of choice immediately without having to wait through the instructions.
Alexa makes it extremely convenient to try out a guided meditation. The Alexa skills below allow you to choose a meditation and a gentle voice will guide you through various exercises. This is a great way to get introduced to meditation and the benefits it can provide to you.
Voice Enable: Alexa, Open Guided Meditation
Read More and Enable: Guided Meditation
Get a new guided meditation every day with this skill. There are over 70 different guided meditations between 1 and 9 minutes long. This includes mindfulness and breathing exercises. The length is perfect for fast-paced lives. The app allows you to cycle through all of the different meditations. If you don’t like the suggested meditation of the day then you can simply say “Alexa, play next.”
This skill includes guided meditation to help with anxiety and stress, depression, focus, compassion, sleep and more.
Voice Enable: Alexa, Open Mindful Meditation
Read More and Enable: Mindful Meditation
This is a simple, easy to use skill with 5 meditations available. The meditations are focused on length so you can choose what fits best for you at the time. The lengths include 3, 4, 5, 10 and 20-minute meditations.
You can even set your preferred length by saying “Alexa, ask Mindful Meditation to set default meditation to three.” Alexa will automatically start the 3-minute meditation when you open the skill.
This is a great app to use if you just want to try out and learn how to meditate.
Technology can be a great enabler if it is used correctly. The Amazon Echo devices have some great skills to help you sleep, focus, and meditate. Try out one or two of the skills above to positively impact restfulness and focus for you and your family.