Can't sleep? Whether you're dealing with full blown insomnia, or are simply struggling to unwind in the evening, almost all of us could do to work on our improving our sleep quality, at least a little.
And while we always recommend incorporating specific activities into your night time routine – think a relaxing bath, a calming herbal tea, reading, or even essential oils – to improve sleep, you may not be aware that you can also tap into the sleep aids on offer from Alexa.
Seriously, if you have a smart speaker with Alexa built-in, you're only inches away from accessing a whole host of sleep meditations, ambient sleep sounds, comforting night lights and other skills designed to make it easier to fall asleep – and then stay asleep. Don't have an Amazon device, yet?. You may want to think about getting one...
1. Take time for meditation
We get it, meditation can seem super intimidating for those who are new to it, particularly if you're not used to being totally alone with your own thoughts. But, we promise it's nowhere near as scary as it may seem. And if you're struggling with sleep, it has truly transformative powers.
Why? Well, there's every chance that a racing mind – which could be caused by stress, anxiety or something else – is inhibiting your ability to sleep properly. Setting time aside to still your mind is a pro-active way of seeking to overcome this.
To make things a little easier, we'd recommend enlisting Alexa's help. Headspace is a great option for those who are beginners, promising to guide you through the stages of meditation slowly. Simply download the app, and use one of the following commands to get started.
- 'Alexa, open Headspace'
- 'Alexa, tell Headspace to start my daily meditation'
- 'Alexa, ask Headspace for today’s meditation'
- 'Alexa, tell Headspace I’m ready to sleep'
2. Remind yourself to take a break from technology
Did you know that the blue light emitted from screens has been proven to disrupt our circadian rhythms; stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall asleep? Yup, really.
So, if you're partial to a late night scroll, this could be the cause of your sleep-related woes. The solution? Well, we should all be aiming to step away from the screens at least an hour before bed.
Why not ask Alexa to set a daily reminder, about an hour and a half before bed time, to remind you to set your phone aside, stop answering work emails and take time to unwind.
3. Check out Alexa sleep sounds and nod off to rainfall, white noise, or Tibetan bowls
Find the silence of night makes your mind race? Access the wide range of calming sounds on offer as part of Alexa skills. We've spotted rainfall, white noise, Tibetan bowls and even womb sounds(?!), depending on your preference.
4. Set smart lights to help you wind down
If you're serious about improving sleep quality, it's also worth thinking about how the light in your space may be affecting your ability to fall asleep.
We spoke about circadian rhythms earlier and how light from screens can cause trouble when it comes to falling asleep. Well, same goes for the lighting inside your home. Unlike the sun, which starts to set in a bid to help humans unwind, artificial lighting is often too bright, too late.
We love the idea of using smart bulbs – Philips Hue are our favourites – to set schedules that gradually reduce the presence of light in a space. This way, you'll begin unwinding before you try to sleep, and have a greater chance of sleeping right through the night.