Got a smart device or a few? Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your smart assistant to assist you in establishing a relaxing evening routine
1. Tooth brushing routine
Establish good brushing habits for little ones while making it easy and fun for them with Chompers. This voice app has jokes, riddles, stories, fun facts, silly songs, and more ways to keep kids entertained for two full minutes while they brush. It also keeps count of the times they brush and celebrates their streaks. It is available both on the Alexa and Google platforms. To launch, simply say “Alexa/Hey Google, start Chompers.”
2. Bedtime story
One of the best things about going to bed is a good bedtime story — there are so many fun options to choose from with your smart speaker!
Some of our favorite options include:
The Magic Door (Alexa-only) — kids use their imagination and make choices that drive the outcome of the story, resulting in satisfying results. With over 2,000 reviews, this is one of the most popular and best rated storytelling skills available for Alexa. Just say, “Alexa, open the magic door” to open the skill.
Short Bedtime Story (Alexa and Google Home) — this highly popular voice app allows the stories to be personalized with the child’s name. It will surely make bedtime reading quick, easy, and enjoyable! To launch, say, “Alexa/Hey Google, launch Bedtime Story.”
Disney and Little Golden Books (Google Home only)— add magic to your read-along with interactive features such as music and other special effect sounds to make story time truly immersive. To get started, just say “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney.” Or, indicate the specific book title you’d like to read, “Hey Google, read along with Moana.”
3. Night light
Did you know that you can use your Echo device as a night light?
Be it that your little one finds it comforting, or that you have to get up to use the restroom in the dark, your Echo’s light ring can double as a Night Light. Although there are several skills that offer this feature, we recommend the Night Light skill by labworks.io.
Pro Tip: You can actually set the nightlight on a timer. To light up, simply say, “Alexa, open Night Light for 10 minutes.”
4. Read a book
Bedtime stories aren’t only for kids! Have your smart speaker read you a story by linking your audiobooks to your device.
On Alexa: Play your Audible or Kindle library on your Echo device. There are two ways to do so:
- by voice command — simply ask Alexa to read your titles or open a specific book you have in mind. You can launch it by saying, “Alexa, open my Kindle Library…” or “Alexa, continue reading The Handmaid’s Tale;” or
- via Alexa app > on the bottom bar click Play > scroll down to Audible or Kindle Library, scroll through your library, click on the desired title and select the desired device for casting
On Google: Once you’ve bought and downloaded your audiobooks on Google Play Books, simply ask your device to read your desired title, “Hey Google, read A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1.”
Pro Tip: You can change the audio speed on both Alexa or your Google Home. To do so, simply state your desired playback speed. For example, say “Alexa/Hey Google, play slower/faster” … “Play twice as fast,” or “Play at half the speed.”
Had a long day? Need help unwinding? Have your smart device assist you with a relaxation or meditation exercise. There are numerous options available to cast. Some great options for guided meditation include:
- Headspace — Headspace Sleepcast on Alexa and Headspace on Google Assistant
- Sweet Dreams: Sounds & Meditations for Sleep — Available on Alexa
- Calm — Available on Google Assistant
6. Ambient sounds
Enjoy the sound of rain, thunderstorms, or waves as you fall asleep? Use your smart devices to cast ambient sounds to help you relax and fall asleep faster.
There are various excellent options available, our favorites include:
- Sleep Sounds (Alexa) — this is one of the highest rated and most popular skills for Amazon Alexa — it’s also one of our favorite bedtime skills! With sounds such as thunderstorms, babbling brook, ocean waves, and rain on a tin roof, you’re almost guaranteed to find a favorite soothing sound or two. To launch, just say, “Alexa, open Sleep Sounds.” For a specific sound, say, “Alexa, ask Sleep Sounds for rain sounds.”
Pro Tip: Set your sleep sounds on a timer. Simply say, “Alexa, set babbling brook for 3 hours” to turn off after 2 hours. If you’d like to play all night, just say, “Alexa, play thunderstorm on loop.”
- Ambient Sounds (Google) — simply say, “Hey Google, play ambient noise” or ask it for a specific sound “play thunderstorm sounds.”
7. Ideal bedtime advice
Adulting can be hard, so can be staying on a consistent sleep schedule — use your Echo device to help you figure out what time you need to go to bed to wake up well rested. Launch Sleep Buddy (currently only available on Alexa) and have it determine the best time for you to go to sleep or wake up to feel well rested. Simply say, “Alexa, ask Sleep Buddy when should I go to bed to wake up at 6:15 AM.”
8. Set up alarms
Once you’ve determined your wake up time, use your Alexa or Google Home to set up your morning alarm. It’s as simple as saying, “Alexa/Hey Google, set an alarm for [time].”
Pro Tip 1: Personalize your alarm by setting it a celebrity voice.
- On Alexa: Open Alexa app > tap on the menu button (hamburger icon) in the top left corner > Reminders & Alarms > scroll down to Settings (tap) > Custom Sounds and simply select from the Celebrity Sounds or Default Sounds menu
- On Google: You can also set a character alarm, to do so, say, “Ok Google, set a Character Alarm.” Available characters include Lego City, Lego Friends, Lego Life, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Hatchimals. You can also change your device’s voice, simply say, “Hey Google, talk like a Legend” to set your assistant’s voice to that of John Legend.
Pro Tip 2: Set your alarm to the tune of news or music. Just say, “Alexa/Hey Google, wake me up to Every Morning by Sugar Ray at 6:15 am.”
9. Turn off lights
There are several ways in which you can have Alexa or Google Home control your lights. One is to have smart lights set up, another is to have an Alexa or Google enabled plug — don’t let this fancy sounding tech deter you, there are numerous options available for purchase at various price points. This is especially handy when you’re just too exhausted to get out of bed, but realize that you left the lights on in a different room. Just say, “Alexa/Hey Google, turn off the kitchen lights.”
Pro Tip: This can also be done for an Alexa or Google enabled thermostat, alarm system or locks.
10. Goodnight routine
You can have Alexa/Google Home wish you a good night, which is quite sweet. However, if you’d like to kick it up a notch and explore your smart home/tech side a bit more, you can also set up a night routine activated by simply saying “good night” to your device. For instance, “Alexa/Hey Google, good night,” might turn off all of the lights and play ambient sounds, or perhaps turn off the lights and lock all of the doors.
- On Alexa: Open Alexa app > tap on the menu button (hamburger icon) in the top left corner > Routines > Create Routine, follow the instructions to set up your night time routine’s command and action(s).
- On Google: Open the Google Home app > tap Routines > Manage routines, and follow the instructions to set up the commands for your new routine
We hope that these handy tips will help you hack your way into a more restful night!
If you found this post helpful, share it with other voice tech enthusiasts. Also make sure to follow this blog if you want to see more!