Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.
Alexa Sound Machine
Turn your Amazon Echo into a sound machine with these 10 must-have Amazon Alexa skills.
If you own an Echo device, then you no longer have to purchase a sound machine because Alexa can loop and play sounds like rain or thunderstorms in an instant.
However, if you want more white noise variety, then check out these ten skills that are sure to help you sleep better and get through the night.
10. Sleep and Relaxation Sounds
"Alexa, open Sleep Sounds".
This is the top rated and most rated skill in the Alexa app, and it's one I've included in my Top 25 Most Useful Alexa skills list for good reason.
There are over 50 free sounds to choose from including: ocean, rain, babbling brook, wind chimes, fountain, underwater, mountain lake, and many more.
The sounds will play as long as you want them to or you can set a sleep timer to shut them off after a certain time. The sound quality is excellent, and there's even a new feature called "sleep stories", which takes those 50 sounds and integrates them with a short story (excellent for kids).
As far as sleep skills go, this is definitely one you can't afford to pass on.
9. Ambient Sounds
"Alexa, open Rain Sounds."
The Ambient Sounds skill is a must have if you want quick access to a variety of white noise sounds.
Some of the sounds included are: thunderstorm, rain, ocean, city, fan, cat, clock, bird, train, frog, fireplace, and rainforest.
To activate any of those sounds, the Alexa command must always be followed with sounds ("Alexa, open ocean sounds").
By default each sound will play for an hour, but you can choose to have them play on a loop until you're ready to say stop.
I'm a fan of these skills because unlike the skill above, you can get right into the noise without added context from Alexa.
8. Night Light
"Alexa, open Night Light."
You can turn your Echo into your very own night light with this cool, new skill.
When the skill is properly activated, you'll get a dull, pulsing glow on top of your Echo, which is just bright enough to see where you're going.
Make sure you enable the still with the star logo.
If you get a message that says, "Welcome to night light", then it's the wrong skill and you must disable it first before activating this one.
The night light will be on for as long as you want it to, and each separate Echo device can be activated.
This is a perfect skill for those of us that can't sleep without a little light or for those who have to get up in the middle of the night.
7. Sleep Sounds: White Noise
"Alexa, open White Noise".
The main Sleep Sounds skill is derived from the makers of the "Sleep and Relaxation Sounds" skill, so you know it's going to be great.
Additional sounds from "Sleep Sounds" include: beautiful dream, sleep little babies, small lake, jungle night, forest bird sounds, box fan, music box, and airplane sounds.
Some of us just want to hear pure white noise while we're trying to sleep, and this skill serves that very purpose. You can play it as long as you want, but if you forget to set a timer, it'll simply keep looping on its own.
This is a fantastic skill that I use everyday, and I found it to be even more powerful than other noise apps. If you're having trouble sleeping, then you should definitely play some white noise to ease the pain.
6. Short Bedtime Story
"Alexa, launch Bedtime Story".
The Bedtime Story skill gives you just the right amount of story before you go to sleep. It's also a great way to get your little ones to bed because of how personal it is.
Each story can be customized by name, so you can have your son, daughter, or yourself play the main lead in your very own adventure.
That sounds like an awesome way to fall asleep and go off to dreamland if you ask me.
5. Sleep Buddy
"Alexa, ask Sleep Buddy when should I go to bed to wake up at 6:00 am".
I thought this was a neat little skill that could pinpoint the best sleep and wake up times for those looking to make the most out of their day.
You can ask what time you should wake up or what time you should go to bed based on real time sleep. The "Buddy" use calculated REM sleep properties to determine those times, but it should not be used as a medical tool.
However I've found it to be pretty accurate, and if you need a sleep reminder, then this is a good skill to use.
4. Zen Sounds
"Alexa, open Zen Sounds".
The Zen Sounds skill is packed with over a dozen relaxing, high quality audio streams for meditation, relaxation, or sleep.
Some of the sounds included are:
- Delta sounds
- Future sounds
- Sailing sounds
- Wolf sounds
- Japanese Garden Sounds
- Spirit Sounds
Like other sleep skills, each designated sound will play for at least one hour, which should be plenty to help you calm down.
This skill is quickly growing in popularity and it's one of the most enabled skills in the Alexa app, so you need to check it out.
These sounds are so different from standard noise machines, and they may even be more beneficial to some than white noise players for sleep.
3. Guided Meditation: Meditation of the Day for Calm
"Alexa, open Guided Meditation".
You can choose from a variety of quick 6-7 minute meditation sessions developed to put your body & mind at ease.
The meditations are developed to help those with:
- Anxiety & stress
- Falling Asleep
I'm a huge fan of meditations, and I love the guided approach this skill offers especially if you're struggling with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
You can always say "play next" to move to the next session or just say stop altogether to end it.
The deep breathing exercises and the step by step methods are of excellent quality, and I think those who struggle with sleep will really appreciate this skill.
"Alexa, start Earplay".
Earplay is another story based skill that has a lot of promise. The previews are already very dramatic, they are interactive, and the stories are of high quality.
Earplay is a story app for adults, and it's a nice dozer before you go to sleep. They offer several experimental stories that are expected to grow and develop over time.
The quality of each story is fantastic, and I look forward to how they'll develop this already successful skill further.
If you're looking for a mature, quick, and interactive bedtime story, then Earplay satisfies all that and more.
1. Fox News
"Alexa, what's my Flash Briefing?".
The news skills aren't just for you morning risers, they're also great for those who want to hear an evening/overnight update.
One of the top enabled news skills is Fox News because they offer extensive coverage on the most important events of the day.
Of course there are a ton of other news skills including:
- NPR Hourly News
- The Daily Show
So whether you want to the top stories of the day or get a quick update, you should definitely enable these skills as part of your flash briefing.
And now you can do even more with a simple command.
You can create routines in the Alexa app that will let you listen the your news skills via flash briefing, the weather, traffic, and control smart devices all at once.
With Alexa you now have the perfect sleep & wake up routine, and these news skills play a massive role in that.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
William Hall on June 19, 2020:
I need to set timer for sleep sounds as an hour is not enough. I set timer for two hours but it automatically turns off after an hour. What gives?
Brian on March 21, 2020:
Is there a complete list of the Ambient Sounds for Alexa?
Bob on March 04, 2020:
Number one is recommending listening to news to encourage sleep? Really? Makes me now question your first nine recommendations.
R Ca on March 02, 2020:
OMG where are the free sleeping sounds im not so happy with Alexa
Mollie on February 14, 2020:
I don't understand all the liberal hate. Fox News is the highest rated NEWS show on cable TV. But the haters just don't understand.
drgjr on February 08, 2020:
fox isn't news it is only conservative commentary without actual news
Oops on December 10, 2019:
Sleep sounds stopped working, now it just has adds. Good luck
margaret on September 23, 2019:
where is the extra 25 sounds?????
MichelleB on September 21, 2019:
Actually I prefer Fox News... I find MSNBC and CNN to be the fake news propaganda channels.
margaret on September 19, 2019:
extra 25 sleep sounds do not work amazon we paid our money for the device stop trying to make us pay for stuff that should be free
Archer on August 19, 2019:
Nice review except for the plug for the Fox News Propaganda channel, the originators and masters of fake news.
Marcella Rice on March 26, 2019:
IMPOSSIBLE to retrieve the extra FREE 25 sleep sounds and instructional emails are Worthless!! Fox News???? Are you kidding me?
Karen M. Hansson on January 31, 2019:
Someone didn't do their research. Sleep Sounds is getting terrible reviews because after you pay for the premium package NOTHING works. The email address they provide for "support" (what a joke) comes back as "undeliverable."
Patrick on January 30, 2019:
Good list, except for pushing fox fascist propaganda network.
I can't even imagine the stupidity require to think fox is news.