Your Google Home ($99 at Walmart) speaker can help you get a good night’s rest, whether you had one cup of coffee too many or you can’t quite shut off your mind. While the device is helpful for scheduling your day, it’s also handy for unwinding, too.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, start with, “Hey, Google, I can’t sleep.” It’ll respond with a few options — nature sounds, ambient music or sleepy playlists to help you fall asleep. The one thing it doesn’t help with yet: nightmares.
Things you can say to a Google Home to get assistance in getting sleepy:
‘Hey, Google, play relaxing music’
Google will find a playlist of ambient music on YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora or Deezer if you have an account (if not, all these services all have free options). If you like the playlist, open the music app to save it. You can link your media accounts when you set up your speaker, or at any time using the Google Home app.
‘Hey, Google, play a podcast’
Listening to a podcast is one of my favorite ways to fall asleep when my mind just won’t shut off. Granted, if you just ask Google to play a podcast, it’ll pick a few at random, which may not interest you. But you can specify what you want to listen to. My personal favorite is the Sleep With Me podcast. It’s just interesting enough to distract your mind, and it’s got just the right amount of rambling to bore you. The Google Home worked best with the Google Podcasts app for me.
You can’t set a sleep timer vocally yet, but just tap the moon icon after you start an episode. You can choose for the podcast to stop after 5 minutes, 105 minutes or at the end of the episode. The app is packed with podcasts to help you sleep like Bedtime Stories for Nobody, the Sleep Meditation Podcast, One Third of Life, Tracks to Relax and Sleep Whispers.
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‘Hey, Google, play relaxing nature sounds’
You can make the request a few times until you settle on the sound you like. Some of the options I came across were rain, a babbling brook, crickets and chirping birds. Be careful with the water noises at night, though, unless you want a bathroom break too! The Google Home can also play a nature sounds playlist from your linked music apps.
‘Hey, Google, tell me a bedtime story’
I’m a fan of falling asleep to podcasts or TV shows. If your little one is having a hard time catching some z’s, try the Google Home’s bedtime story option. The tales are kid-focused but could provide some background noise for kids of any age to drift off to. Google picks out short stories from Google Play Books and Storynory. You can sort through 3- to 10-minute fairy tales, quirky stories or shorts about popular TV characters like Dora the Explorer.
‘Hey, Google, sing me a lullaby’
Another option to help kids get ready for bed is asking Google to sing or play a lullaby. You’ll find classics like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, a German Cradle Song and Rock-a-bye Baby with a reworked (less violent) ending.
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