We all know how important it is to get a good seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night, but sometimes drifting off when we hit the hay can be a real challenge.
Stress is a common factor shared by those who struggle to sleep soundly, and sleep experts like Dr Matthew Walker regularly sing the praises of a regular bedtime routine to help us unwind and switch off.
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Thankfully, part of this routing can be as simple as asking the Google Assistant to play soothing sounds to help you get to sleep. The voice assistant is loaded with 15 different ambient sounds, ranging from running water and rainfall, to distant thunderstorms and white noise.
The sounds can be asked for in a number of ways. To let Google pick which effect to play, say: "Hey/Okay Google, help me relax" or: "Hey Google, play ambient noise". Then, if you want to try something else, you can ask: "Okay Google, what other ambient sounds do you know?"
If white noise is more your thing, then just say: "Hey Google, play white noise"
Alternatively, you can ask for Google Assistant to play a specific sound. These include crackling fires, roaring rivers, the distant wildlife of a forest, or weather like rain and thunderstorms.
All of Google's ambient sounds can be played by all Google and Nest smart speakers and displays. This includes the Google Home, Home Mini and Home Max, plus the Nest Mini, Google Home Hub, and Nest Hub Max. Alternatively, you can ask the Google Assistant on your smartphone, then have the sound play through the phone's speaker, earphones, or through a Bluetooth-connected speaker.
The full list of ambient sounds, published by Google itself, is as follows:
- Relaxing sounds
- Nature sounds
- Water sounds
- Running water sounds
- Outdoor sounds
- Babbling brook sounds
- Oscillating fan sounds
- Fireplace sounds
- Forest sounds
- Country night sounds
- Ocean sounds
- Rain sounds
- River sounds
- Thunderstorm sounds
- White noise
As well as playing ambient sounds, the Google Assistant also has access to a range of children's stories and lullabies. We know that asking an AI to read your child a bedtime story is a bit like something from Black Mirror, but your kids might well enjoy it.
When asked to read a bedtime story, the assistant picks out stories from Google Play Books and Storynory, and you can pick titles that range from three to 10 minutes. Options include fairy tales, quirky stories, or stories based on popular kids' TV characters.
Alternatively, ask the Google Assistant to sing a lullaby and it'll sing classics like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Rock-a-bye-Baby (which has thankfully been reworded with a less traumatic ending).
Finally, there are some third-party options to consider. One if the most popular is called Sleep Sounds, by Healing.fm. This voice app includes 45 hour-long sleep sounds like thunderstorms, rain and lullabies. They can all be set to an endless loop, if you want to keep the sound going all night.
- City Rain
- Pink noise
You can learn more about what smart home devices work with Google Home or Home Mini by visiting GearBrain's HERE'S WHAT WORKS WITH GOOGLE HOME AND THE GOOGLE HOME MINI.