5 ways your Google Nest smart speaker can help you get to sleep
If counting sheep and melatonin have failed, Google might be able to help.
Shelby BrownEditor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
If you're having trouble sleeping, start with, "Hey, Google, I can't sleep." It'll respond with a few options -- nature sounds, deep breathing, counting sheep, ambient music or sleepy playlists to help you fall asleep. Unfortunately, it doesn't yet have a cure for nightmares.
Google will find a playlist of ambient music on
, 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.
Google can 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. My Google Home worked best with the Google Podcasts app for me.
You can't set a sleep timer vocally yet, but just tap the moonicon 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
to help you sleep like Bedtime Stories for Nobody, the Sleep Meditation Podcast, One Third of Life, Tracks to Relax and Sleep Whispers.
Watch this: 7 ways smart home devices can help you sleep better
Who doesn't love 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 or Nest 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, so make sure you have those apps installed. You can sort through 3- to 10-minute fairy tales, quirky stories or shorts about popular TV characters like Dora the Explorer.
Yes, Google can sing you 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.