Adam Molina / Android Authority
I’ve had smart speakers since the first Google Home was announced in 2016 and, for those six years, I’ve known that you can use the speaker to play different relaxing sounds like a make-shift white noise machine. But the feature always seemed like a cool party trick to me and nothing more because I grew up in a society where white noise is rarely, if ever, used for relaxation and sleep.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I was suffering from a terrible allergic cough, woozy on cough medicine, and struggling to relax to take a proper nap. Out of frustration and with one half-eye open and three-quarters of a groggy brain, I told my Nest Audio to “play white noise.” I closed my eyes and in less than five minutes, I was fast asleep. When I woke up three hours later, the distinct flat, static sound was still continuously playing from the speaker. I couldn’t believe how deep my sleep had been — the meds definitely helped — nor how relaxed I was.
I couldn’t believe how deep my sleep was after asking the Nest Audio to play white noise.
Ever since, I’ve been using the Nest Audio as a white noise machine, though I’ve learned to vary the sounds. Regular white noise, nature sounds, oscillating fan, cackling fireplace, ocean waves, thunderstorms, and more — I’ve tried them all. Google has a full list of available noises on its support page.
Sometimes I use them when I need to take a short nap; other times when I’m working and need some background noise but nothing too disturbing or attention-grabbing like music. Sometimes I also start them when I’m sitting down and need to take a short break without actually sleeping. Though, to be fair, that almost always leads to a quick nap. I haven’t used them during nighttime sleep, however, because I don’t have trouble there. It’s daytime relaxation that doesn’t come easily to me.
Have you played white noise or relaxing sounds on your smart speakers?
This is such a brilliant use of smart speakers. No need to buy a separate piece of equipment; you can just use the speaker that’s already in your home. After all, you paid for it and it shouldn’t sit idly 90% of the time.
If you have trouble sleeping or napping, or if you have kids that do, and you’ve never tried relaxing noises, I recommend you do. At worst, it’ll be an annoying half hour and you’d give up; at best, you might discover a simple, medication-free solution to your ZZZ’s problems.
Google Nest Audio
Decent price • Compact design • Excellent audio for its size
Get cozy and nestle up with Google’s latest smart speaker.
Nest Audio is an approachable, entry-level smart speaker for the minimalist music lover. This compact speaker produces excellent audio quality for its size, and is a great jack-of-all-trades. Google Assistant and Chromecast integration make it easy to set reminders, make inquiries, stream your favorite podcasts, and more. For under $100, the Nest Audio speaker is a great value.