Shhh, Alexa’s Listening

Those of you who are Amazon users might have taken advantage of a few deals during the site’s Prime Days on the 15th and 16th of this month. I’d made up my mind to forego any shopping on those days, even going so far as to post this on Facebook:

I was going to resist the urge, by golly!

Of course the second I hit post I thought, “It won’t hurt to just browse….” And there, right in plain sight on the Amazon feed was the product I didn’t know existed but desperately needed anyway:

Why did I NEED this, you ask? Some of my readers know that I struggle with insomnia, but that the Calm app I downloaded several months ago has helped immensely with my sleep problems. The only downside to the app is that I feared it would interfere with Studly Doright’s rest.

So several nights ago as we were preparing to sleep I told Studly I wished I had a special Bluetooth speaker that I could somehow wear comfortably to bed. I dislike earbuds, and regular headphones were out of the question since I sleep on my side. He assured me that my sleep stories on the Calm app didn’t bother him, and I promptly forgot about it. Until Prime Day, that is, when a product fitting my exact needs popped up magically in the “Look What We Found Just For You” section on Amazon.

Like the earnest consumer I am, I quickly read the reviews and ordered the headphones/mask. It arrived two days ago, and I got to familiarize myself with the mask while Studly was out of town. I’m not great at this newfangled technology like some of you young whippersnappers out there, but with just a little fumfering about I soon had one of my favorite sleep stories playing just for me, in a concert for one.

Now, this sleep mask was the very first thing that popped up on my Amazon feed on Tuesday. How did they know it’s what I wanted/needed? I have my suspicions:

Remember that bedtime conversation Studly and I had a few nights back? My Amazon Echo sits on the bookshelf right next to my side of the bed. Is it too outrageous to think Alexa might’ve listened in? I have some strong words for her in that case:

“Alexa, stop eavesdropping! Unless, of course, you happen to have additional recommendations that will make my life better. In that case, carry on.”

Peace, people!

Sweet Sleep in an App

Sleep is often my fickle friend. She’ll visit three nights in a row and then not again for a week. It doesn’t matter how I’ve spent my evening or what I’ve eaten for dinner or watched on the evening news. Sometimes, though, there is a correlation between my late evening internet usage and my ability to fall asleep, so I do try to put my phone away an hour or two before bedtime. Even then sleep isn’t guaranteed.

Staying in strange hotel rooms adds to the likelihood that I won’t sleep, and last week when I traveled to Austin from Doright Manor I spent a sleepless night in a Drury Inn in Lafayette, Louisiana. Now, that’s when my gastric pain started, but even once it tapered off I could not fall asleep, instead tossing and turning until the sun rose.

I wearily went about the business of getting ready to travel on to Austin, showered, and turned on the morning news to keep me company as I packed. Lo and behold the panelists on one of the morning news shows were discussing sleep apps. I listened and jotted down some notes before leaving the room.

When I got to my Austin hotel I read over my notes and picked one of the apps to try. It’s called “Calm” and I’m here to tell you it’s working wonders in my life. I slept beautifully both nights in Austin, and only struggled with sleep one night afterwards–and that was most likely because I took a nap that same afternoon.

I chose the “Calm” app for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s also a meditation app, and I seem to respond well to meditative exercises. But the main reason was that in addition to offering calming music and white noise, the app has different narrators read excerpts of books as bedtime stories for grown ups.

Studly Doright laughed at me when I told him about the app, but now he’s noticed a change in my sleeping habits that’s resulted in me being a happier spouse. Even dealing with whatever is going on in my digestive tract, I’m able to fall asleep listening to these stories.

I was afraid the narration would bother Studly, but he claims he can’t hear anything other than my breathing. That’s an unexpected perk of growing old, I suppose. I tuck my iPhone under my pillow and most nights I fall asleep within just a few minutes of the story’s beginning.

So far I have some favorite stories: Matthew McConaughey reads a piece called “Wonder” that I still haven’t heard the end of. Astronaut Terry Verts tells of seeing earth from space, and his words are beautiful and peaceful.

There are many stories I haven’t gotten to listen to yet, but right now I’m sticking to a few tried and true tales.

I tend to find the deeper male voices more calming, or maybe the women’s voices just make me want to listen longer. Regardless, this app has made a huge difference. (Hoping I’m not jinxing my progress by typing this).

The initial week of “Calm” is free, but it costs right at $60 for a year’s subscription. That almost turned me off, but after the week was over I was convinced the app was worth it. If you’re struggling with sleeplessness, you might want to give it a try. Let me know if you do. I’d like to compare notes.

Peace and good sleep, people!