How Mercury Retrograde May Affect Your Sleep, According to an Astrologer

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Mercury retrograde happens when the planet is moving slower than its planetary counterparts and thus appears to be moving backward. The transit generally happens a few times per year and is infamously marked by issues that make communicating more difficult. But there are also implications that Mercury retrograde transits can have on your sleep, and—as you may guess—those effects aren't necessarily the most positive.

While the typical communication issues associated with the transit may include having trouble resolving an argument with your partner or feeling slighted at work without speaking up, those are issues that crop up in your waking hours. These sorts of hiccups may compromise your plans, interactions, and relationships, but according to astrologer Stephanie Gailing, author of The Complete Guide to Astrological Self-Care, it’s also possible for Mercury retrograde to wreak havoc on your dream time.

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How Mercury Retrograde Affects Sleep

So why does Mercury retrograde impact your sleep? One reason could be because you’re prone to internalize certain issues instead of talk them out during this highly reflective time, Gailing says, and that can in turn impact what’s on your mind before you (try to) hit the hay.

“If your communication’s not going well and it's on your will have more tension, you will have more worry, so, invariably, you might not sleep as well in general because you have things going over and over again in your mind,” says Gailing.

The tension and worry you feel in various arenas of life thanks to Mercury retrograde transits can be a result of trying to move forward in life during this time. That’s because Mercury retrograde asks us to reflect on what has happened in our lives in the past few months that Mercury has been direct, so if you're not embracing that call to introspect, the effect can feel like swimming upstream against a strong current—and that energy can certainly lead to sleepless nights and wild dreams.

Introspection aside, Gailing adds that communication snafus that tend to ensue during Mercury retrograde can cause symptoms of anxiety, which can also result in a lack of sleep.

How To Deal With Symptoms of Anxiety Connected to Mercury Retrograde That Might Be Compromising Your Sleep

“Mercury is ruled by the mind and intellect, and as it goes retrograde we may even question our thought process, and at times overthink,” says Lumi Pelinku, a New York City-based astrologer and intuitive transformation coach. For this reason, she stresses that the key to ensuring you get the best sleep possible during Mercury retrograde is designating time and space to clear out your repressed thoughts. Keep scrolling for a few ways to do just that.

1. Pause and reflect

“Mercury retrograde [inspires a] period of pause and reflection,” says Gailing, adding that thinking about “understanding, knowledge-gathering, and synthesis” during the period is paramount. Doing so can help you better plan for the future and be less stressed about the past—which can, in turn, help you reduce symptoms of anxiety and snag better sleep during these transits. Going over things and reconsidering the messages you’re trying to relay can help reduce tension you feel and allow you to have a more peaceful slumber.

2. Journal before bed

Another strategy to help combat the sleep-compromising effects of Mercury retrograde? Journaling before bed. “The winding down process [before going to bed] is really important,” says Gailing. “Writing down your upsets or your worries from the day as well as your gratitude [can help] clear your mind so you're not taking as much of that racing mind to bed with you.”

In addition to helping clear your mind, journaling can help you sort out how you really feel about something without first having to talk to someone else about it, and it also gives you the opportunity to plan for how to more effectively communicate what’s bothering you.

3. Step up your sleep hygiene

No matter the cause of your lack of sleep, whether it’s Mercury retrograde or something else, taking your sleep hygiene seriously is essential during this time. Good sleep hygiene includes—you guessed it—a break from our beloved tech devices. “Mercury rules technology, and this may increase our longing to stare into the screen to numb our worries which can only add more to your list of tensions,” Pelinku says. “Electronic detoxing is key during a Mercury Rx transit.”

4. Work with the element of the sign

Another method to declutter your thoughts during the transit is to note the element of the sign in which Mercury is in retrograde as they hold clues as to what themes will be present and how to integrate the lessons. “For instance, if Mercury is in Libra, an air element, and is going retrograde, the best way to clear out would be through recording our thoughts and even speaking aloud as the way to release,” Pelinku says. “Listen to the pattern of your messages, and see if there are any triggers. Take note of the trigger and then ask yourself intuitively what can be done to clear out this feeling.”

On the other hand, when Mercury goes retrograde in Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn), it provides “space for us to strategically plan and to develop an understanding of structure in our lives,” Pelinku says. During Mercury retrograde in water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces), the theme is “how we extend emotive support and the way we process our emotions” and fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) “have to do with our creative passions and our approach to decisions.”

Which signs' sleep patterns are most affected by Mercury retrograde?

If you’ve noticed your sleep is affected more during some Mercury retrogrades than others, your birth chart placements and the sign that Mercury retrograde is happening in has a lot to do with that. According to Pelinku, folks with natal planets such the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars in the same sign Mercury is in retrograde, you will feel the effects the most. So, for example, if Mercury retrograde is in Libra and your sun sign is Libra, the transit will be particularly powerful for you.

The signs that have the same modality as the sign Mercury retrograde is taking place in will also be most impacted during the retrograde cycle, Pelinku says. As a refresher, the three modalities are: cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn), fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius), and mutable (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces). For example, if Mercury retrograde is in Aries which is a cardinal sign, the other three cardinal signs will feel it too.

What Mercury Retrograde May Mean for Your Dreams

In addition to impacting the quality and quantity of sleep you get, Mercury retrograde can also have an impact on your dreams, says Gailing. If your mind is racing during the day, going over details and stoking anxious feelings, those sentiments can bleed into your dreams. “You may have a more agitated dream because you're trying to work it out in your dream,” Gailing says. “It's like leftovers that need to be digested.”

For example, if you’re feeling stressed out at work and haven’t talked to anyone about it, those feelings might be on your mind as you’re falling asleep.

If you wake up from dreams during Mercury retrograde feeling agitated, Gailing suggests asking yourself: “Is there something [in the dream] for me? Is there some level of understanding that I can source so that I can synthesize that to have a greater level of knowledge about what to do [and] what to say?”

Pelinku adds that your dreams may also be more lucid during Mercury retrograde, which may impede you from waking up feeling like your usual well-rested, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed self. “Lucid dreaming can be cathartic, but it can make you feel more exhausted in the waking hours,” she says. To avoid this, again the previous advice applies here too: “clear out your subconscious buildup before you go to sleep each night.”

Overall, Mercury retrograde invites us to go back over our thoughts and actions and reconsider anything we might have missed. The idea is that when Mercury stations direct and it’s time to move forward, you can do so with a more holistic understanding of how to communicate, says Gailing. Ultimately, that understanding can soothe your anxiety about communication and lead to better sleep.

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