This Is The Sneaky Way Mercury Retrograde Can Mess With Your Sleep Patterns

This time of year is not lack for things to keep us up at night: the stress of the holiday season, Trump, the stress of holiday gatherings where family will want to talk about Trump. Now, there’s another thing to add to that list because Mercury retrograde 2017 might be affecting our sleep. ‘Tis the season for all things stressful, I suppose.

Let’s start by breaking down Mercury retrograde: who is she and what does she want? Three to four times a year, the planet Mercury appears to be traveling in reverse across the sky. Because Mercury is known to be the planet that governs communication, technology, and travel, this apparent backwards motion (aka retrograde) is thought to impact our relationships and lives significantly. Is it the most scientific explanation for why you may be feeling particularly off as of late? Not really. Is still kind of cathartic to have something external to blame for the weird dreams you’ve had recently? I mean, you’re here, aren’t you?

Spanning from December 3 to December 22, this current Mercury retrograde is the final one of the year. In addition to feeling out of sorts in your relationships, particularly due to communication, it may also have an impact on your sleep schedule.

While not normally known for specifically impacting our beauty sleep, Mercury retrograde is thought to disrupt our lives in their entirety, communication suffering the biggest impact. One of the keys to surviving Mercury retrograde is to choose your words carefully and double-spell check those emails. Though they don’t appear to be linked on a superficial level, the way we communicate throughout the day can certainly have an effect on how we sleep at night. Have you ever had an off conversation you kept replaying in your head while lying in bed? Have you ever felt restless because of a weird talk you had with someone earlier in the day? While miscommunication in itself doesn’t cause lack of sleep, the spinning thoughts you may have after such an incident certainly can.

Travel and technology are also thought to be impacted by Mercury retrograde. (Looking at you, American Airlines.) From phones acting wonky to flights being delayed, times of Mercury retrograde may make us more aware of the technological mishaps happening around us. Again, travel and technology don’t seem like they’d have much to do with sleep. Again, I ask: have you ever tried to plan for an early-morning holiday flight? The stress of traveling for the holidays is enough to disrupt even the most consistent sleeper.

Stress can have a huge impact on sleep and vice versa. According to the American Psychological Association, 43 percent of adults say stress has prevented them from getting a good night’s sleep. When we feel stressed, we have a hard time sleeping. In turn, when we don’t get enough sleep, we feel stressed. It’s an awful self-perpetuating cycle that’s unfortunately all-too-common among many adults.

It makes sense that you may be feeling extra stressed out during this Mercury retrograde. If it isn’t directly due to miscommunication or mishaps with your tech or travel, it could be caused by the idea of those things happening more readily. There’s much to be said about the power of psychology, specifically when it comes to astrological ideas. So, if you keep hearing that your life could become chaos because of the planetary alignments...well, it makes sense you might be stressed out about that actually happening.

The end of the year is a stressful time for a lot of people and for good reason. From travel to family visits to another reminder of the rapid speed at which time passes, December is peak stress-out time. If it’s affecting you to the point of not being able to sleep at night, there are plenty of ways to destress right before bed. Start by turning your phone off or putting it on “do not disturb.” Tidy up your room or make a plan for tomorrow to help you wake up feeling ready to start your day. Finally, try focusing on the positive. For example: there are only two more weeks until Mercury is out of retrograde.