Is Mercury in Retrograde Right Now? How It May Affect Your Sleep


Written by Dr. Michael Breus

Our Editorial Process

Table of Contents

How often do you check your daily horoscope? Do you know your zodiac sign? Many people can readily talk about what Zodiac year they were born in or what their star sign is, even if they may not fully believe they have any influence in their lives. For others though, astrology can be a divine driving force, with the cosmos guiding them through all of life’s ups and downs. Astrology is nothing new though— in fact, it’s been around for thousands of years.

However, one astrological concept you may have heard a lot about lately is Mercury retrograde. It’s often to blame for inconvenience or misfortune, but you may be wondering— what does Mercury retrograde mean? I’ve previously written about how the moon can affect your sleep, but do the planets have the same influence? Can mercury being in retrograde really have an effect on everyday life?

It can, believe it or not! In fact, it may even mess with your sleep. Before we take a look at that though, let’s dive into what it means when Mercury is in retrograde, what happens during that time, and when Mercury will be in retrograde in 2024.

What is Mercury Retrograde?

Put simply, Mercury retrograde occurs when the planet Mercury appears to travel backward through space. This is also called apparent retrograde motion. The planet isn’t actually moving backward though— it only appears to be.

Each of the planets in the solar system orbit the sun at different speeds and distances throughout space. From Earth, it can look like other planets have started moving in reverse, even though they haven’t. It’s just an optical illusion caused by the Earth’s position relative to other planets. This is why it’s called apparent retrograde motion.

When is Mercury in Retrograde?

Mercury Retrograde will take place four times in 2024. Each Mercury retrograde cycle will take place on the following dates:

  • December 13, 2023, to January 1, 2024
  • April 1, 2024 to April 24, 2024
  • August 4, 2024 to August 27, 2024
  • November 25, 2024 to December 15, 2024

What Happens When Mercury is in Retrograde?

In Astrology, Mercury is said to rule communication, thoughts, and connection. It can encompass many facets of daily life, such as relationships and technology. So when Mercury appears to be moving backward, everyday life may get a little screwy.

According to astrological interpretations, Mercury retrograde is generally associated with negative energy— confusion, inconvenience, and bad luck. Your gadgets may go haywire, you may be more likely to make blunders at work, and you may find parts of your personal life askew as well.

The prospect of all that can be stressful, but the important thing to consider if you’re worried about the next Mercury retrograde period is to keep calm and carry on. Take some extra care in your day-to-day life— double-check that work email or social media post before you send it. Try to reconnect with an old friend instead of trying to rekindle an old romantic relationship. Maintain clear communication with your family, friends, and peers to avoid misunderstandings.

One of the best ways to help yourself go with the flow during Mercury retrograde is to get a good night’s sleep— but sometimes that may be easier said than done.

Can Mercury Retrograde Affect Sleep?

There’s no scientific evidence that mercury retrograde can affect your sleep. However, the belief that Mercury retrograde can interfere with your everyday life may produce a sort of placebo effect— or rather, a nocebo effect.

The difference between the two is that a placebo makes you think you’re feeling positive effects, whereas a nocebo makes you feel like you’re feeling negative effects.

If you’re worried about the negative vibes that Mercury retrograde can bring, that uncertainty can potentially cause sleep problems. This is because you’re internalizing any issues that Mercury retrograde’s antics may have brought on, rather than processing them in a healthy or productive way.

For those who regularly experience anxiety at night, this may seem frustratingly familiar. Getting a good night’s sleep when your mind is racing or preoccupied with stress can be an ordeal. But it doesn’t have to be.

3 Tips for Better Sleep During Mercury Retrograde

It’s more important than ever to get proper sleep during potentially stressful times like Mercury retrograde. Here are my 3 tips for getting a good night’s sleep, even if Mercury retrograde has turned everyday life into a space oddity.

1. Write in a Sleep Journal

A sleep journal is a place where you can write down your thoughts, worries, and even your daily to-do lists. By keeping track of these, you’re helping yourself to process your stress and emotions in a productive way. This can lead to more restful sleep each night.

I recommend journaling a few hours before your normal bedtime to give yourself ample time to de-stress.

2. Reduce Stress Before Bed

If you’re worried about what can happen during Mercury retrograde, your sleep may suffer even more. Instead, dedicate an hour before bed each night to promoting relaxation and relieving stress. There are a lot of relaxation techniques you can try for a better night’s sleep. Here are some of my favorites:

I recommend you spend this time without electronic devices like your phone or your computer. That way, your body can produce the melatonin you need to fall asleep easily and sleep peacefully through the night.

3. Take a Sleep Supplement

If you’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep, the right supplement can be a lifesaver. Melatonin— also known as the sleep hormone— is a well-known and popular sleep supplement. Magnesium is another good option.

It may feel like the world is upside down during Mercury retrograde, and things may feel even crazier if you’re not getting the sleep you need during the retrograde period.

But don’t worry— you can still get great sleep even Mercury retrograde has you out of your usual alignment.

About The Author

Dr. Michael Breus

Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert

Michael Breus, Ph.D is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. He holds a BA in Psychology from Skidmore College, and PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Georgia. Dr. Breus has been in private practice as a sleep doctor for nearly 25 years. Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is also the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, Good Night!, and Energize!

  • POSITION: Combination Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper

Ask the Sleep Doctor

Have questions about sleep? Submit them here! We use your questions to help us decide topics for articles, videos, and newsletters. We try to answer as many questions as possible. You can also send us an emailPlease note, we cannot provide specific medical advice, and always recommend you contact your doctor for any medical matters.