You Sleep Less When Mercury Is In Retrograde, But This Is How You Can Stay On Track
Rewind a few months back to the tail-end of December 2017, when the solar system finally calmed TF down and everything was relatively copacetic heading into the new year. Well, my friends, come March 23, Mercury will be in retrograde once again, marking the first of three times you can expect the smallest planet to spin backward on its axel, throwing us, as well as the rest of the universe, off until April 15. Despite the Old Farmer’s Almanac stating your intuition will be extremely on-point during this time, you sleep less when Mercury is in retrograde, which could overshadow any of the positives you might otherwise reap from this weird planetary event.
Here’s the scoop for those of you not up-to-date on astrological happenings: When Mercury is in retrograde, NASA’s sister site StarChild reports, the planet’s orbit does a 180 and spins backward — or, at least, it appears to be moving backward in relation to Earth. It’s also when a lot of weird sh*t tends to happen: You might become even more indecisive than usual about what to eat for lunch, you can expect to be in the worst mood of your life (yeah, worse than PMS, friends), and apparently, the beautiful sleep pattern you’ve got going on is done for.
But beauty sleep is non-negotiable, so even though the solar system might be out of whack, you need to make sure your sleep cycle isn't. Here are a few expert tips to guarantee you'll sleep soundly over the next few weeks, despite Mercury's radical behavior.
1. You Are What You Eat, And So Is Your Sleep
Here's the deal: Certain foods affect your sleep cycle, and even the things you dream about. Spicy food, for example, can turn low-key visions into wild sitcoms, while dairy can make your dreams super disturbing. Ergo, you might want to step away from the ice cream and hot wings a few hours prior to bedtime.
What you do want to harbor in your pantry are food items and beverages that enhance sleep quality. According to a new survey issued by Sleep Cycle, the results of which were sent in a press release to Elite Daily, 21 percent of Americans use herbal sleep aids like tea and melatonin supplements, as well as foods rich in calcium and magnesium like bananas, to eat themselves sleepy. Add these things to your grocery list and you're golden.
2. Invest In A Sound Machine
Mercury in retrograde is expected to create all the disruptions while you're trying to snooze — fast-forward to a still of you in bed, eyes wide open, counting sheep, stars, or picking at your fingernails for some form of entertainment. I know myself, and when I'm feeling restless, my go-to is to press play on my Kina Grannis Spotify playlist. But if music makes you want to dance rather than sleep, consider sound machines a solid alternative.
The experts at Adaptive Sound Technologies tell Elite Daily that the brand's line of sound machines provide naturally recorded tracks of things like white noise and ocean waves to "create a soothing environment by blocking out all external sounds."
Set a sleep timer or let the sounds play throughout the night to ensure you barely stir.
3. Cut Back On Technology Before Bed
I'm pretty sure every sleep expert I've ever come in contact with has warned against the evils of technological devices in the bedroom. Things like sleeping with the TV on all night and using your phone under the covers (don't act like you've never gotten sucked into the black hole of social media at 1 a.m.) can seriously mess with your sleep cycle because of that heinous blue light. Add that on top of whatever Mercury in retrograde has in store for you, and you're basically screwed.
In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Colin Espie, a University of Oxford professor and co-founder of Sleepio, says using your smartphone less throughout the day is obviously ideal, but at the very least, try to put the device away an hour before bed so you can actually detach and decompress.
4. Create And Stick To A Nighttime Routine
Personally, I've gotten into the habit of sticking to a regimen every night that includes a hot beverage (Tea Forte's blends are currently my go-to), an hour of TV time, an hour of reading, and a quick skincare and dental hygiene routine to complete the night. Now, I'm also a stickler for good habits, but according to Sleep Cycle's survey results, I'm not the only one.
According to the survey results sent to Elite Daily, Americans love their sleep rituals. Interestingly enough, 28 percent of participants said they need to sleep with a fan on or white noise playing to guarantee a good night's rest, while 26 percent prefer a hot bath or shower to calm their mind and body. Find what works for you, and stick with it!
5. Track Your Sleep And Make Adjustments Accordingly
Now, I realize not everyone reading this is going to be 100 percent convinced that the Mercury retrograde is going to have any effect on their sleep cycle. For the non-believers out there (and, you know, anyone who's relatively curious), this tip's for you.
Regardless of whether or not the solar system has anything to do with it, it's always a good idea to keep track of your sleep patterns, especially when things go awry in the night. Espie points out to Elite Daily that the sooner you identify sleep problems, the sooner you can fix them.
If you don't have a few minutes to jot down the details of the night in a journal, technology is on your side. Use a fitness tracker with sleep-tracking features for a general assessment, and "you'll be sure to conquer bad sleep" ASAP says Espie.
6. Nap If You Need To
I know myself, and I am a raging monster after a nap. Tired as I may be, snoozing during the day rarely helps, but that's because I know no boundaries and disregard details like how long you're actually supposed to nap for, what time of day is best for a nap, and the like.
Having said that, however, if you follow a couple of simple guidelines, naps are a solid option when the Mercury retrograde is making you lose sleep. Chris Brantner, sleep science coach and founder of SleepZoo, tells Elite Daily the ideal nap should only be about 10 to 15 minutes max, and you should start your siesta no later than 2 p.m.
According to Espie, when you're behind on your beauty rest, your "sleep debt," aka your sleep deficit as a result of not getting enough hours of shut-eye, will inevitably make you feel even more exhausted. The solution, he tells Elite Daily, is to pencil in a quick cat nap in an attempt to catch up and feel a little more lively. "Just don't overuse this," he warns.
Bring on the retrograde, Mercury! We've got this.