Night-time Search Habits
Sometimes when your head hits the pillow, your mind does anything but snooze. From random ‘what ifs’ to remembering where you put your passport, the thoughts that pop into our heads when we’re trying to doze off after our bedtime routine can be far from dreamy. It’s reported that only one in five Brits get the recommended eight hours of sleep, and these nagging thoughts may be one of the many factors that can contribute to restless nights.
To investigate this further, we wanted to find out just what kind of things are keeping us up at night, by looking at search habits at the time when most people would be, (or should be), sleeping. After analysing keywords and search data during the hours most people are dreaming, we’ve been able to uncover the UK’s top late-night trending searches.
DREAMING OF TV
Having the TV on to lull you to sleep is nothing new, and with around half of Brits usually watching TV during their bedtime routine, it’s no wonder we’ve got our favourite shows on the brain. The search term ‘best netflix series’ averaged at over 650,000 annual searches, with its highest search volume at 2:04am.
Similarly, ‘what to watch’ and ‘what to watch on netflix’ reached more than 500,000 and 322,000 searches, peaking at 1:40am and 4:36am, respectively. Although perhaps contradictory, it seems that Brits are looking for something scary to help them drift off, as ‘best horror movie’ was the UK’s fourth most searched TV term, peaking at 0:44am. ‘Best comedy movie’, meanwhile, followed in sixth place with 182,000 searches and a later peak search time of 3:40am.
SEARCHING FOR SPIRITS
Bumps in the night are keeping us up, too, with paranormal searches around ghouls and ghosts on the up between sunset and sunrise.
Searches for ‘ghosts’ reach over 1.7 million at 1:32am, followed by nearly half a million searches for ‘demon’ at 3am and ‘spirits’ at 2:36am. ‘Are exorcisms real’ sees a spike in searches at exactly midnight, with almost 8,000 searches about this evil and spiritual concept – perhaps not an ideal thought as we’re trying to drift off!
Weird and wacky searches seem to be a common theme during the night, with our brains thinking up the quirkiest questions as we try to hit the hay. Over 3 million searches peak at 3:16am about ‘how to delete an instagram account’, potentially after some late-night stalking led to an accidental like on an old photo.
Brits are also using the night-time hours to plan their next getaway, with more than 1.5 million searches for ‘cheap holidays’ peaking at 1:32am, while ‘when is the next bank holiday’ takes the seventh spot in our list.
Searches around medical issues are in their millions during the hours when we should be sleeping and make the top 2 highest searched sleep terms.
‘Anxiety’ peaks in searches at 3:48am, and is the highest searched medical term, at 1.3 million, with trouble sleeping and nightmares being symptoms of the condition, it’s easy to see why people may start investigating it if they can’t sleep. If you are prone to anxiety, make sure you’re taking the time to catch your breath and wind down before hopping into bed.
Dr Neil suggests: ‘If you are in bed and you still can’t fall asleep because your mind is racing, then keep a notebook and pen on your bedside to write down your worries.’
Anxiety can feel like an overwhelming struggle but there is professional help to support you through it, never feel you have to battle this alone.
Thoughts around finance can play on our minds at the best of times, and that’s no different when we’re trying to drift off. ‘Finance’ was the highest searched term in this category, peaking at 4:28am, with ‘how to make money’ coming second, with the height of searches at 2:28am.
Terms around how we can get rich quick are top of our list, too, maybe after dreaming up a luxurious holiday or a new car. ‘How to make money fast’ is the fourth most searched finance term, with just over 161,000 searches.
PUZZLING OVER POP CULTURE TRIVIA
Forget sleep, our research revealed we’d much rather be Keeping up with The Kardashians with searches for ‘kardashians’ topping our pop culture rankings, averaging at almost 650,000 searches, and reaching a peak at 1:24am.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, appear to be baffling Brits’ brains, coming in second on the list with just over half a million searches which spike at 1:56am. Clearly, we are intrigued by the latest digital trends, and are using the middle of the night to get to grips with them.
Tom Cruise seems to be at the top of our minds, with his age being a question we want answered before bed - ‘how old is tom cruise’ spiked at 3:40am. The fourth most searched term saw us searching for ‘britney’ in the early hours of the morning - 4:20am to be precise - with nearly 200,000 searches checking up on the Princess of Pop.
Parental search terms were also popular during bedtime hours, with the term ‘parenting’ the highest and peaking at 3:16am. Learning to raise a new bundle of joy isn’t the easiest, proved only by the second highest parenting term, ‘sleeping with a newborn’ peaking at around midnight.
‘Night-time potty training’ saw parents up seeking advice, with just over 8,600 searches spiking at 10:12pm. A question floating around lots of soon-to-be, or first-time parents' minds came in as the fourth highest search term, ‘what is tummy time’ with its highest searches occurring at 3am.
HOW TO DELETE INSTAGRAM
Whether you’ve had a late-night revelation to come off social media or accidentally liked a crush’s picture, ‘how to delete an instagram account’ was the top search across all cities we looked at. The term sees a total of 72,600 searches across the 10 cities in our list.
‘Cheap holidays’ was the highest search term in 8 of the 10 cities we looked at, including Belfast, Sheffield, and Birmingham, racking up 30,300 searches, although it doesn’t quite make the Top 5 in London. Whether a short European city break, a staycation or a longer and more luxurious jaunt is on your mind, it seems that the UK is desperate to book their next trip away at a price that’s right for them.
Spooky late-night happenings also had cities up searching past their bedtime. The term ‘ghosts’ appeared in all 10 cities in our research, and saw an average of 33,700 searches, peaking in Bristol and London where it was the second most Googled keyword.
THE ULTIMATE SLEEP GUIDE
So, what are the best ways to get off to sleep? Dr Neil says there are three things needed to get a good night’s sleep.
A bedroom conducive to sleep:
The best way to create a sleep-inducing bedroom is to remove all technology and screens. Buy yourself an alarm clock and keep your phone out of your room at night. You need a cool bedroom but a warm bed, ideally 16-18 degrees, but this can differ for men and women – so experiment with this. Then, when you go to bed, do so with the idea that you are going to sleep as this will help put you in the right mindset.
A QUIET MIND:
Find whatever helps you to quiet your mind, whether that’s camomile tea, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, or something else. It’s easier said than done but try and put your cares and worries to one side before you get into bed and try not to sabotage your sleep with the negative thought of ‘I must get to sleep’. A technique called thought blocking can also be beneficial. This can be subtracting 7 from 1,000 sequentially or going through the alphabet, naming an animal beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
A RELAXED BODY:
A relaxed body means a normal heart rate and steady breathing. This means you can exercise vigorously before bed, but if your body temperature and your heart rate reduce back to normal before you get into bed, then it won’t disturb your slumber.
Many of us have such a problem with our sleep because our minds worry so much that we can’t wind down. If you don’t prioritise sleep, and see it as important, you aren’t going to do any of the other things. You must put your phone down. Sleep isn’t about living longer; it’s about living better.
STILL STRUGGLING TO SLEEP?
As well as Dr Neil’s expert sleep tips, our 4-step sleep routine has been clinically proven by the European Sleep Centre to help you fall asleep faster. You can find more information in our top tips for a better night’s sleep.
To feel truly prepared for a luxurious slumber, why not try our Sleep Calming Pillow Mist and Sleep Bedtime Balm both containing fragrant lavender oil, because we all deserve a restful sleep, to take on whatever the world throws at us. Or help your skin feel relaxed with a moisturising sleeping cream, perfect for when you’re behind on those zzz’s. We’ve enlisted the help of scientists at the European Sleep Centre to create a brand new ‘Sleep’ routine, developed by experts and scientifically proven to improve sleep when all 4 products are used together.*
*Proven 4-step bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality when all products are used together. Lather up with the Hair & Body Wash. Massage in our Body Cream. Spritz the Pillow Mist. Apply the Essential Oil Blend to pulse points.
HAVE YOU SEEN...
METHODOLOGY AND SOURCES
Using Google Keyword Planner, we pulled a range of search terms around topics such as medical, parenting, finance, pop culture, paranormal, film and TV, and ‘random’ over the previous 12 months (1st July 2021 – 30th June 2022).
After collecting these search terms, we used Google Trends to identify when these topics were trending throughout the night (between 10pm-5am).
Looking at the overall top 20 most searched for terms, we then analysed the average monthly search volume for the 10 largest populated cities within the UK.