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Joaquin Phoenix

Why are we all Googling ‘lonely’ at night?

Data shows that when the sun goes down in the UK, searches for ‘porn’, ‘Tinder’ and ‘lonely’ peak

Yeah, we might all be tweeting about our #dreamjobs, #blissfulsundays and #yolo lifestyles during the day, but there’s no escaping the cold, hard reality of data. Google Analytics research shows that, when night falls, our sunny dispositions go with it. In the UK, searches for 'Tinder' peak at 12.30am, 'porn' gets the most searches an hour later and crushingly, the word "lonely" is entered the most at 2.30am.

The data is depressingly easy to analyse: person searches for genuine love past midnight, doesn’t find it. Person looks at porn instead. Porn makes person feel lonely. Person wants to know why he or she suddenly feels overwhelmed by the isolation of existence, asks Google. 'Lonely' we type, an entry that generates "about 189,000,000 results". Guess that's a lot to be getting on with.

Peak porn-searching days for us Brits are most Saturday or Sunday nights. Shouldn't we be out somewhere?

The Google Analytics research does show that human beings are at least inquisitive during darkness, but not necessarily in a good way. If you're feeling ill, friends will always say "don't Google it", but this is advice that Americans straight-up ignore – searches including the word 'symptoms' peak past midnight.

What is it about night-time that invokes such a severe anxiety within us? Dylan Thomas once said, "Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light." Maybe we took him a little too literally.