Impact of daylight saving time shifts on online behavior

Google trends: Tracking searches through daylight saving time changes.


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Researchers from University of Surrey analyzed Google Trends data to understand how online search patterns change during transitions to and from Daylight Saving Time (DST). The goal was to observe trends and variations in search activity around these temporal shifts.

Researchers find Google searches shift with Daylight Saving Time, happening earlier in spring and later in fall. Sleep and health searches show a consistent pattern influenced by the internal body clock.

The study focused on data from Italy spanning the years 2015 to 2020. Researchers examined the relative search volume for 26 keywords grouped into three categories: sleep/health-related, medication-related, and non-sleep/health-related.

Researchers observed that specific Google searches occurred up to an hour earlier than usual after switching to DST. In contrast, these searches tended to happen later during the transition back to standard time. The shift in search times varied across different categories, with inquiries about sleep and health showing less than a 60-minute variation over DST changes, indicating a strong influence of the internal body clock.

This study sheds light on how online search behavior evolves during Daylight Saving Time transitions, providing insights into the impact of temporal shifts on user engagement. The findings contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of online activity about changes in daylight hours. The study has been published in the Journal of Circadian Rhythms.

Journal reference:

  1. Esther Dingena Domenie, Lisa Zarantonello, et al., The Alarm Clock Against the Sun: Trends in Google Trends Search Activity Across the Transitions to and from Daylight Saving Time. Journal of Circadian Rhythms. DOI: 10.5334/jcr.230.


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