Your Life In Numbers

5 Min Read | By Gemma Curtis

Last Modified 15 May 2024   First Added 29 September 2017

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

What do we spend most of our lives doing?

The one activity you spend most of your life doing is sleep. But how does it compare to work, socialising and laughing? The average human spends roughly 79 years or 28,835 days, or 692,040 hours, on Earth. Each bead in the jar below represents one year. Let’s take a look at how we spend the time of our lives.

your life in numbers graphic

How much of our lives is spent sleeping?

The average person spends about 26 years sleeping in their life which equates to 9,490 days or 227,760 hours. That’s one third of our entire lives spent asleep in bed! Surprisingly, we also spend 7 years trying to get to sleep — a total of 33 years or 12,045 days!

But what’s so special about sleep? It boosts mental and physical well-being including immunity, weight regulation and even fertility. However much you need, a quality kip is a sleep well spent.

As for tossing and turning, do some breathing exercises, read a book or have a relaxing bath to make you sleepy. If you aren’t tired, don’t force it. Just think of what else you could be doing with those 7 years!

However, trying to reduce the amount of time you sleep probably isn’t a good idea. Unless you’re a Short Sleeper – only 1-3% of the population are – you risk your health, and ultimately reducing the number of beads in your jar.

How much of our lives are spent in work?

Whether daily grind or dream career, our jobs take up a lot of our time; 13 years on average, actually. That’s 24% of a typical working period of 50 years.

For those who just can’t get enough, there are about 441 days worked overtime in a life.

Related: How To Improve Your Sleep Routine If You’re A Workaholic

If you add this all together, you’ll potentially work for the equivalent of 4,821 days during your time here. Getting there safely can depend on good sleep. It’s estimated that 20% of road traffic accidents are sleep-related and 40% involve commercial vehicles.

How much screen time do we get over the course of our lives?

After all that hard work, we love catching up on social media. After a long commute home, we’re likely to settle down to our favourite TV shows too. We spend around 8.3 years (3030 days) in front of the TV. That’s enough to watch 72,720 hour-long programmes in a lifetime.

How many times a day do you look at your phone? Enough to spend about 3 years on social media. A third of UK adults and half of 18-24-year-olds wake up to check their phone in the middle of the night.

How much our lives are spent eating?

Food glorious food… arguably one of life’s greatest pleasures. We love it so much that we spend almost 4 and a half years eating it! That’s 1583 days’ worth of time munching away.

But are we always eating what we love? Apparently not, since 64% of Brits say they are trying to lose weight or on a diet most of the time. Additionally, 66% of workers now eat at their desk and only take a 28-minute lunch break on average. Treat yourself to a trip outside this lunchtime.

Holidays of a lifetime

It’s time to pack up and jet off to your holiday destination. Most of us will spend just over 3 years of our lives in different destinations than the ones we call home. This translates as 1146 days in far-flung places.

Where you choose to go is up to you. The most popular holiday destination this year is Ibiza, coming in at roughly £2066 for a week’s stay and flights.

Do you get enough exercise in your life?

Taking up an average of 1.3 years of our lives is exercise. That means we spend more than double the time on social media than we do feeling the burn. And we spend over 6 times as long watching the telly.

Sleep and exercise have a direct link. Poor sleep equals the inability to exercise to your full potential. On the other hand, just 10 minutes of regular exercise can massively improve sleep quality. It’s simple; without both, we’d risk our health, with both, we can be the best versions of ourselves.

The romantic side of life

Romance isn’t completely dead, at least not for the most part. The average person spends 395 days in their life being romantic. Over one year of time used for flowers, candles, fancy meals and you-know-what!

Valentine’s day is also one of the busiest times of the year for bed suppliers.

How much of our lives are spent at school?

We often remember school as a huge part of our upbringing. A time that shaped and changed our childhood. In reality, we only spend around 334 days’ worth of our lives in primary and secondary school. That’s not even one year!

Sleep-related disorders in children have tripled over the past 10 years. This can lead to lowered immunity, increased behaviour problems and lack of concentration. 80% of UK children have a mobile phone by the age of 12 which are thought to be keeping them awake later.

Where else do we spend substantial amounts of time?

After all the ‘essentials’ like working, eating and being entertained, we’re left with all the extras. Things we do every day without thinking about.

  • We spend 235 days of our lives waiting in queues.
  • 115 days are spent laughing.
  • Women spend 136 days getting ready, while men only take 46.

So, what's left?

After all this is added together, we’re left with approximately 2997 days or 8.2 years. Within that time, you’ll commute, clean, see shows, have a family, run races, tell stories and so much more. You’ll live your life, and hopefully in the way you wanted to.

Make sure you have a sleep well spent, so that your life can be spent well too.

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