Real-Time Day Length in Skyrim

Many games have day/night cycles, including Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls games. How long is a Skyrim day? Is there any way to make a day longer or shorter?

skyrim day time 1 Real-Time Day Length in Skyrim

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How long is a Skyrim day in real life?

A Skyrim day is one hour and twelve minutes. This is because time passes twenty times as fast in the Skyrim world as in the real world, making 1.2 hours equal 24 hours. You can easily change how fast time passes in Skyrim, so you can have a very short day or a long one. 

As a Skyrim and Elder Scrolls fan, I have been messing around with the game and its mods on and off for years. Sometimes I get bored with the game and forget about it for a long time, but then I hear about a new mod and want to start a new character. It is easy to make one day of in-game time take more or fewer minutes of real-time

Key Takeaways

  • A Skyrim day is normally one hour and twelve minutes long. 
  • You can easily make the day longer or shorter by changing one setting. 
  • Different elder scrolls games have different day lengths. 
  • Skyrim is a great game, so I recommend you finish it a few times. 
  • It takes about 34 real hours or 28 game days to finish Skyrim.

How Long is a Skyrim Day?

One full day and night in Skyrim is one hour and twelve minutes in real-time. For every minute that goes by in real life, twenty minutes will go by in Skyrim. If a quest takes an hour to complete, nearly a day and night will pass in the game. 

Is a Second a Minute in Skyrim?

No, this would make one-day in-game time 24 minutes in real life. Time doesn’t pass nearly that fast in the Elder Scrolls games

Changing the Timescale

skyrim day time 1 1 Real-Time Day Length in Skyrim

You can set the timescale to change how fast a day in Skyrim goes by. Normally, the timescale is 20, so time passes 20 times faster in the game. 

If you set the timescale to much higher than 20, you can make Skyrim time pass a lot faster. One day in Skyrim doesn’t always have to be a little over an hour in real life

You can also make time pass slower. You can set the timescale so that one Skyrim day is many hours long by choosing a number much lower than 20

How to Change the Timescale

First, press the ~ key on your keyboard (~ is at the top left). This will open the console. In the console, type set timescale to 10 (or any other number instead of 10) to determine how fast Skyrim time is compared to the time in the real world

If you set it to 10, this will slow down the day/night cycle and make a Skyrim day take more than two hours

Does it Save the Changes to the Timescale?

Yes, it saves the changes. If you change the timescale to 10, quit the game, and then return to it, the timescale will still be at 10

However, the timescale can be different for different characters. If you create a new character, you will have to change the timescale once again.

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How Many Days Go by in Game Time Before You Complete the Game?

Skyrim is huge and full of optional quests and content, so you can spend a long time playing it if you decide to. You can also try to complete the game quickly, but that isn’t the best way. 

It takes very roughly 34 hours of real-time play to finish Skyrim. Since 1.2 hours played is one in-game day, it takes about 28 in-game days to complete the game. You can greatly increase that if you do more quests and explore every dungeon

Trying to beat the game fast is fine, but searching through the whole world and experiencing the whole conflict is better. Skyrim is a great game for any gamer who likes open-world RPGs, and just because you have beat the game doesn’t mean you have fully explored the world. 

Day Length in Other Elder Scrolls Games

Day Length in Morrowind

Time passes 30 times faster in Morrowind than in real life. A day lasts for 48 minutes

The time of day doesn’t affect the game as much as in Oblivion or Skyrim. Stores are open all night and you can complete quests at any time. 

Day Length in Oblivion

Game days are 48 minutes long in Oblivion, as short as in Morrowind. You can set the timescale in Oblivion like you can in Skyrim

The game will work reasonably well if you set the timescale to as slow as 2 or as fast as 100, but something may go wrong if you go outside of that range. A lot of quests become impossible if you go over 100 and you can bug the game by setting the timescale to 1. 

Day Length in The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online has relatively long 6-hour days. Nights are shorter than days. How long the night lasts isn’t exactly the same each day. 

Time in the Elder Scrolls World

The Elder Scrolls world has different days of the week and different months. The days of the week in the games are Morndas, Tirdas, Middas, Turdas, Fredas, Loredas, and Sundas. The twelve months also have different names in Skyrim:

  • Morning Star
  • Sun’s Dawn
  • Rain’s Hand
  • Second Seed
  • Mid Year
  • Sun’s Height
  • Last Seed
  • Hearthfire
  • Frostfall
  • Sun’s Dusk
  • Evening Star

While the week in the Elder Scrolls games is seven days, the year is not 365. In Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the year is 364 days, it is 360 days in Arena and Daggerfall.


In the vast world of Bethesda’s open-world games, understanding the passage of time is crucial. From the breathtaking sunrise and sunset in Skyrim to the intricate day-night cycle in other games, the dynamics of daylight and nighttime play a significant role. Whether you’re a PC gamer using console commands to adjust the time scale or a player keen on exploring dungeons during specific times of the day, the duration of in-game days impacts gameplay.

Fast-travel can swiftly change the current time, and for those who prefer a quick nap in the wilderness or rely on potions and magicka to restore fatigue, the local time can be of essence. Vampires, for instance, might prefer the cover of darkness, while merchants are more active during daytime. The default ratio of game time to real-time in Bethesda games offers a unique experience, but with the power of console commands, players can edit this to their liking.

As we’ve seen, games like Witcher, Man’s Sky, and Cyberpunk also have their own takes on the day cycle, making the passage of time a universal theme in open-world games.


How does the sunrise and sunset affect gameplay in Bethesda games?

The sunrise and sunset mark the transition between daytime and nighttime. This can affect missions, combat scenarios, and interactions with NPCs like merchants and vampires.

Can I use console commands on my PC to change the time of day?

Yes, using console commands on your PC, you can adjust the current time, time scale, and even the duration of a full in-game day.

How does fast-travel impact the passage of time in the game?

Fast-travel accelerates the passage of time. Depending on the distance traveled, you might arrive at your destination during a different time of the day.

Are there other open-world games with similar day-night cycles?

Absolutely! Games like Witcher’s Wild Hunt, Man’s Sky, Cyberpunk, and even Fallout, another Bethesda classic, have their own unique day-night cycles.

How does the default day cycle in Skyrim compare to other games?

Skyrim’s default ratio of game time is set so that 1.2 hours of real-time equals a full in-game day. This can be contrasted with other games, each having its own unique day cycle duration.

Do changes in times of the day affect combat and missions?

Yes, certain missions might be accessible only during specific times of the day, and combat scenarios, especially involving creatures like vampires, can be influenced by whether it’s daylight or nighttime.

Remember, whether you’re delving into dungeons, interacting with NPCs, or just taking in the breathtaking views of a sunrise or sunset, the passage of time in Bethesda’s open-world games adds depth and immersion to your gaming experience.

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