Minecraft: Everything You Need To Know About The Daylight Cycle

In a sandbox survival and creative game like Minecraft, time actually plays quite an important role. In-game time serves as a way to make thousands of calculations for the player, and to determine how the environment responds and behaves in certain situations. That’s why understanding the daylight cycle is such a crucial and underrated part of the game.

The daylight cycle basically means the passing of time, and the special features that come with day and night, as well as dusk and dawn in Minecraft. It’s not just an indication of when the sun rises and the mobs finally despawn, but it also regulates a ton of other in-game functions that players tend to often ignore. The more you know about the passing of time in Minecraft, the more you can use it to your advantage.

Minecraft Time Vs Real Life Time

Obviously, Minecraft time has very little to do with actual real life time. According to sources and calculations, Minecraft’s in-game time is 72 times faster than normal time. It’s no wonder, given how short a day can sometimes feel, especially early on for players who need to return to their home to sleep at night in order to avoid hostile mobs.

  • A full day and night cycle, or a Minecraft equivalent of 24 hours, is roughly 20 minutes in real-time.

That means that from the first moment you spawn, within twenty minutes you should be at the dawn of your next day if you don’t go to sleep at night and skip nighttime.

Time in Minecraft can also be measured by ticks. One Minecraft hour equals roughly 1000 ticks, which in turn, equals 50 seconds in real-time.

This is minuscule compared to real life time, which is why it can often feel like night comes much sooner than you’d expect while adventuring in the game.

What Happens During The Daytime In Minecraft?

Daytime begins when first spawning into the world. Its rough start is around 6 AM Minecraft time when the sun begins to rise. Once at a certain height, hostile mobs touched by the light will start to burn. Spiders will turn neutral, and Endermen will begin to teleport around randomly, and if turned aggressive, chances are they might become docile again after a few seconds.

Some mobs like the Drowned behave in a particular way during the daytime. While they might still attack any players that step into the same body of water that they’re in, they’ll completely ignore players who are on land or riding a boat. As such, it’s no surprise to find friendly Drowned just standing around in the water in the morning.

Daytime grants every block in sight a light level of 15, which is the brightest possible level of light in the game.

It’s impossible for hostile mobs to spawn on such blocks. This light level is ideal for crops to grow, for grass to spread and for saplings to mature.

Nighttime And Sleeping In Minecraft

Nighttime starts around 6pm Minecraft time, or about 10-11 real-time minutes into your gameplay in a brand-new world. As the sun sets, the light levels decrease on land and can go as low as four on some blocks that receive absolutely no light. This makes it an ideal playground for mobs, which will begin to spawn closer to 11 minutes of real-time gameplay.

Crops will still continue to grow at night, even in moonlight only. However, if you choose to sleep rather than stay awake, none of the progress is registered and the night is simply skipped.

This means that anything you left inside a furnace, for instance, won’t have magically finished by the time you wake up. Still, to avoid Phantoms spawning, it’s a good idea to at least sleep every other night.

Villagers And Their Daily Routines

If you happen to stumble upon a village, you’ll notice that villagers have a very set pattern of life that depends on the daylight cycle. Villagers wake up every day at the same time, which is around 6am Minecraft time. Two hours later is when they get to work on their specific workstations.

Around afternoon, 3pm Minecraft time or seven minutes and 30 seconds into your game, villagers will consider their workday completed. They will spend the rest of their waking day gossiping with other villagers or reproducing. This social time is absolutely crucial for the survival of a village.

When 8pm arrives, and you’re about ten minutes into your gameplay, villagers will suddenly run indoors and hop into their beds.

This is their official bedtime, and gives them a few seconds of safety before mobs begin to spawn around the world and attacking them.

The Effects Of Weather Conditions On The Daylight Cycle

Weather conditions actually have a very important effect on the daylight cycle. During rain, mobs can spawn earlier and remain longer, due to the overcast weather. This also means that players are able to go to bed earlier to skip the rain itself and wake up later in the day.

  • During thunderstorms, players can also sleep whenever they’d like to skip the weather.

The differences in mob spawn times compared to clear weather are not super significant, but it is an important gameplay mechanic to understand in order to not get caught out by hostile mobs. Since it’s so hard to tell whether it’s night or day during a rainy period, having a clock can be a huge help.

How To Tell Time In Minecraft

There are three ways to tell the time in Minecraft.

  • Craft and use a clock
  • Track the trajectory of the sun or the moon
  • Check the debug screen

Clocks are a handy in-game item that allows players to track time without breaking immersion with their game. It also works during bad weather conditions when telling the time just by looking at the sky might be tricky.

Clocks can be made with four gold ingots and a piece of redstone dust in the middle. They can also be found as loot in treasure chests. For a guide on an actual grandfather clock, check out this guide.

Alternatively, beginning players can simply observe the sky, which tells a lot about the game itself. The sun will always rise from the east and move across the sky to the west, which also helps when you don’t have a compass and need to find your way.

Similarly, the moon will also rise up from the east and set in the west, so by checking how high or low the moon is you can easily tell how much of nighttime you still have left. During rain, however, this is impossible.

If all else fails, you can always check the debug screen. Press F3 to open up the debug screen and you’ll see a bunch of information on your Minecraft world, as well as where you’re currently at with your daylight cycle.

Moon Phases And Their Effects In Minecraft

The moon isn’t just there to look pretty. It also determines quite a few mob-related rules in Minecraft, which is why tracking the different phases of the moon can be quite useful.

The full moon in particular is important because during and close to the full moon, the following things happen:

  • Slimes will spawn in abundance in swamp biomes.
  • Half of the cats that spawn will be black cats.
  • Depending on your difficulty, hostile mobs might spawn with enchanted weapons and armor.
  • Spiders might spawn with special status effects.

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