How Long Do People Spend Maladaptive Daydreaming?

For years I now realize I was engaged in maladaptive daydreaming, however it never occurred to me that I was doing it until it began to consume more and more of my waking life.

Eventually one day I realized I was living in this abstract fantasy world for hours a day. What the hell was going on?

This is incredibly common for maladaptive daydreamers. You may or may not be aware of your maladaptive daydreaming, but brush it aside because it’s enjoyable and seemingly harm-free.

Then one day it hits you: your life – your real life – is passing you by as you’re stuck in this maladaptive rhythm. You’re maladaptive daydreaming when you get up and you’re maladaptive daydreaming when your head hits the pillow.

How Many Hours a Day Do People Maladaptive Daydream

Over the years I’ve heard from hundreds of maladaptive daydreamers and so a little while ago I decided to send out a short survey. It just asked, at their peak, how many many hours per-day did they estimate they spent maladaptive daydreaming.

In case you’re wondering what my definition of maladaptive daydreaming is, you can see this post here.

Now before I show you the results, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • This survey was sent to those who got my course on maladaptive daydreaming, so they were engaged in maladaptive daydreaming more than most perhaps
  • This survey is self-reported so perhaps people forgot just how many hours they were maladaptive daydreaming a day
  • I specifically said that their maladaptive daydreams couldn’t be passive (e.g. you couldn’t count the time you were slightly maladaptive daydreaming in the back of your mind)

The Results

Here are the results in a table format:

Hours Spent


1 to 2


2 to 3


3 to 5


5 to 7


7 or more



Table representing number of hours spent maladaptive daydreaming per day

Here are the results as a pie chart:

Maladaptive Daydreaming Hours Per Day

Chart representing number of hours spent maladaptive daydreaming per day

The data shows a bit of a normal distribution that is slightly skewed to the higher end.

As you would expect, relatively few people engaged in maladaptive daydreaming for just a few hours (at least that I talk to).

This makes sense because for these people the full harms of maladaptive daydreaming are likely not felt. Instead their maladaptive daydreams can be simply a bit of an escape from the troubles their life is currently facing.

The vast majority engage in maladaptive daydreaming for 3-7 hours with just a smaller percent engaging in it for more than 7 hours a day.

It’s important to recognize that the number of hours your engaged in maladaptive daydreaming per day is not necessarily indicative of how easy or hard it will be to overcome.

As I’ve said many times before, often those who spend the most time in their maladaptive daydreams have the easiest time overcoming them because they’re so fed up and exhausted by them. In other words, they’re prepared to stop and just need a system for achieving this.

Take care as always,


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