Living and working on a warship in the 1600s was difficult and demanding. As many as 450 men would work, sleep, eat and share quarters when the ship was deployed to a combat theater. 300 of those aboard were soldiers and 150 were mariners.

The majority of the men lived on the upper and lower gundecks, where they slept seven abreast between the cannon. Each group of seven also shared serving bowls and tankards, although spoons were personal and brought onboard by the men.
The food consisted of bread, porridge, meat, dried fish, and peas. The meat was heavily salted, since this was the most common form of food preservative at the time. To wash it all down, each person onboard received 3 liters of beer per day. This was because beer didn’t go bad as quickly as fresh water.

The officers brought their own food, and otherwise had a bit better time of it as they were quartered in the cabins aft. There they had more space, real beds to sleep in, furniture to sit on and their own tableware.

It's easy to imagine the crowding and stink that must have existed onboard the ship. Hygiene was limited and diseases spread easily.
The majority of those who died onboard were not war casualties, but victims of disease.
Colds, stomach viruses, eye infections, typhus and dysentery were common occurrences, and there was only one person onboard who tended to the sick, the barber. He had a modest medical education and performed bloodletting and gave purgatives as simple remedies for the sick. He also trimmed the hair and beards of the crew.

When the crew weren't busy preparing for battle, doing drills or ship maintenance, they had some free time. It was then that they played games and smoked tobacco. Among the artifacts found on Vasa was a backgammon set that one of the officers had brought on board to pass the time.

Discipline was paramount and there was a strict hierarchy aboard ship.
At the top was the admiral, who commanded the fleet, and the captain who commanded the ship and crew. Under the captain was a series of non-commissioned officers, with the seamen and soldiers at the very bottom. The latter were mostly conscripts from Swedish towns and coastal districts.

One in every ten men between the ages of 15 and 60 was drafted for military service when a parish was chosen for conscription. Salaries were low and the small sum left after deductions was little comfort to those sent to far-away lands to face enormous hardship.