for anyone else who tries to do the same thing.
Make 2 global variables one for holding a counter and another for a constant in the Nextion editor
then add a timer component to each page
In my case i wanted the timer to go back to a lock screen on timeout but wanted it to reset the timer if something was touched
the script in the timer events looked like this
timerVar is a counter that can be reset and timerRepeat is a constant in case i want to increase the timer length by 60 secs later on.
On every button enter timerVar.val=0 to reset the counter.
This way you can completely offload sleep events or page transitions off the MCU.
Thank you @ScruffR for your amazing suggestions as always.