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How to Change Sleep Time on Your Mac: 2 Best Ways

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Last updated: October 5, 2023

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We’ve all been there, immersed in our tasks, only to have our beloved Mac nod off before we do. Or perhaps you’ve been startled by your Mac waking up from its slumber, lighting up your room like a midnight sun.

The good news is, your Mac’s sleep schedule is not set in stone, and tweaking it is easier than convincing a toddler to take a nap. In this guide, I’ll show you how to change sleep time on your Mac so it vibes more naturally with your own rhythms—saving energy, boosting performance, and maybe even extending the life of your trusty machine.

Before We Begin

Adjusting your MacBook’s sleep settings can give your battery life a boost. However, if you’re still noticing a rapid battery drain, the culprit might be resource-intensive apps and background processes. With MacKeeper, you can easily identify what’s running behind the scenes and free up your RAM with just a click and prolong your battery life.

What Are the Sleep Modes on Mac?

On a Mac, there are several types of sleep modes that can help you manage energy consumption and system performance. Here are the primary sleep modes on Mac:

1. Standard Sleep

In this mode, your Mac goes into a low-power state, but it’s quick to wake up. The RAM stays powered so you can resume where you left off in just a few seconds. This mode is best for short breaks.

2. Standby (or Deep Sleep)

This is an even lower-power mode that kicks in if your Mac has been asleep for an extended period (usually about 3 hours). In this mode, the content of the RAM is written to the hard disk, and the RAM is powered down to save more energy.

Waking up from this mode takes a bit longer because the system has to reload the RAM content from the hard disk.

3. Hibernation

This mode is somewhat similar to Standby but is used less frequently in newer Macs. It saves the state of your computer to the hard disk and then shuts down completely, consuming zero power.

Waking up from Hibernation mode takes the longest time because the system has to boot up and restore its state.

4. Auto Sleep

Your Mac automatically goes to sleep after a certain period of inactivity, as set in the Energy Saver or Battery settings (for MacBooks). You can customize the auto-sleep time based on your preferences.

5. Power Nap (For Intel-based MacBooks Only)

While in Power Nap, your Mac will check for new email, calendar, and other iCloud updates while it’s asleep but plugged in. This allows you to have up-to-date information as soon as you wake up your Mac.

How to Check Your Mac’s Default Sleep Mode

Depending on your macOS version and MacBook model, one of the above mentioned sleep modes is set as default on your system. You can find out the default sleep mode of your Mac by following these steps:

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac by searching for it in Spotlight search (Command ⌘ + Space).
type terminal in spotlight search
  1. Type the following command in Terminal and press Enter:
pmset -g | grep hibernatemode
type pmset g grep hibernatemode in terminal
  1. You’ll see a number representing the default sleep mode of your Mac.
sleep mode code in terminal

Here’s what different number mean in terms of sleep modes:

Hibernate ModeDescriptionBest For
hibernatemode 0Standard Sleep: RAM stays powered.Quick sleep and wake-up; short breaks.
hibernatemode 1Hibernate Mode for pre-2005 portable MacBooks: Saves state to disk and powers down RAM.Older MacBooks; zero power consumption.
hibernatemode 3Safe Sleep: Combination of sleep and hibernate. RAM stays powered and state is also saved to disk.General use; mix of quick wake-up and safety.
hibernatemode 25For post-2005 MacBooks: Similar to hibernatemode 1 but optimized for newer models.Newer MacBooks; longer sleep periods; zero power consumption.

How to Change Sleep Time on Your Mac (macOS Ventura)

Adjusting your Mac’s sleep settings can be a straightforward process, and you can do it from the System Settings and Terminal. Here’s a simple guide to help you customize these settings:

1. Through System Settings

You can easily change the sleep time on your Mac via the System Settings. This approach is user-friendly and ideal for most people who aren’t looking to dive into the technical nitty-gritty.

Follow these steps to change your Mac’s sleep settings via System Settings:

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click the Lock Screen tab in the left sidebar.
select lock screen from left menu bar
  1. On the right side, under Lock Screen, you’ll see four options:
    • Start Screen Saver when inactive
    • Turn display off on battery when inactive
    • Turn display off on power adapter when inactive
    • Require password after screen saver begins or display is turned off
lock screen options

Each option has a dropdown button next to it. You can click the button and select a time from 1 minute to 3 hours (5 seconds to 8 hours for the password requirement options) or Never.

  1. If you have an Intel-based MacBook that supports Power Nap, you’ll see a checkbox for it. Check or uncheck it based on your preference.

2. Using Terminal Commands

If you prefer the Terminal or need more advanced customization like changing hibernatemode, there’s an easy command you can use. Follow these steps to change sleep time on your Mac using Terminal:

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac by searching for it in Spotlight search (Command ⌘ + Space).
type terminal in spotlight search
  1. Type the following command and press Enter to check the current power management settings:
pmset -g | grep hibernatemode
type pmset g grep hibernatemode in terminal
  1. To change the sleep time on your Mac, type the following command and press Enter:
sudo pmset hibernatemode X

Replace X with the mode you want i.e., 0, 1, 3, or 25.

type sudo pmset hibernatemode x in terminal
  1. You’ll need to enter your administrator password to make these changes.

Keep in mind your Mac comes with a default sleep mode optimized for its specific model. Generally, I don’t advise altering this setting unless you have a good reason to do so.

How to Change Your Mac’s Sleep Settings on Older macOS Versions

So you’ve got the hang of tweaking sleep settings on macOS Ventura, but what if you’re running an older version of macOS? Although the interface and options might look a tad different, the essence of controlling your Mac’s sleep behavior remains much the same.

If you’re hanging on to an older Mac for the nostalgia or because it still gets the job done, this section is for you.

macOS Big Sur and Monterey

Both Big Sur and Monterey follow the same steps for adjusting your Mac’s sleep behavior. Here’s how to change sleep time on your Mac if you’re running macOS Big Sur or Monterey:

On Battery

  1. Navigate to the Apple logo at the top-left corner and select System Preferences.
  2. Click Battery.
  3. Slide the Turn display off after slider to the Never position.

On Power Adapter

  1. Click the Apple icon and select System Preferences.
  2. Select Battery.
  3. Choose Power Adapter from the left sidebar.
  4. Use the slider to set the time it takes for the display to turn off, effectively preventing your Mac from automatically sleeping when the display is off.

macOS Catalina and Older

If you’re using macOS Catalina or an older version and want to prevent your Mac from falling asleep, you can use the following methods:

  1. Navigate to the Apple logo at the top-left corner and select System Preferences.
  2. In System Preferences, locate and click Energy Saver.
  3. Drag the Turn display off slider to Never.
  4. Also, check the following boxes under the slide:
    • Put hard disks to sleep when possible
    • Slightly dim the display while on battery power
    • Enable Power Nap while on battery power

How to Put Your Mac to Sleep Manually

Sometimes you don’t want to wait for your Mac to automatically go to sleep. Maybe you’re stepping away from your desk for a quick errand or are done for the day and just want to make sure your computer isn’t eating up unnecessary power.

Whatever the reason, putting your Mac to sleep manually is a straightforward process. Here’s how to do it:

1. Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Mac keyboard shortcuts are the quickest way to perform different actions. You can also use a keyboard shortcut to put your Mac to sleep, but it only works on a Mac desktop.

Press Control ^ + Command ⌘ + Q to lock the screen on your Mac Desktop.

macbook pro control command q keys

It also activates sleep mode if you’ve set your Energy Saver settings to put the computer to sleep when the screen is locked.

If you have a MacBook, simply close the lid and it will put your MacBook to sleep instantly.

2. Through the Apple Menu

  1. Click the Apple Logo in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select the Sleep option from the dropdown menu to manually put your Mac to sleep.
click the apple logo in the top left corner select the sleep

3. Using Hot Corners

You can use Hot Corners to put your Mac to sleep but you need to set a shortcut before you can use it. Here’s how to set a Hot Corner on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple logo, then click System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Desktop & Dock in the left sidebar.
click desktop and dock in system settings
  1. Scroll down the right pane and click the Hot Corners button at the bottom.
click the hot corners button
  1. A new pop-up will appear with four corners of your Mac screen. Pick a corner of your screen, click the dropdown button, and select Put Display to Sleep.
click a hot corner dropdown button and choose put display to sleep
  1. Click Done.

Now, whenever you move your mouse pointer to the chosen corner, your Mac’s display will go to sleep.

4. Using the Power Button

On some older Macs, pressing the power button briefly will bring up a dialog box where you can choose to put the Mac to sleep. On newer Macs, this might directly put the Mac to sleep.

press and hold the power button on your mac

How to Schedule Sleep on Your Mac (macOS Monterey and Some Earlier Versions Only)

Whether you want to ensure your Mac sleeps and wakes at specific times to fit your routine, or you’re looking to save energy during the hours you’re not using it, macOS Monterey—and some earlier versions—provide a feature to schedule these activities.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set it up:

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top-left corner of your screen, then select System Preferences.
  2. Look for the Energy Saver icon and click it. If you’re on a MacBook, you might see separate tabs for Battery and Power Adapter instead.
  3. In the left sidebar of the Energy Saver window, you’ll see a Schedule tab. Click on it.
  4. Here, you can choose the desired options from the following:
    • Start or wake: on weekdays, weekends, everyday, or on a specific day
    • Sleep, restart, or shut down: on weekdays, weekends, everyday, or on a specific day
  5. Click Apply and your settings will be applied.

Now, your Mac will automatically go to sleep and wake up based on the schedule you’ve set, ensuring it’s ready to work when you are, and conserving energy when you’re not.

How to Stop a Mac From Sleeping Using Terminal

If you prefer a command-line approach to prevent your Mac from sleeping, the Terminal is an effective tool for this purpose. The caffeinate command is especially useful for keeping your Mac awake for specific durations or under certain conditions.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Navigate to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal to open a Terminal window.
launch terminal from utilities
  1. Enter the following command and press Enter:
caffeinate -d
type caffeinate d in terminal
  1. If you want to keep your laptop awake for a certain amount of time, type the following command and press Enter:
caffeinate -t X

Here, X is the number of seconds.

type caffeinate t x in terminal

Always be cautious when using Terminal commands. Make sure you understand the command you’re running, as misuse can lead to unintended system behaviors.

How to Prevent Mac From Going to Sleep When Closing the Lid

Preventing a Mac from going to sleep when the lid is closed requires a different approach depending on the macOS version you’re running. Here’s how to manage this behavior on macOS Ventura and older versions:

On macOS Ventura

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner and choose System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Displays in the left sidebar.
click displays in system settings
  1. Scroll down the right pane and click the Advanced button.
click the advanced button in displays
  1. Toggle on the Prevent automatic sleeping on power adapter when the display is off option.
toggle on prevent automatic sleeping on power adapter when the display is off
  1. Click Done to save the changes.

On Older macOS Versions

  1. Click the Apple logo and select System Preferences.
  2. Go to Energy Saver.
  3. Check the Prevent your Mac from automatically sleeping when the display is off option to enable it.

Running your MacBook with the lid closed for extended periods may result in overheating, especially if the computer is not adequately ventilated.

Kill Battery-Draining Apps With MacKeeper

While macOS is generally efficient, some apps can be real energy hogs, eating away at your battery life without you even realizing it. That’s where MacKeeper comes into play. This nifty tool offers a range of features to keep your Mac running smoothly and specializes in identifying and quashing those battery-draining apps that lurk in the background.

Here’s how to kill background processes on your Mac with MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Open MacKeeper and click Memory Cleaner under the Performance tab.
select memory cleaner under performance
  1. Click Open.
click open in the memory cleaner
  1. Click Clean Memory.
click clean memory
  1. It will clean your Mac and free up available memory. You can see how much memory it freed under Last Cleanup.
memory cleaned after a cycle

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides freeing up RAM on your Mac, MacKeeper can perform various Mac optimization tasks, like deleting duplicate files, removing unwanted apps, and keeping ads in check. If you want to learn more about its amazing features, read my detailed MacKeeper review.

Let Your Mac Sleep After Inactive Sessions

Managing your Mac’s sleep settings can make a significant difference in your workflow and device’s battery life. Now that you’re equipped with these tips and tricks, you can better tailor your Mac’s behavior to suit your needs.

Here are some more tips for you to optimize your Mac experience:

  • If your MacBook’s battery is not charging, it indicates an underlying issue that needs addressing immediately or you’ll have to replace the battery.
  • Mac won’t shut down? Learn what could be the reason and how you can fix the issue.
  • Mac won’t turn on? That’s a frustrating issue that hinders productivity. Learn how to prevent your Mac from randomly shutting down and not restarting.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does a Mac go to sleep automatically?

    Yes, a Mac is configured to go to sleep automatically to save energy and prolong its lifespan. You can adjust the sleep settings in the System Settings under Lock Screen, Battery, or Energy Saver options, depending on your macOS version.

  2. How long does it take for a Mac to go to sleep?

    The time it takes for a Mac to go to sleep can vary based on your settings. You can customize this duration by going to System Settings and selecting Lock Screen. There, you’ll find options to adjust the time before your computer and display enter sleep mode.

  3. How do I get my Mac screen to stay awake longer?

    To keep your Mac screen awake for a longer period, go to System Settings and select Lock Screen, Energy Saver, or Battery, depending on your macOS version. Adjust the sliders or settings to extend the time before your screen and computer go to sleep.

  4. Will my alarm go off if my Mac is asleep?

    No, alarms set through most Mac applications will not go off if the computer is in sleep mode. The system suspends all activities to conserve energy while asleep, including alarm functions.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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