What is the JavaScript version of sleep()?

Asked : Nov 17

Viewed : 30 times

Is there a better way to engineer a sleep in JavaScript than the following pausecomp function?

function pausecomp(millis)
    var date = new Date();
    var curDate = null;
    do { curDate = new Date(); }
    while(curDate-date < millis);

This is not a duplicate of Sleep in JavaScript - the delay between actions; I want a real sleep in the middle of a function, and not a delay before a piece of code executes.

javascript sleep 
4 Answers

2017 — 2021 update

Since 2009 when this question was asked, JavaScript has evolved significantly. All other answers are now obsolete or overly complicated. Here is the current best practice:

function sleep(ms) {
  return new Promise(resolve => setTimeout(resolve, ms));

async function demo() {
  console.log('Taking a break...');
  await sleep(2000);
  console.log('Two seconds later, showing sleep in a loop...');

  // Sleep in loop
  for (let i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
    if (i === 3)
      await sleep(2000);


This is it. await sleep(<duration>).

Or as a one-liner:

await new Promise(r => setTimeout(r, 2000));

Note that,

  1. await can only be executed in functions prefixed with the async keyword, or at the top level of your script in an increasing number of environments.
  2. await only pauses the current async function. This means it's not blocking the execution of the rest of the script, which is what you want in the vast majority of the cases. If you do want a blocking construct, see this answer using Atomics.wait, but note that most browsers will not allow it on the browser's main thread.

Two new JavaScript features (as of 2017) helped write this "sleep" function:

  • Promises, a native feature of ES2015 (aka ES6). We also use arrow functions in the definition of the sleep function.
  • The async/await feature lets the code explicitly wait for a promise to settle (resolve or reject).


  • promises are supported in Node v0.12+ and widely supported in browsers, except IE
  • async/await landed in V8 and has been enabled by default since Chrome 55 (released in Dec 2016)
    • it landed in Node 7 in October 2016
    • and also landed in Firefox Nightly in November 2016

answered Jan 17

If you're using jQuery, someone actually created a "delay" plugin that's nothing more than a wrapper for setTimeout:

// Delay Plugin for jQuery
// - http://www.evanbot.com
// - © 2008 Evan Byrne

jQuery.fn.delay = function(time,func){

    return this;

You can then just use it in a row of function calls as expected:


answered Jan 17

javascript sleep

function sleep(ms) {
  return new Promise(resolve => setTimeout(resolve, ms));

async function delayedGreeting() {
  await sleep(2000);
  await sleep(2000);

answered Jan 17

I've searched for a sleep solution too (not for production code, only for development and tests) and found this article:

JavaScript sleep() or wait()

...and here's another article with client-side solutions: JavaScript sleep

Also, when you are calling alert(), your code will be paused too, while the alert is shown -- you need to find a way to not display alert, but get the same effect. :)

answered Jan 17

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