nanosleep - pause execution for a specified time


#include <time.h> int nanosleep(const struct timespec *req, struct timespec *rem);


nanosleep(2) delays the execution of the program for at least the time specified in *req. The function can return earlier if a signal has been delivered to the process. In this case, it returns -1, sets errno to EINTR, and writes the remaining time into the structure pointed to by rem unless rem is NULL. The value of *rem can then be used to call nanosleep again and complete the specified pause.

The structure timespec is used to specify intervals of time with nanosecond precision. It is specified in <time.h> and has the form

struct timespec {

time_t tv_sec; /* seconds / long tv_nsec; / nanoseconds */


The value of the nanoseconds field must be in the range 0 to 999 999 999.

Compared to sleep(3) and usleep(3), nanosleep has the advantage of not affecting any signals, it is standardized by POSIX, it provides higher timing resolution, and it allows to continue a sleep that has been interrupted by a signal more easily.


In case of an error or exception, the nanosleep system call returns -1 instead of 0 and sets errno to one of the following values:

The pause has been interrupted by a non-blocked signal that was delivered to the process. The remaining sleep time has been written into *rem so that the process can easily call nanosleep(2) again and continue with the pause.
The value in the tv_nsec field was not in the range 0 to 999 999 999 or tv_sec was negative.


The current implementation of nanosleep is based on the normal kernel timer mechanism, which has a resolution of 1/HZ s (i.e, 10 ms on Linux/i386 and 1 ms on Linux/Alpha). Therefore, nanosleep pauses always for at least the specified time, however it can take up to 10 ms longer than specified until the process becomes runnable again. For the same reason, the value returned in case of a delivered signal in *rem is usually rounded to the next larger multiple of 1/HZ s.

As some applications require much more precise pauses (e.g., in order to control some time-critical hardware), nanosleep is also capable of short high-precision pauses. If the process is scheduled under a real-time policy like SCHED_FIFO or SCHED_RR, then pauses of up to 2 ms will be performed as busy waits with microsecond precision.


POSIX.1b (formerly POSIX.4).


sleep(3), usleep(3), sched_setscheduler(2), timer_create(2)?

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