Have A Bash Script Sleep For A Few Minutes

Shell Programming

As a technical expert, I often find myself writing bash scripts to automate various tasks. One common requirement is to introduce a delay or sleep for a few minutes within the bash script. Let’s explore the practical steps to achieve this and the potential use cases for such a delay.

Understanding the ‘sleep’ Command

The sleep command in bash allows us to pause the execution of a script for a specified amount of time. The syntax is straightforward:

sleep [duration]

Here, the [duration] can be specified in seconds, minutes, hours, or a combination of these.

Adding Personal Touches

When I’m creating a bash script and need to introduce a delay, I often imagine the script “pausing” for a brief moment to catch its breath before continuing with the next set of instructions. It’s almost as if the script is taking a short nap to rejuvenate itself. This personification adds a touch of humor to an otherwise technical process.

Practical Example

Suppose I have a bash script that triggers a backup process, and I want to wait for a few minutes before initiating another task. I can incorporate the sleep command as follows:

# Triggering the backup process

# Waiting for 5 minutes before continuing
sleep 5m

# Initiating the next task

Use Cases for Delay

Introducing a delay in a bash script can be useful for various scenarios. For instance, it can be employed to schedule periodic tasks, ensure that certain services are fully started before executing subsequent commands, or simply to space out actions in a script for better readability and management.


Mastering the art of incorporating a delay in bash scripts can greatly enhance the effectiveness of automation processes. Whether it’s for practical purposes or just to add a touch of personality to your scripting endeavors, the sleep command is a valuable tool in the arsenal of any bash script writer.