How to set your computer to sleep automatically

Sleep is a power-saving state that allows a computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again. Putting your computer into the sleep state is like pausing a DVD player—the computer immediately stops what it’s doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working.

Hibernation is a power-saving state designed primarily for laptops. While sleep puts your work and settings in memory and draws a small amount of power, hibernation puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk and then turns off your computer. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power. On a laptop, use hibernation when you know that you won't use your laptop for an extended period and won't have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time.

Hybrid sleep is designed primarily for desktop computers. Hybrid sleep is a combination of sleep and hibernate—it puts any open documents and programs in memory and on your hard disk, and then puts your computer into a low-power state so that you can quickly resume your work. That way, if a power failure occurs, Windows can restore your work from your hard disk. When hybrid sleep is turned on, putting your computer into sleep automatically puts your computer into hybrid sleep. Hybrid sleep is typically turned on by default on desktop computers.

Windows 8:

  1. Open the Control Panel and type "Power Options," without the quotation marks, in the Search field in the upper-right corner.
  2. Click the "Power Options" link in the search results screen to open the Power Options window.
  3. Click "Choose When To Turn Off The Display" from the menu on the left side of the Power Options window to open the Edit Plan Settings window.
  4. Use the drop-down menu to the right of "Put the computer to sleep" to adjust the length of time before the computer goes to sleep.
  5. Click the "Save Changes" button to immediately apply your changes.

Windows 7:

  1. Click on the windows icon on the bottom left of your screen and select 'Control Panel' on the right
  2. Click the "System and Security" button on the upper left
  3. Under the "Power Options" tab is a link that says "Change when the computer sleeps" click on this.
  4. Check "Power Saver" and then click on "Edit Plan Settings"
  5. Adjust the settings to your liking and click the "Save Changes" button to immediately apply your changes

Mac:

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click the Energy Saver icon in the System Preferences window.
  3. Select the Battery or Power Adapter tab depending on which behavior you want to change.
  4. Slide the bar to your preferred amount of time.