Time Delay in Python

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Problem Statement: How can I make a time delay in Python?

Normally when you are coding, you want to execute the code and get the output immediately without any delay or discontinuity. However, there can be situations wherein you want to delay the execution of a certain piece of your code. For example, let’s say that you want to visualize the effect of multithreading with the help of a code. In this case, a slight time delay between the respective threads in the program can help you to better visualize the output and thereby enhance your understanding. So, this is when time delay becomes an extremely useful tool. 

You can use the time delay function between any two statements or between any part of the program as per your requirement. You can also use the time delay when you are waiting for any other process to complete, e.g., a file to upload.

Now, let’s have a look at the different methods to incorporate time delay in our Python code.

Method 1: Using sleep() Method of Time Module

sleep() is a built-in method of the time module in Python that is used to delay the execution of your code by the number of seconds specified by you. Let’s have a look at the syntax of the sleep method –

time.sleep(value in seconds)

Here, the delay in time can be passed as a parameter to the sleep method, which specifies the number of seconds by which you want to delay your script. Also, note that you must import the time module so that you can use its sleep method in your code.

Example 1: Creating a time delay of 6 seconds between two print statements.

import time
print(" Hello Folks! Welcome to FINXTER!")
print(" This gets printed after 6 seconds!")


TIDBIT: You can use the time.sleep() method to print messages in the string as if the compiler is auto typing. It is known as Dynamic printing.

Try to execute the following snippet in your compiler 😉

import time

st = "Hey Finxter! Welcome to the journey to master Python!"
for i in st:
    print(i, end="")
    # Making a time delay of 1 second

Method 2: Using sleep() Method of Asyncio Library

If you are using Python 3 or above, then there’s another library that provides the sleep method and can be used for the purpose of implementing time delay in our script. The name of this library is Asyncio.

Here’s what the official documentation says about the asyncio library –

source: https://docs.python.org/3/library/asyncio.html

Well, let’s have a look at an example to understand the working of the sleep method of the asyncio library.

# Importing the asyncio library
import asyncio

print("Hello Folks! Welcome to FINXTER!")

# Starting the code using async
async def show():
    await asyncio.sleep(6)
    print("This gets printed after 6 seconds!")



Difference between time.sleep and asyncio.sleep

The difference between time.sleep and asyncio.sleep is that generally the time.sleep() function is used for the purpose of blocking, and asyncio.sleep() is used for non-blocking. This means that the time.sleep() function blocks the entire execution of the script when it gets called, and the script gets put on hold while doing nothing. However, when you call await asyncio.sleep() function asks the event loop to run something else while the await statement finishes its execution.

Here’s an example –

import asyncio

async def foo():
    print('Executing A')
    await asyncio.sleep(5)
    print('Executing B')

async def main():
    await asyncio.gather(foo(), foo())

print("asyncio.sleep() in Operation!")


asyncio.sleep() in Operation!
Executing A
Executing A
Executing B
Executing B

Explanation: Since asyncio.sleep() does not block the entire script hence the first print statements for the foo() method get executed as foo() is called twice. Hence, the output is as shown above. In case the script was blocked, then the script would wait and print each print statement for the respective function calls before moving on to the next call.

Method 3: Using Event.wait()

Event.wait() is a function of the threading module in Python. The function is used to delay the execution of any process for the number of seconds that it takes as an argument. Event class is used to generate the events where any single event can be listened to by multiple threads.


# Importing Event from the threading module
from threading import Event
print(" Hello Folks! Welcome to FINXTER!")
print(" This gets printed after 6 seconds")


Method 4: Using Timer

Timer is another method from the threading module that is used to implement time delay in Python. The method is used to run and execute the operations only after a certain period has passed, thereby delaying the execution. To start the timer function, you have to call the start() method. The method accepts two parameter values where the first one denotes the number of seconds to wait before executing the code and the second parameter denotes a function that you need to run after the specific time.


Timer(value in seconds, function)


# Importing Timer from the threading module
from threading import Timer
print(" Hello and Welcome to Finxter")
def show():
    print("This gets printed after 7 seconds")
# Calling the timer method
t = Timer(7, show)  


Hello and Welcome to Finxter
This gets printed after 7 seconds

You can even halt the timer method by calling cancel(). You can use this function when you have many functions running and you want to cancel the execution of a single function based on the results of another function.


# Importing Timer from the threading module
from threading import Timer
def show():
    res = func1()
    t = Timer(5, func2)
    if(res < 5):
        print("Cancel the func3 as func2 resulted in", res)

def func2():
    print("The second function gets executed")
    return random.randint(1, 10)

def func3():
    print("Third function gets executed")

(Case 1- If the func2 returns number less than 5) Output:

The second function gets executed
Cancel the func3 as func2 resulted in 3

(Case 2- If the func2 returns a number greater than 5) Output:

The second function gets executed
Third function gets executed


In this article we discussed numerous ways to implement time delays in your Python code. I hope it has helped to answer your queries. Please subscribe and stay tuned for more interesting articles in the future.

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