Sleep Modes


ESP32-C3 is capable of light sleep and deep sleep power saving modes.

In light sleep mode, digital peripherals, most of the RAM, and CPUs are clock-gated, and supply voltage is reduced. Upon exit from light sleep, peripherals and CPUs resume operation, their internal state is preserved.

In deep sleep mode, CPUs, most of the RAM, and all the digital peripherals which are clocked from APB_CLK are powered off. The only parts of the chip which can still be powered on are:

  • RTC controller

  • RTC peripherals

  • RTC fast memory

Wakeup from deep and light sleep modes can be done using several sources. These sources can be combined, in this case the chip will wake up when any one of the sources is triggered. Wakeup sources can be enabled using esp_sleep_enable_X_wakeup APIs and can be disabled using esp_sleep_disable_wakeup_source() API. Next section describes these APIs in detail. Wakeup sources can be configured at any moment before entering light or deep sleep mode.

Additionally, the application can force specific powerdown modes for the RTC peripherals and RTC memories using esp_sleep_pd_config() API.

Once wakeup sources are configured, application can enter sleep mode using esp_light_sleep_start() or esp_deep_sleep_start() APIs. At this point the hardware will be configured according to the requested wakeup sources, and RTC controller will either power down or power off the CPUs and digital peripherals.

If WiFi connection needs to be maintained, enable WiFi modem sleep, and enable automatic light sleep feature (see Power Management APIs). This will allow the system to wake up from sleep automatically when required by WiFi driver, thereby maintaining connection to the AP.

WiFi/BT and sleep modes

In deep sleep and light sleep modes, wireless peripherals are powered down. Before entering deep sleep or light sleep modes, applications must disable WiFi and BT using appropriate calls (esp_bluedroid_disable(), esp_bt_controller_disable(), esp_wifi_stop()). WiFi and BT connections will not be maintained in deep sleep or light sleep, even if these functions are not called.

Wakeup sources


RTC controller has a built in timer which can be used to wake up the chip after a predefined amount of time. Time is specified at microsecond precision, but the actual resolution depends on the clock source selected for RTC SLOW_CLK.

This wakeup mode doesn’t require RTC peripherals or RTC memories to be powered on during sleep.

esp_sleep_enable_timer_wakeup() function can be used to enable deep sleep wakeup using a timer.

UART wakeup (light sleep only)

When ESP32-C3 receives UART input from external devices, it is often required to wake up the chip when input data is available. UART peripheral contains a feature which allows waking up the chip from light sleep when a certain number of positive edges on RX pin are seen. This number of positive edges can be set using uart_set_wakeup_threshold() function. Note that the character which triggers wakeup (and any characters before it) will not be received by the UART after wakeup. This means that the external device typically needs to send an extra character to the ESP32-C3 to trigger wakeup, before sending the data.

esp_sleep_enable_uart_wakeup() function can be used to enable this wakeup source.

Power-down of RTC peripherals and memories

By default, esp_deep_sleep_start() and esp_light_sleep_start() functions will power down all RTC power domains which are not needed by the enabled wakeup sources. To override this behaviour, esp_sleep_pd_config() function is provided.

In ESP32-C3 there is only RTC fast memory, so if some variables in the program are marked by RTC_DATA_ATTR, RTC_SLOW_ATTR or RTC_FAST_ATTR attributes, all of them go to RTC fast memory. It will be kept powered on by default. This can be overridden using esp_sleep_pd_config() function, if desired.

Entering light sleep

esp_light_sleep_start() function can be used to enter light sleep once wakeup sources are configured. It is also possible to go into light sleep with no wakeup sources configured, in this case the chip will be in light sleep mode indefinitely, until external reset is applied.

Entering deep sleep

esp_deep_sleep_start() function can be used to enter deep sleep once wakeup sources are configured. It is also possible to go into deep sleep with no wakeup sources configured, in this case the chip will be in deep sleep mode indefinitely, until external reset is applied.

Configuring IOs

Some ESP32-C3 IOs have internal pullups or pulldowns, which are enabled by default. If an external circuit drives this pin in deep sleep mode, current consumption may increase due to current flowing through these pullups and pulldowns.

To isolate a pin, preventing extra current draw, call rtc_gpio_isolate() function.

For example, on ESP32-WROVER module, GPIO12 is pulled up externally. GPIO12 also has an internal pulldown in the ESP32 chip. This means that in deep sleep, some current will flow through these external and internal resistors, increasing deep sleep current above the minimal possible value. Add the following code before esp_deep_sleep_start() to remove this extra current:


UART output handling

Before entering sleep mode, esp_deep_sleep_start() will flush the contents of UART FIFOs.

When entering light sleep mode using esp_light_sleep_start(), UART FIFOs will not be flushed. Instead, UART output will be suspended, and remaining characters in the FIFO will be sent out after wakeup from light sleep.

Checking sleep wakeup cause

esp_sleep_get_wakeup_cause() function can be used to check which wakeup source has triggered wakeup from sleep mode.

Disable sleep wakeup source

Previously configured wakeup source can be disabled later using esp_sleep_disable_wakeup_source() API. This function deactivates trigger for the given wakeup source. Additionally it can disable all triggers if the argument is ESP_SLEEP_WAKEUP_ALL.

Application Example

Implementation of basic functionality of deep sleep is shown in protocols/sntp example, where ESP module is periodically waken up to retrieve time from NTP server.

API Reference


esp_err_t esp_sleep_disable_wakeup_source(esp_sleep_source_t source)

Disable wakeup source.

This function is used to deactivate wake up trigger for source defined as parameter of the function.

See docs/sleep-modes.rst for details.


This function does not modify wake up configuration in RTC. It will be performed in esp_sleep_start function.


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_STATE if trigger was not active

  • source: - number of source to disable of type esp_sleep_source_t

esp_err_t esp_sleep_enable_timer_wakeup(uint64_t time_in_us)

Enable wakeup by timer.


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_ARG if value is out of range (TBD)

  • time_in_us: time before wakeup, in microseconds

bool esp_sleep_is_valid_wakeup_gpio(gpio_num_t gpio_num)

Returns true if a GPIO number is valid for use as wakeup source.


For SoCs with RTC IO capability, this can be any valid RTC IO input pin.


True if this GPIO number will be accepted as a sleep wakeup source.

  • gpio_num: Number of the GPIO to test for wakeup source capability

esp_err_t esp_deep_sleep_enable_gpio_wakeup(uint64_t gpio_pin_mask, esp_deepsleep_gpio_wake_up_mode_t mode)

Enable wakeup using specific gpio pins.

This function enables an IO pin to wake the chip from deep sleep


This function does not modify pin configuration. The pins are configured in esp_sleep_start, immediately before entering sleep mode.


You don’t need to care to pull-up or pull-down before using this function, because this will be done in esp_sleep_start based on param mask you give. BTW, when you use low level to wake up the chip, we strongly recommand you to add external registors(pull-up).


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_ARG if gpio num is more than 5 or mode is invalid,

  • gpio_pin_mask: Bit mask of GPIO numbers which will cause wakeup. Only GPIOs which are have RTC functionality can be used in this bit map.

  • mode: Select logic function used to determine wakeup condition:

    • ESP_GPIO_WAKEUP_GPIO_LOW: wake up when the gpio turn to low.

    • ESP_GPIO_WAKEUP_GPIO_HIGH: wake up when the gpio turn to high.

esp_err_t esp_sleep_enable_gpio_wakeup(void)

Enable wakeup from light sleep using GPIOs.

Each GPIO supports wakeup function, which can be triggered on either low level or high level. Unlike EXT0 and EXT1 wakeup sources, this method can be used both for all IOs: RTC IOs and digital IOs. It can only be used to wakeup from light sleep though.

To enable wakeup, first call gpio_wakeup_enable, specifying gpio number and wakeup level, for each GPIO which is used for wakeup. Then call this function to enable wakeup feature.


In revisions 0 and 1 of the ESP32, GPIO wakeup source can not be used together with touch or ULP wakeup sources.


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_STATE if wakeup triggers conflict

esp_err_t esp_sleep_enable_uart_wakeup(int uart_num)

Enable wakeup from light sleep using UART.

Use uart_set_wakeup_threshold function to configure UART wakeup threshold.

Wakeup from light sleep takes some time, so not every character sent to the UART can be received by the application.


ESP32 does not support wakeup from UART2.


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_ARG if wakeup from given UART is not supported

  • uart_num: UART port to wake up from

esp_err_t esp_sleep_enable_wifi_wakeup(void)

Enable wakeup by WiFi MAC.


  • ESP_OK on success

esp_err_t esp_sleep_disable_wifi_wakeup(void)

Disable wakeup by WiFi MAC.


  • ESP_OK on success

uint64_t esp_sleep_get_ext1_wakeup_status(void)

Get the bit mask of GPIOs which caused wakeup (ext1)

If wakeup was caused by another source, this function will return 0.


bit mask, if GPIOn caused wakeup, BIT(n) will be set

uint64_t esp_sleep_get_gpio_wakeup_status(void)

Get the bit mask of GPIOs which caused wakeup (gpio)

If wakeup was caused by another source, this function will return 0.


bit mask, if GPIOn caused wakeup, BIT(n) will be set

esp_err_t esp_sleep_pd_config(esp_sleep_pd_domain_t domain, esp_sleep_pd_option_t option)

Set power down mode for an RTC power domain in sleep mode.

If not set set using this API, all power domains default to ESP_PD_OPTION_AUTO.


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_ARG if either of the arguments is out of range

  • domain: power domain to configure

  • option: power down option (ESP_PD_OPTION_OFF, ESP_PD_OPTION_ON, or ESP_PD_OPTION_AUTO)

void esp_deep_sleep_start(void)

Enter deep sleep with the configured wakeup options.

This function does not return.

esp_err_t esp_light_sleep_start(void)

Enter light sleep with the configured wakeup options.


  • ESP_OK on success (returned after wakeup)

  • ESP_ERR_INVALID_STATE if WiFi or BT is not stopped

void esp_deep_sleep(uint64_t time_in_us)

Enter deep-sleep mode.

The device will automatically wake up after the deep-sleep time Upon waking up, the device calls deep sleep wake stub, and then proceeds to load application.

Call to this function is equivalent to a call to esp_deep_sleep_enable_timer_wakeup followed by a call to esp_deep_sleep_start.

esp_deep_sleep does not shut down WiFi, BT, and higher level protocol connections gracefully. Make sure relevant WiFi and BT stack functions are called to close any connections and deinitialize the peripherals. These include:

  • esp_bluedroid_disable

  • esp_bt_controller_disable

  • esp_wifi_stop

This function does not return.


The device will wake up immediately if the deep-sleep time is set to 0

  • time_in_us: deep-sleep time, unit: microsecond

esp_sleep_wakeup_cause_t esp_sleep_get_wakeup_cause(void)

Get the wakeup source which caused wakeup from sleep.


cause of wake up from last sleep (deep sleep or light sleep)

void esp_wake_deep_sleep(void)

Default stub to run on wake from deep sleep.

Allows for executing code immediately on wake from sleep, before the software bootloader or ESP-IDF app has started up.

This function is weak-linked, so you can implement your own version to run code immediately when the chip wakes from sleep.

See docs/deep-sleep-stub.rst for details.

void esp_set_deep_sleep_wake_stub(esp_deep_sleep_wake_stub_fn_t new_stub)

Install a new stub at runtime to run on wake from deep sleep.

If implementing esp_wake_deep_sleep() then it is not necessary to call this function.

However, it is possible to call this function to substitute a different deep sleep stub. Any function used as a deep sleep stub must be marked RTC_IRAM_ATTR, and must obey the same rules given for esp_wake_deep_sleep().

esp_deep_sleep_wake_stub_fn_t esp_get_deep_sleep_wake_stub(void)

Get current wake from deep sleep stub.


Return current wake from deep sleep stub, or NULL if no stub is installed.

void esp_default_wake_deep_sleep(void)

The default esp-idf-provided esp_wake_deep_sleep() stub.

See docs/deep-sleep-stub.rst for details.

void esp_deep_sleep_disable_rom_logging(void)

Disable logging from the ROM code after deep sleep.

Using LSB of RTC_STORE4.

esp_err_t esp_sleep_cpu_pd_low_init(bool enable)

CPU Power down low-level initialize.


  • ESP_OK on success

  • ESP_ERR_NO_MEM not enough retention memory

  • enable: enable or disable CPU power down during light sleep

void esp_sleep_config_gpio_isolate(void)

Configure to isolate all GPIO pins in sleep state.

void esp_sleep_enable_gpio_switch(bool enable)

Enable or disable GPIO pins status switching between slept status and waked status.

  • enable: decide whether to switch status or not

Type Definitions

typedef esp_sleep_source_t esp_sleep_wakeup_cause_t
typedef void (*esp_deep_sleep_wake_stub_fn_t)(void)

Function type for stub to run on wake from sleep.


enum esp_sleep_ext1_wakeup_mode_t

Logic function used for EXT1 wakeup mode.



Wake the chip when all selected GPIOs go low.


Wake the chip when any of the selected GPIOs go high.

enum esp_deepsleep_gpio_wake_up_mode_t


enum esp_sleep_pd_domain_t

Power domains which can be powered down in sleep mode.



RTC IO, sensors and ULP co-processor.


RTC slow memory.


RTC fast memory.


XTAL oscillator.


CPU core.


Internal 8M oscillator.




Number of domains.

enum esp_sleep_pd_option_t

Power down options.



Power down the power domain in sleep mode.


Keep power domain enabled during sleep mode.


Keep power domain enabled in sleep mode, if it is needed by one of the wakeup options. Otherwise power it down.

enum esp_sleep_source_t

Sleep wakeup cause.



In case of deep sleep, reset was not caused by exit from deep sleep.


Not a wakeup cause, used to disable all wakeup sources with esp_sleep_disable_wakeup_source.


Wakeup caused by external signal using RTC_IO.


Wakeup caused by external signal using RTC_CNTL.


Wakeup caused by timer.


Wakeup caused by touchpad.


Wakeup caused by ULP program.


Wakeup caused by GPIO (light sleep only)


Wakeup caused by UART (light sleep only)


Wakeup caused by WIFI (light sleep only)


Wakeup caused by COCPU int.


Wakeup caused by COCPU crash.


Wakeup caused by BT (light sleep only)