I was reading doc and it is still unclear for me, whether the following is possible to accomplish:

service defined in ~/.config/systemd/user/task.service that depends on system sleep.target (~/.config/systemd/user/sleep.target.wants/task.service).

Now I expect task.service to start when I run $ systemctl suspend, however task.service is not started.

I'm running debian, with systemd version 208, systemd --user configured more or less as described on the ArchWiki.

I wonder whether my scenario could be implemented with systemd at all, or are --system and --user completely isolated by design so that --user unit may not be a dependency of a --system unit.

In case it is possible, what might be the problem in my case?


systemd user session services run in a completely separate instance of systemd, and doesn’t have any way to depend on system services directly.

There are other ways to accomplish what you want though. The cleanest would probably be to make whatever you want to run when the system is going to sleep hook into logind’s inhibitors and then run it as a background daemon.

A more general solution would be to have a daemon hooks into the logind inhibitors, (see systemd-lock-handler and xss-lock,) and then when the system is going to sleep it will activate a user session target that you can order your services under.


From systemd/User - Archwiki

systemd --user runs as a separate process from the systemd --system process. User units can not reference or depend on system units.

  • 3
    This sucks. That's too bad. – Rolf Mar 29 '18 at 12:49

Adding to the response from @kyrias, here's a way to create your own user level sleep.target:


Description=User level sleep target



dbus-monitor --system "type='signal',interface='org.freedesktop.login1.Manager',member=PrepareForSleep" | while read x; do
    case "$x" in
        *"boolean false"*) systemctl --user --no-block stop sleep.target;;
        *"boolean true"*) systemctl --user --no-block start sleep.target;;


Description=watch for sleep signal to start sleep.target



See my blog post https://medium.com/@aiguofer/systemd-sleep-target-for-user-level-10eb003b3bfd

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.