A StockVisualMetaphor trope used widely in animated media. When a character sleeps, sometimes a lot of "Z's" are shown near the character, either in the form of a stream of z's coming from the character's mouth or head, or a group of "Zzz's" contained in a SpeechBubble. This trope used to be shown specifically for people who snore in their sleep. While the sound of snoring cannot be represented easily by letters or onomatopoeia (sometimes it's represented as a log being sawed inside a speech bubble), "Z" was chosen for some reason. It may originate from the musical quarter-rest symbol, which looks like a blackletter "z". The letter eventually became indicative of ''any'' sleeping person.

The trope is so obvious that people in media and real life use the term "Catching some Z's", or in Britain, Canada, or Australia, "Fetching some zeds" to indicate they're going to go to sleep. [[FridgeLogic Amusingly, it makes no sense; the Z's usually flutter off into space, and nobody catches them.]]

See SnotBubble for the anime version of this. Compare: CirclingBirdies.

* Used in the opening of ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', at the part where [[CloudCuckooLander Osaka]] is sleeping in class.

* Magazine/{{MAD}}'s parody of ''Series/{{Room 222}}'' was titled ''Room 222zzzz...'' (with the z's gradually trailing off over a scene showing the class asleep).
* In one ''[[ComicBook/TheBeano Bash Street Kids]]'' strip, Teacher ends up falling asleep and the kids (whom he's spent the entire story bringing into class) complain he's not teaching them anything but the last letter of the alphabet.

* ''Film/BadlyDrawnRoy'': Roy does this when he snores.
* In non-English versions of ''MeetTheRobinsons'', where Lizzy originally held up a piece of paper reading "Boring!" in reponse to Lewis' show-and-tell, the paper instead reads "Zzzzz".
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', Beard Papa is the guard King Candy has at the entrance to the Kart Bakery in ''Sugar Rush''. When Ralph and Vanellope sneak past his booth, he's sleeping and actual Z's are seen in the air.

* In ''The Chronicles of Ember'', a parody of ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber'', the FirstPersonNarrator writes he was "stacking Z's".

* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' is known to have Z's in a speech bubble. Unusually, it's usually only a single Z.
** In one strip, he stirred in his sleep and pondered that he was wasting his life and needed to add some variety. He achieved this by going back to sleep with a fancy, stylised Z.
* Aversion: In ''ComicStrip/{{Blondie}}'', Dagwood's snoring is written as "Skn-x-x-x!"
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' used this frequently with Snoopy and Peppermint Patty.
* ''The Katzenjammer Kids'' did it [[OlderThanTelevision before Charles Schulz was even born]].
* In one strip with WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}}, he is working in a supermarket stacking up tin cans to pyramids all the day, and at night the Z's of his snoring form a pyramid as well.

* A 1970s ''Series/SesameStreet'' sketch had a sleeping Herry Monster. A trail of Z's was shown as he snored.

* Played with in the Swedish children's learning show ''Fem Myror är Fler än Fyra Elefanter'' (Five ants are more than four elephants). As two of the characters learn about the letter Z, one of them (the [[StraightManAndWiseGuy Wise Guy]]) notes the letter being used when someone is sleeping in a Literature/{{Tarzan}} magazine, and the other explains that it's to denote a snoring sound. After this, the first character pronounces every Z he sees as a snore (as in Tarzan's name, for example).

* In ''VideoGame/{{Patapon}}'', units can fall asleep due to StandardStatusEffect with "Zzzzz" coming out of them when sleeping.
* This is used in the ''VideoGame/{{Sims}}'' games. Oddly, whenever Simlish is written, it's in a strange Greek/Hebrew/Wingdings hybrid that doesn't seem to actually contain the letter Z.
** Vampires in the ''Late Night'' expansion pack for ''Sims 3'' have V's instead of Z's.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' and its sequels, sleeping guards (i.e., knocked out with tranquilizers or already asleep when you come across them) have Z's floating around their heads. Beating them unconscious [[CirclingBirdies leaves stars]].
* Dozing non-player characters in ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline'' have the trail of Z's.
* This is used in ''CityOfHeroes'' to indicate the "sleep" StandardStatusEffect; it's also available for players to use as an "AFK" indication.
* In ''Prehistorik Man'', sleeping characters ({{Check Point}}s, [[IdleAnimation the hero if left alone]]) snore big red Z's that pop once above their heads.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', the Sleep StandardStatusEffect in the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series switched from SnotBubble to Z's.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' does this with Rip Van Fish in the aquatic levels.
** Sleeping characters in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' have this.
** The cover of ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' shows Luigi with some Zs for western releases, the Japanese cover uses a SnotBubble instead.
* Dream spell in ''VideoGame/{{Runescape}}'' results emitting letter Zs.
* It happens in ''Earnest Evans'' when the main character falls asleep.
* Sleeping dwarfs in ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' are shown with a blinking 'Z'. In Adventure Mode, you go to sleep (or wait around) by pressing 'Z' (case-sensitive).
* Used in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' when cutscenes show someone (usually the Protagonist) asleep.
* Sleeping ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' snore on their turn, while a few Zs float up from their head. Also, the move Snore has big spiky Zs in its animation in the third gen games. Also happens in the Mystery Dungeon series, including Gates to Infinity in one scene before the team [[spoiler: saves Espeon,]] in which [[spoiler: during Umbreon's explanation about the Entercards,]] everyone else falls asleep, resulting in this for everybody that fell asleep. In the same game, there is a trap with Zs on it. Stepping on it puts you to sleep.
** Also, in some games, some features have this, such as the PokéWalker, for example, in which if the screen goes blank, in the journal, some Zs in a speech bubble will appear above the strolling Pokémon's head. In Pokémon Black and White and the sequels Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the sleeping Pokémon (any of them) has this, alongside a dream cloud. Also happens in the Dream World. Either way, it's the selected Pokémon that is fast asleep with Zs appearing.
** And {{VideoGame/Pokemon X and Y}} have this too; sometimes, when you launch up Pokémon Amie, you will find your one Pokémon fast asleep complete with little "Zzzs" coming from it. You have to wake it up to play Pokémon Amie when this happens.
* In ''VideoGame/ToejamAndEarl'' for the Genesis, if you remain idle for a certain amount of time, or open up a School Book present, your character will lie on his back and start snoring, complete with little "Zzzz.." coming from him.
* Used in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' to indicate sleeping mobs; moving too close will wake them up, but usually slowly. This behavior is exploited for several puzzles.
* The infamous ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Bart's Nightmare]]'' gives you a health bar composed of Z's, indicating how deeply Bart is sleeping. (Waking up is GameOver.)
* Used for the Hermit Gunsmith in ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. In fact, he'll even '''say''' "Zzzz..." in Nicolas's translation of the game (that is, Wiiware version, ''Cave Story 3D'', ''Cave Story+'', etc.).
* In ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' ''Melee'' and ''Brawl'', Mr. Game and Watch, being a flat and two-dimensional fighter, will do this when he is put to sleep.

* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-09-13 putting your toe in Lethe puts it to sleep -- with a Z.]]
* In ''Webcomic/WakeTheSleepers'', [[http://wakethesleepers.com/comics/47 in the middle of a conversation]].
* Everyone in ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'' ... but [[ThePhantomOfTheOpera Erik's]] Z's are [[http://asherhyder.deviantart.com/art/Roommates-12-Movie-Night-65642265 special]] (musical rest signs).
* ''Webcomic/BrawlInTheFamily'' does this to both Kirby and Jigglypuff in [[http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/2012/08/03/426-serenade/ this]] strip after falling asleep during Kirby's song.
** There is also an [[http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/2010/04/08/234-meta-knight-the-sweetheart/ earlier strip]] where Meta Knight ends up doing this as he is sleeping.
* Done in [[Webcomic/NuzlockeComics a Nuzlocke comic called "Petty's LeafGreen Nuzlocke"]] in the [[http://pettynuzlockelg.smackjeeves.com/comics/1011725/part-1/ beginning of the comic]], where Locke ends up doing this in the first panel.
* In ''Webcomic/DragonMango''
** [[http://dragon-mango.com/comic/chapter03/dm03-33.htm when Mango and Cherry fall asleep during Bleu Berry's introduction]]
** [[http://dragon-mango.com/comic/chapter04/dm04-34.htm when the king and princess fall asleep during the budget discussion.]]
** [[http://dragon-mango.com/comic/chapter04/dm04-41.htm Mango weaponizes the weakness to get her asleep again -- with more z's]]
* In ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'', [[http://www.avasdemon.com/pages.php?page=0090 falling asleep after seeing what happened to Ava.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Sarah finds Tedd [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2002-05-05 asleep on the couch]] with Grace. Since Grace is [[VoluntaryShapeshifting in a half-cat form]] at the time she's purring instead of snoring.
* In ''Webcomic/UrbanUnderbrush'', [[http://www.lepusstudios.com/uu0146.html falling asleep in jail.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Erstwhile}}'', [[http://www.erstwhiletales.com/the-worn-out-dancing-shoes-13/#.UaApfdhBCuM the soldier feigns sleep and gets them.]]
* In ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'', [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-343/ Almond really doesn't want to attend the concert.]]

* WebAnimation/TohoKingdomToons did this near the end [[http://www.tohokingdom.com/media/toons/toon_120.htm Kimchi]] to Celebi due to her being tired.
** [[http://www.tohokingdom.com/media/toons/toon_168.htm And this was done again to another character two seasons later!]]

* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' have the Zzzz stream happening quite a bit. One short is even titled "From A to Z-Z-Z-Z".
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' had Homer Simpson by a [[Franchise/LeapFrog Phonics Frog]] toy, and at one point he is sleeping with the toy, with it constantly saying "Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z..."

* The "Life In These United States" humor feature of Reader's Digest once told the reportedly true story of an airline passenger who fell asleep in his seat, his laptop in front of him, with a finger stuck on a very appropriate key. As the passenger slept, the screen on his laptop filled with "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."