What is the most common or correct spelling of "zzzzz"?

(1)   zzzzz (5 letters)

(2)   zzzz (4 letters)

(3)   zzz (3 letters)

My question stems from when I first wrote it as "zzzzz" (5 letters) in an English text, but a friend told me it should have been written as "zzzz" (4 letters) so I decided to ask here.

More confusion arises from the following source because Susan Ince, the journalist, uses "zzz" (3 letters):

People who get too little sleep (six hours or less a night), plus have poor-quality rest, face a 65% higher risk of heart disease, a Dutch study of 20,400 people found. So take your zzz's seriously. Tell your doctor if you're having trouble sleeping or if you're waking up without feeling refreshed. And adopt good sleep hygiene — no caffeine after lunch, regular bedtimes and wake-up times, plenty of exercise in the early part of the day, no television or computer in bed — to help you get the rest your heart needs. (For more tips, read 25 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight.)

Before that I had checked it out on some online English dictionary and Google search but I wasn't able to clear it out.

I've seen this and this, but neither answers my question.

  • 1
    +1: you obviously know what you're doing and the haters are just looking for something to hate. I hope you get this answered!
    – Frantisek
    Aug 26, 2012 at 16:55
  • 3
    Use any number of Zs, from one to many, for the effect you need. There's no correct spelling, but I expect the triple is the most common and concise.
    – Hugo
    Aug 26, 2012 at 17:03
  • 7
    @Tonpour: first of all, "@-downvoter" won't ping anyone. Secondly, the "blah blah blah" question collected one downvote for every upvote; yours is far from that. Please stop fishing for pity upvotes. Thirdly, in addition to the many downvotes that other question collected, it also got closed and reopened, generated quite some controversy and a dedicated meta post. I was among its defenders, but frankly, it appears to me you are pushing the envelope on purpose, and your comments come off as deliberately trying to foment unrest and division.
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 26, 2012 at 17:21
  • 2
    I've voting to close as Not Constructive, but OP might like to look at this NGram which clearly shows that zzz is the most common form. Aug 26, 2012 at 17:22
  • 3
    For what it's worth, I don't know that the number of z's really means anything – a string of z's connotes sleeping, and nothing makes 4 z's any more "correct" than 5 or 3. I'd bet that simple aesthetics often plays a role in how many z's a writer chooses to use, though it may be interesting to know that my Mac spell checker accepts zzz and zzzz, but puts a red squiggle underneath zz and zzzzz (not that too much needs to be read into that). Anyway, that's my two cents; wake me up when the dust settles.... zzzzzzzz.
    – J.R.
    Aug 26, 2012 at 18:27


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