Infographic Text: The ABCs of ZZZs

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detail of infographic about sleeping. It shows a person sitting on bed, head in hands, Causes for insomnia, good or bad stress
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The ABCs of ZZZs

Sleep. We all need it, but few of us get enough. Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder, and more than 10 percent will experience insomnia lasting a month or longer. Here are some of the most common reasons adults – and children – have interrupted sleep and the steps you can take to improve your sleep.


Trouble falling or staying asleep or waking too early.

Causes for insomnia:

  • Good or bad stress. Any major life change – new job, relationship, baby or personal/financial problems.
  • Medical condition. Asthma or other respiratory problem.
  • Hormonal changes. For women – pregnancy, menopause.

What you can do:

  • Make sleep a priority. Try to get 7 to 8 hours each night.
  • Improve your Sleep Hygiene
    • Make your bed a sanctuary for sleep – and keep other activities like reading, work or TV out of the bedroom.
    • No electronics for 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime.
    • Free your mind of persistent worries by jotting down your stresses or what you forgot to do that day.
    • Wind down before bedtime with your own relaxing bedtime rituals.

Sleepwalking and sleep talking

Affects about 15 percent of the population, mostly children.


Most common in kids between 4- and 8-years old.

  • Usually outgrown at the end of adolescence.
  • Sleepwalking is more common.
  • Sleep talking is usually harmless.

Causes for sleepwalking:

  • Genetics
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Prescription sleep aids

What you can do:

  • For yourself:
    • Keep a regular bedtime.
    • Minimize anxiety or stress.
  • For your child:
    • Ensure safety – prevent falls or harm to others.

Sleep Apnea

More than 18 million American adults are affected by this breathing disorder during seep. [diagram of reclining head with blocked airway]


  • Appear to be holding your breath or stop breathing during sleep.
  • Loud snoring.
  • Wake up gasping or choking for air.

What you can do:

  • Talk with your physician.
  • Ask your spouse or family if they have noticed anything odd about your sleep
  • Participate in a sleep study.

This information and much more is available in Kaiser Permanente’s Total Health Radio podcast episode, The ABCs of ZZZs.

Interested in learning what else you can do to optimize your sleep? Visit Additional advice on sleep hygiene is available from the National Sleep Foundation.

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