When does Ensign Kim sleep? He makes references to working the night shift when the other senior staff are asleep and is shown to have the bridge during that time, but:

  • Ensign Kim interacts with other senior staff when they are awake, including on the bridge.
  • Ensign Kim attends staff meetings with the other senior staff when he should presumably be asleep.
  • Ensign Kim goes on away missions with people whose sleep schedule should be opposite his own.

So when does this guy sleep? My theory is that one of the side effects of The Disease (VOY 5x17) is that he no longer needs sleep.

  • 2
    Nothing says Kim has worked night shifts at any significant frequency. He could have been working night shifts on an occasional basis for any of a number of reasons - filling in for an indisposed crewmember, gaining experience, trading favors, etc. If he's seen during consecutive night and day shifts, nothing says it wasn't a "one-off"; if he is on a night shift and also turns out for a day shift staff meeting, perhaps that meeting was his only day time duty.
    – Anthony X
    Jun 19, 2020 at 22:42
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    This raises an important point: why does the ship even have "day" and "night" when there is no "day" and "night" in space, and the ship needs to operate on a continuous basis? It would make sense for individual crew to live by their own personal "day" and "night" in co-ordination with their duty schedule and some fraction of the crew with whom they would socialize, but it makes no sense to have a shipboard "day" and "night".
    – Anthony X
    Jun 19, 2020 at 22:47
  • 1
    @AnthonyX the ship is probably running 6 or 8-hour shifts (like other StarFleet ships) - one of those would be the "night" shift.
    – HorusKol
    Jun 20, 2020 at 12:07
  • 1
    He can sleep when he's dead! Which, if I remember correctly, happens about every three or four episodes. Jun 20, 2020 at 14:03
  • 1
    One thing I don't ever recall seeing mentioned anywhere is how long a day is on a Federation starship Jun 20, 2020 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


Harry has the Night Watch regularly, but not nightly.

We can look at at TNG and modern naval practices can give some idea of what a watch rotation might look like.

In TNG 6x10: Chain of Command, Part 1, we learn that the Enterprise operates on three duty shifts when Captain Jellico changes it to four. The Enterprise crew, or at least Riker, is resistant to the change. But honestly, there are people in the real world that believe a shorter work day is actually more productiveA,B,C - Jellico may have been on to something.

If Voyager uses three watches, like Enterprise, then poor Harry may be pulling sixteen hour days - a pace he probably can't keep up indefinitely. If Voyager uses four watches, like Jellico prefers, that's only twelve hour days - rough, but more reasonable over a longer period of time.

VOY 7x08: Nightingale provides a bit of evidence that Voyager may use shorter watch rotations than Enterprise:

JANEWAY: You've been in command on Voyager before.

KIM: On the night shift, for a few hours. It's not the same thing. You and Chakotay are always a couple of decks away, ready to take over if anything goes wrong. I've been on Voyager for almost seven years and I'm still an Ensign.

From http://www.chakoteya.net/Voyager/708.htm, emphasis added.

In VOY 7x19: Author, Author, Harry tells his parents he only gets to do it twice a week:

MARY KIM [on screen]: I was hoping you could record a short presentation about what it's like to command a starship.

KIM: But I don't command a starship.

MARY KIM [on screen]: In your letters you said the captain puts you in charge sometimes.

KIM: What I said was I'm in command of the night shift, twice a week.

From http://www.chakoteya.net/Voyager/717.htm

In the real world, there are a wide variety of watchkeeping rotations, some of which divide the duties into even smaller slices than 6 or 8 hours. If Voyager uses one of these real-world schemes, his "night watch" may only be an extra four hours. That said, if he has a night watch and a day watch, that probably makes him an afternoon sleeper or perhaps one of those people that can successfully and easily pull off polyphasic sleep.

Again though, there isn't really enough information to know for sure.

  • 1
    He might be voluntarily pulling double shifts in order to get the command experience on the night shift.
    – Darren
    Jun 19, 2020 at 20:51
  • 2
    It’s also possible he’s one of those few people out there that has the right genetics to not need as much sleep as most do. Short Sleeper Syndrome. Kim might have this and has adapted to it. Jun 20, 2020 at 3:22
  • 1
    Just the name polyphasic sleep made me assume it was going to be a link to Memory Alpha!
    – Rob
    Jun 20, 2020 at 8:16
  • 2
    @Rob It does sound like Treknobabble, doesn't it?
    – T.J.L.
    Jun 21, 2020 at 2:22

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