Tuesday, April 9, 2013

TNG: Night Terrors

Last night my husband dreamed about gold fish. I know this because, around 3AM he woke me up asking, "Can you smell the gold fish?" I answered, "No," and then went back to sleep wherein I dreamed that he was making fun of my newest Netflix addiction: Alias. In reality, we don't have (and have never had) any pet fish and the only time my husband has mentioned Alias is to say that he really wants to start watching it with me. Nevertheless, I think these dreams are important. And, not in a "if you dream about gold fish it means you're going to get gold teeth" way because that's some watered down nonsense. Just in a, "If I don't get my REM sleep, I'm going to end up shouting science fiction originated obscenities at strangers," kind of way.

I get really cranky when I haven't slept. I'm talking, "bite your head off for no reason" cranky. Typically, I am a completely pleasant person. I'm good natured and easy going and highly adaptive, unless I've got some sleep debt. I've always been that way but it wasn't until I saw the TNG episode, "Night Terrors" that I suddenly had some scientific (mind you: science brought to you by science fiction) reason for why I can be such a cranky bastard.

In "Night Terrors" the crew get caught up in a Tyken's Rift (it's like a deep space ditch) and they start drifting, unable to escape. Little by little, they become paranoid and irascible. Soon, they're hallucinating, which only serves to make them them even more cranky. Eventually, Crusher works out that no one has been dreaming and, without REM sleep, they're all losing their grip on reality and descending into an ever-expanding pit of crankyness. This is a process that takes ten days. But, for me, it only takes me being up about twenty minutes past my bed time or waking up twenty minutes too early for me to turn into some kind of John Carpenter-esque jabberwocky version of myself.

I'm not joking. People lose it when they stop dreaming.
This episode was vastly important to me as a child as I used the information I'd gleaned from it to argue my case for staying in bed before school, screaming, "If I don't get any REM sleep, I'm going to start hallucinating! Do you care nothing for my mental health?" It didn't often work and I usually just ended up sitting at my desk with bedhead, looking like the grumpiest Trekkie ever.

On another note: today, while watching this episode, I actually fell asleep. When I woke up, I had to rewind it to make sure I didn't dream Worf trying to kill himself and Jennifer Garner helping Data escape the Tyken's Rift by wearing a sexy blue wig and rattling off a lot of "facts." Oh, actually, one of those things was a dream.


  1. I never used to dream. EVER. But for the past 6 months or so, I've been having the most vivid, bizarre dreams ever. Like the whole "give birth to a baby penguin" thing. Le sigh. I get you, Scott.

    1. Oh dear! I'm glad you've been dreaming/remembering your dreams. One of my very earliest memories is of a nightmare I had in preschool--it was super weird. Aside from bad dreams though, I treasure my dreams. I even have like a recurring "set" where most of my dreams take place. Maybe I should write about this...

  2. I remember this episode. Your recaps make me want to watch the whole series again, start to finish, too.

    This explains so much for me. My sleep has been awful the last few months, and I constantly feel like I'm losing my mind. I guess I really AM. Hmmm.


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