Michael Jackson may have incidentally set a new world record, going sixty days without REM sleep says one expert.
In an expert testimony on Thursday it was revealed that Michael Jackson, determined to set a world record for the most successful live tour ever, may have unknowingly set a different record instead. The 60 days of propofol infusions that Dr. Conrad Murray issued to Jackson during the planning days of his tour may have deprived the singer of actual REM sleep.
Propofol interferes with the regular sleeping cycle, leaving those who take it feeling rested although they have received no REM sleep, Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School sleep expert said during testimony transcribed by CNN, in the suit filed by Jackson's family against AEG Live.
The drug can trick the human body into feeling like it is rest, but deprives the body of actual REM sleep, which is necessary to the brain.
"It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner," Czeisler told the courtroom. "Your stomach would be full and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfill any of your nutrition needs."
A lack of REM sleep could inevitably lead to death.
"Like a computer, the brain has to go offline to maintain cells that we keep for life, since we don't make more," he said. "Sleep is the repair and maintenance of the brain cells."
Jackson's behavior prior to his death suggests that the pop singer had been deeply deprived of sleep. His reactions were slow, he suffered an inability to remember lyrics to his own songs, and he was easily agitated amongst other qualities that suggest the singer was not getting any sleep.
Jackson's family has filed suit against AEG, citing that the company failed to show proper concern for their client, pushing Jackson to continue on a tour when they were aware of his worsening condition.