Michael Jackson Without Sleep: Singer Didn’t Have REM Sleep For 60 Nights

June 21, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Michael Jackson without sleep: The singer went 60 nights without REM–rapid eye movement–sleep.

“The symptoms that Mr. Jackson was exhibiting were consistent with what someone might expect to see of someone suffering from total sleep deprivation over a chronic period,” Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School sleep expert, testified Friday at the wrongful-death trial of concert promoter AEG Live, according to CNN.

During REM, quick and random movements of the eyes happen, while the muscles stay still. The REM sleep cycle happens four or five times a night with most people. 

What happened after Jackson experienced this stretch of two months without REM sleep.

The singer and dancer couldn’t do standard dances or remember the words to songs he had sang for decades, said Czeisler. He also talked to himself and was hearing voices, and he lost a lot of weight.

Cziesler consults for NASA, the CIA, and the Rolling Stones, according to CNN.

Jackson did sleep during the 60 night time period but it was drug induced (propofol infusions)–the drugs were given by Czeisler–and those drugs enable people to sleep but rob people of the benefits that genuine sleep gives, such as repairing brain cells.

“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner,” Czeisler said. “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.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber