Sleepless in Hollywood

Sleepless in Hollywood

Sleepless in Hollywood

What do Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, and now Michael Jackson have in common? Insomnia, prescription drugs, and premature death

   

Sleepless in Hollywood

image by: cottonbro

The list of celebrities who claim to be battling insomnia continues to grow. Some have been hospitalized or participated in sleep studies. Some depend on natural sleep aids for relief.  Many times the drugs involved are legal prescription drugs that are ordered by the star's own doctor. 

Sadly, the list of celebrities that are using extreme measures to get a good night's sleep with fatal consequences is also increasing. Now, the question is; why are celebrities using sleep aids and ignoring the risks? Possible answer: Too much partying, fast living, thrill-seeking, and pressure to perform lead to sleepless nights. 

Michael Jackson’s shocking death is possibly another reminder of the pressures celebrities face.  Jackson was known as “the King of Pop” and now, unfortunately, he’ll be remembered as the latest star to possibly die from an accidental overdose of sleep medication or even perhaps from a combination of several prescription drugs.  Facing intense pressure, Michael was suffering from anxiety and insomnia while preparing for what was being touted as “the greatest comeback of all time”. The controversial 50-year-old musician died Thursday as he was preparing for a series of 50 back-to-back concerts in London. 

In an Associated Press article, Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse, said that Michael Jackson suffered from sleep deprivation and sought relief. She said that Michael told her "All I want is to be able to sleep. I want to be able to sleep eight hours. I know I'll feel better the next day”. He then requested a drug called Diprivan (propofol).  Ms. Lee said that, although she refused to give Jackson the drug and despite warnings that it could be harmful to his health, she feared that he had acquired it elsewhere. 

Diprivan is a widely-used intravenous anesthetic used primarily for outpatient surgical procedures due to its very rapid onset, sometimes as fast as 30 seconds, and rapid recovery.  However, knowing that Diprivan is used only in hospital settings, how could this drug end up in the hands of someone like Jackson? 

Insomnia is on the rise worldwide. It is one of the most common medical complaints. According to the Mayo Clinic, “More than one-third of adults have insomnia at some time, while 10 to 15 percent report long-term (chronic) insomnia". While a stressful lifestyle is considered the usual scapegoat, insomnia most often stems from some other problem, such as a medical condition that causes pain or the use of substances that interfere with sleep.

No matter what your age or circumstances, insomnia is usually treatable. Changes to your routine during the day and when you go to bed may be all it takes. Then again, it may not be that easy.


Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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Last Updated : Thursday, October 27, 2022