Whether you’ve heard it or seen it, the idea of eating spiders while sleeping is not a real thing. It’s a myth that’s been circulating since the ’50s. But is it actually true?
Arachnids are creatures that use their eyesight, vibration receptors on their legs, and chemical cues to detect their prey. They don’t like people very much. That’s why they usually hang out in quiet places.
When you sleep, your body produces vibrations that warn arachnids of danger. If they are disturbed while you are sleeping, they run away. This is one reason why you tend to swallow less during the deep stages of your sleep.
In order to swallow a spider, you would need to open your mouth wide. But most people don’t do that. The arachnid would have to crawl on your tongue, lips, or throat, and then land at the back of your throat.
Despite these odds, some people claim to have eaten a spider while they were asleep. These claims usually have no proof, and some of the earliest references to the idea came from email chains and social media.
Assuming that the person who said they swallowed a spider while they were sleeping was a gullible person, many of these posts are simply silly. One rumor states that three or eight spiders can be eaten in a person’s lifetime. Another says four. There’s no way you could ever eat that many.
Some experts say that you’d have to swallow at least a hundred spiders to do it. Others estimate that you’d need to eat as many as 20,000 during your lifetime.