What are the number of spiders eaten in your sleep every year? We will try to shed a little light on this often heard of fact, and point out that it’s utterly and completely false.
There’s an often quoted factoid that circulates on the internet that says the average person will eat eight spiders in their sleep a year. The numbers often change, along with the time frame, but the premise remains the same. You somehow manage to eat several presumably live, and still kicking spiders, all while you’re sleeping. Ewww, right? It’s enough to make the average persons skin crawl, and I can only imagine how an arachnophobe must feel about it.
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Is it even possible to eat spiders in your sleep?
Technically it is. But it’s also possible to eat just about anything in your sleep if the circumstances are correct. That’s where some of the faults within the factoid lie. What’s the likelihood that a spider will enter your mouth to be eaten, at the point that your moth is also open? Relatively slim one would think. But there’s also other problems, such as swallowing the spider while avoiding a spider bite, and encouraging a spider to enter a wind tunnel, which is something they normally avoid. But even then, it’s still possible.
Several people have reported eating spiders in their sleep. It’s usually not something they distinctly remember doing, they discover what the believe to be spider remains. It is possible that these spiders are just other insects, or even just fluff. In saying all of this, there have been some documented cases, but they are so rare that it doesn’t give and credence to it occurring on a regular basis and to every living person.
Where did the fact about the number of spiders eaten in your sleep come from?
It was a made up fact to demonstrate how easily unsubstantiated facts can spread on the internet, which I think demonstrates how well it actually works.
Lisa Holst, who was a columnist with PC Professional was the current author of the factoid. In 1993 she wrote an article about a list of facts that were circulating via emails, and how easily some gullible people accepted them as being truthful. To demonstrate this she made her own list up, and the number of spiders eaten in your sleep was one of them. But she wasn’t the origin of the factoid. She got it from a 1954 book on common insect folklore.