This time old statistic has been thrown around as fact and as myth. Whatever generations you are from, surely you at some point were told that we swallow a certain amount of spiders every year. But is it even possible to swallow spiders during our sleep? Does this urban legend actually hold any grain of truth?
Good news! It appears the original article that caused this statistic to be spread so far and wide was all a hoax. So the chances that you are actually going to swallow a spider whole while sleeping are pretty much zero.
Lisa Holst a columnist for PC Professional in the 1990s decided to conduct an experiment around people believing anything that you read online. You see she had a theory that people would really just believe anything online if you presented it will with some facts and statistics. Holst put together a whole list of fabricated data that showed the average human will devour eight spiders per year. As Holst suspected the report quickly went viral and was accepted as a fact. But the fake news did not stay in the past and has followed younger generations along. So much so that now some people really do seem to believe it is true.
What does science actually say then? Generally, insects are not going to go after a larger predator. Chances are if they are smaller they will get smashed and they know it. Spiders are going to feel the vibrations of your breathing. They will sense your heat presence and know that you are much bigger. Much too big to eat, so why would they go running over your face? No, actually scientific reports have ever been run on the topic and probably never will be. How come?
Quite simply because no scientist is going to care. What would this sort of study accomplish? Nothing at all! Therefore the chances of swallowing a spider will always be considered almost none. But if it is almost it could happen then? Well, nothing is impossible. Pretty unlikely though, first you would need to be sleeping with your mouth wide open.
Next, you would have to find a spider willing to climb into your mouth and let’s face it. Do you brush your teeth every day? Not to mention you would probably wake up if the spider crawled over your face and mouth. So that means the scenario would require a spider to drop from the ceiling on a silk thread. Directly into your mouth, scamper across your tongue(Still not waking you up!) and then you would need to swallow at that exact moment.
These series of events are just highly unlikely. No, we are not unknowingly feasting on spiders during the night, go back to sleep and rest easy.