Misconception Monday – Do we eat spiders in our sleep?

At some point in your life, you have probably heard that every individual human eats at least 8 (or 4, or 10, or 1000…etc) spiders while their sleeping (throughout their whole lifetime). So, is this really true? It seems reasonable (especially if you’re an open-mouth sleeper like I am); perhaps those little teeny-tiny spiders might go unnoticed during your rest. But still, how was that number really calculated?

The short answer: It never was.

The long answer: No one has ever actually studied this phenomenon. Why is that? Most likely because it does not occur, or so rarely occurs, that it is likely to go unnoticed. For the most part, scientists test things only if they have a good reason to. I tried thinking of a good reason for testing how many spiders we eat in our sleep, and couldn’t think of even one. They aren’t dangerous to our health, and it’s so rarely witnessed, that I don’t know why any scientist would ever complete this study.

For some logical reasoning as to why it is very unlikely that humans eat spiders while sleeping, you can read this article from The Straight Dope (an urban legend debunking /fact-checking site).

Still, one has to wonder *why* a myth like this was started in the first place. Some websites claim a reporter named Lisa Holst came up with this myth in 1993 as a sort of prank on society, in an article titled “Reading is Believing.” However, other sites have claimed that this article does not exist, and I was not able to find it, either. And so, for now, there is no real answer to where the myth truly originated.

That being said, if you’re still skeptical as to whether or not this myth is true, you could always try videotaping yourself while you sleep for a year or longer! I can’t guarantee what you’ll find in regards to this myth, but I can guarantee that you will be bored! :)

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