Spiders that enter our mouths and end up being swallowed at night while we sleep peacefully… This story has been told many times. But is it a myth or a reality?
It’s the kind of story we tell ourselves to scare ourselves on Halloween night or during any gathering with family or friends. The idea that we swallow insects during the night has been surprisingly quite widespread in recent years, notably due to anecdotes circulating on social networks or stories published on websites. There is even a funny urban legend claiming that each person swallows an average of two spiders per year while they sleep. Others claim that insects are attracted to the warmth and humidity of our mouths at night.
There is food and drink in these stories, but the figures on swallowed spiders are largely unfounded. Insects, including spiders, are not inclined to enter our mouths while we are sleeping peacefully. Spiders are generally fearful of our species and prefer to avoid interactions with humans.
In addition, it is a biological reality: the mouth is not a really attractive environment for insects because of the slime it contains and the respiration. Insects, in general, are more likely to be attracted to sources of food or heat, rather than a sleeper’s mouth. And spiders are very sensitive to any vibration, they tend to run away, because they associate them with potential predators.
However, it is not impossible that this could happen by accident. But this is nothing serious, the small insects which could end up in your stomach during the night will not cause any discomfort, you will not be affected. Also know that a natural reflex in the event of a small threat perceived during the night is to wake up if something very unusual happens.
However, the answer to this question would not be completely complete without what follows: we swallow many insects in knowledge… while we are awake! Insects are already present in what we consume. According to the National Food Agency, we swallow around 500 grams of insects per year, on average, without realizing it. Farmers’ crops are almost always invaded by a few small creatures and therefore contain pieces of insects, which end up in a whole bunch of everyday foods. It’s not very appetizing, but it has no impact!