Do We Really Eat Bugs in Our Sleep?

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with the lingering feeling that you just ate a bug while sleeping? This common myth has been circulating for years, causing many to worry about unintentionally consuming insects during their nightly slumber. But is there any truth to the saying that we eat bugs in our sleep? Let’s delve deeper into this topic and separate fact from fiction.

Myth or Reality: Do We Really Eat Bugs in Our Sleep?

There is no doubt that bugs can be found in our homes, including our bedrooms. This often leads people to wonder whether these pesky insects are making their way into our mouths while we sleep. While it may seem like a logical conclusion, the truth is that there is no scientific evidence to support the notion that we consume bugs in our sleep.

The Science Behind Our Sleep

Before we delve into whether we eat bugs in our sleep, it’s important to understand the science behind our slumber. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are five stages of sleep that alternate throughout the night, with the first four stages being non-REM sleep and the fifth stage being REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It’s during REM sleep that we experience periods of vivid dreams, while our bodies remain virtually immobile.

How Bugs End Up in Our Bedrooms

  • Bugs can come inside our homes accidentally, such as through open windows or doors.
  • If there is clutter in a bedroom, bugs such as cockroaches or spiders can establish themselves there.
  • Beds can also become a safe haven for bed bugs.

While it’s true that bugs can find their way into our homes and bedrooms, it’s highly unlikely that they will crawl into our mouths while we sleep.

Why the Myth Persists

The notion that we eat bugs in our sleep likely originated from the fact that we swallow small insects during our waking hours without even realizing it. This phenomenon is known as incidental ingestion and occurs when insects are present in the air and we breathe them in or when they are present on food that we eat.

Additionally, people commonly experience sensations in their mouth or throat that they attribute to a bug crawling inside, when in reality, it’s likely caused by something else such as acid reflux or allergies.

Should You Be Worried About Eating Bugs in Your Sleep?

Despite the lack of evidence that we eat bugs in our sleep, some people still find themselves worrying about the possibility. Fortunately, the chances of accidentally ingesting a bug while asleep are extremely low.

It’s important to maintain a clean and clutter-free sleeping environment, as well as regularly inspecting your bedroom for any signs of infestation. This can help prevent any unwelcome houseguests from making themselves at home in your bedroom.


While the idea of eating bugs in our sleep may seem disturbing, it’s largely a myth. There’s no evidence to support the notion that we consume bugs while sleeping, and the likelihood of it happening is extremely low. Worries about eating bugs in our sleep can be eased by maintaining a clean sleeping environment and regularly inspecting the bedroom for any signs of bugs.


  • Is it true that we eat spiders while we sleep?

    No, this is a common myth but there is no scientific evidence to support it.

  • Can bugs crawl into our ears while we sleep?

    It’s highly unlikely for a bug to crawl into your ear while you sleep. Insects generally do not intentionally seek out human ears, but accidental entry can occur.

  • What should I do if I suspect there are bed bugs in my bedroom?

    It’s important to take action promptly if you suspect a bed bug infestation in your bedroom. This can include washing bedding and clothing in hot water, vacuuming the bed and surrounding areas, and seeking professional pest control services if necessary.


  • National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Stages of Sleep. Retrieved from
  • Purdue University. (n.d.). Do People Really Swallow Spiders in Their Sleep? Retrieved from
  • Smithsonian Magazine. (2014). Fact or Fiction: People Swallow Eight Spiders a Year While They Sleep. Retrieved from

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