The scent of a romantic partner can improve sleep, suggests new psychology research from the University of British Columbia.
The researchers found that study participants who were exposed to their partner's scent overnight experienced better sleep quality, even though their partner was not physically present.
Our findings provide new evidence that merely sleeping with a partner's scent improves sleep efficiency. Our participants had an average sleep efficiency improvement of more than two per cent. We saw an effect similar in size to what has been reported from taking oral melatonin supplements - often used as a sleep aid." Marlise Hofer, the study's lead author and a graduate student in the UBC department of psychology
For the study, the researchers analyzed sleep data from 155 participants who were given two identical-looking t-shirts to use as pillowcases - one had been previously worn by their romantic partner, and the other had either been previously worn by a stranger or was clean.
To capture body odor on the t-shirts, the participants' partners were given a clean t-shirt to wear for 24 hours, and were asked to refrain from using deodorant and scented body products, smoking, exercising and eating certain foods that could affect their body odor. The t-shirts were then frozen to preserve their scent.
Each participant was then given two shirts to place over their pillows, without being told which one was which. They spent two consecutive nights sleeping with each t-shirt. Each morning, they completed a survey about how well-rested they felt. Their sleep quality was also objectively measured using an actigraphy sleep watch that monitored their movements throughout the night. At the end of the study, participants guessed if the shirts they had been sleeping with had previously been worn by their partner. Related Stories
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