Forget counting sheep. If you really want a good night's sleep, all you may need is your romantic partner's favorite T-shirt wrapped around your pillow.
New research accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep. This is true regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware that the scent is even present.
A growing body of evidence has shown that close relationships are essential to our health and well being. But far less is known about the role of scent in relationships and social support processes. The current study provides new evidence that the mere scent of a romantic partner improves sleep efficiency." Frances Chen, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and co-author on the paper
Previous research has shown that romantic relationships and close physical contact can provide many physical and mental benefits, including aiding in a good night's sleep. Other research has shown that scents can have profound and evocative effects on the brain. What has not yet been clearly demonstrated is a direct connection between the two.
Chen and graduate student Marlise Hofer set out to investigate this intersection and to understand how romance, scent, and sleep interact.
Chen and Hofer began their research by asking one member of a heterosexual couple in a long-term (three or more months) relationship to wear a plain cotton T-shirt for 24 hours. During this time, the wearer was to avoid typical scent-producing behaviors, like eating spicy food or doing vigorous exercise. They were also told to avoid perfume, cologne, and antiperspirants. The T-shirt was then hermetically sealed and frozen. Related Stories
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