We're already accustomed to a ton of weird things that we read on the Internet so we're hardly ever surprised by anything, but there are still things that can catch us by surprise and this is one of those. Having trouble sleeping? Worry not, new research has found that smelling your partner's shirt can induce sleep like never before. Okay, maybe we exaggerated a little but it does claim to help improve the quality of your sleep.
“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,” said the lead researcher, Marlise Hofer. “We saw an effect similar in size to what has been reported from taking oral melatonin supplements -- often used as a sleep aid,” added Hofer.
For the research, around 155 participants were asked to sleep with their partner's shirts. First, their roimantic partners were given a clean t-shirt to wear and were asked to refrain from any thing that could affect their natural odour. This included things like smoking, eating certain foods, working out and using deodorants.
The participants were then given two t-shirts - one that was worn by their partner and one which was worn by a stranger or was clean. The participants were not told which was which and were asked to spend two consecutive nights with each t-shirt as a pillowcase. Their sleep was also measured using an actigraphy sleep watch.
The participants then filled out a survey each morning and the results were clear; most of them slept better on the pillows with their partner's t-shirt on them. Even the sleep watch calculated the same result. “One of the most surprising findings is how a romantic partner’s scent can improve sleep quality even outside of our conscious awareness,” said another researcher Frances Chen. “The sleep watch data showed that participants experienced less tossing and turning when exposed to their partners’ scent, even if they weren’t aware of whose scent they were smelling,” Chen added.