So there’s a health benefit to sleeping in your boyfriend sweater?
According to newly released psychology data from the University of British Columbia, people who are exposed to their partner’s scent overnight experience better sleep. In order to come up with this finding, which has been accepted for publication in Psychological Science, researchers analyzed the sleep of 155 participants.
Specifically, these participants used a set of identical-looking t-shirts as pillowcases. One of those pillowcases, as you might expect, was worn by the participants’ romantic partner while the other was a clean shirt. In order to better capture the partners’ scent, the shirts were worn for 24 hours without the use of deodorant or scented body products. Partners were also warned against certain activities like exercising, smoking, or eating certain foods, according to Science Daily.
After spending two consecutive nights sleeping with each t-shirt, and not knowing which shirt was which, participants filled out a survey about the quality of their sleep. Plus, researchers also used an actigraphy sleep watch to monitor the movements of sleepers during the night. In the end, participants reported feeling more well-rested when near their partner’s scent. Plus, the sleep watches showed the same thing.
“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 Marlise Hofer, the study’s lead. “We saw an effect similar in size to what has been reported from taking oral melatonin supplements — often used as a sleep aid.”
“One of the most surprising findings is how a romantic partner’s scent can improve sleep quality even outside of our conscious awareness,” said Frances Chen, the study’s senior. “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.”
As for some guesses to why participants responded that way, researchers hypothesized that a partner’s scent was connected to a sense of safety, which resulted in relaxation and better sleep. In order to expand more on this researcher, the research team is to conduct a pilot study to look into whether a parent’s scent can increase the quality of sleep for infants.
Sources: Science Daily