Sleeping with your romantic partner’s T-shirt and smelling their natural scent can stop you tossing and turning in bed and help you get an extra hour’s sleep a week, study finds
- Scent of a romantic partner was found to increase sleep quantity and quality
- Partner’s smell improves sleep quality as people toss and turn far less
- People with their partner’s smell also slept for an extra nine minutes a night
- The benefit is as strong as taking sleeping aides such as melatonin supplements
Cuddling your partner’s T-shirt and being able to smell their unique scent might be the secret to high-quality sleep.
A study from researchers at the University of British Colombia found sleeping with the natural odour of a lover improves the quality of rest.
Sleeping with their scent, even if they aren’t there physically, improves sleep length by nine minutes a night – the equivalent of an hour a week – and decreases tossing and turning.
The benefit is as strong as taking sleeping aides such as melatonin supplements, the scientists claim.
Cuddling your partner’s T-shirt and being able to smell their unique scent might be the secret to high-quality sleep. People who slept with their partner’s smell had, on average, nine minutes more sleep a night despite their partner not even being present (stock)
Scientists conducted experiments in which 155 participants slept with two different T-shirts as pillow cases.
One carried their partner’s scent and the other was completely clean and bland.
The shirts had been worn by their romantic partner for a period of 24 hours in order to capture their body scent.
The partners had also been asked to not use deodorant, scented body products, smoke, exercise or eat certain foods, such as spicy dishes to avoid distorting their body odour.
They were then hermetically sealed and frozen to preserve their smell. The other shirt had either been worn by a stranger or was clean.
A study from researchers at the University of British Colombia found sleeping with the natural odour of a lover improves the quality of rest. The effect is as strong as taking sleeping aides such as melatonin supplements, the scientists claim
WHAT IS MELATONIN?
Melatonin is a hormone which controls how asleep or awake people feel.
The hormone is produced in the pineal gland in the brain and its release into the body is controlled by light.
During the day, when the eye absorbs light, melatonin levels in the body are low and, as a result, we feel awake.
But when darkness settles and the amount of light being absorbed by the eye reduces (although this is disrupted in modern societies because of artificial light), more melatonin circulates round the body.
Melatonin prepares the body for sleep by slowing the heart rate, reducing blood pressure, and changing how heat is stored in the body – the body’s core temperature drops while the outside of the body and the limbs become warmer.
The hormone also makes people feel sleepy.
Melatonin supplements can be taken to aid sleep in people who have problems with it, as well as for certain medical conditions such as tinnitus or Alzheimer’s disease.
Sources: Medical News Today and Journal of Applied Physics
The participants were asked to sleep with each T-shirt over their pillow for two consecutive nights without knowing which was which.
Their sleep quality was measured using an actigraphy sleep watch, which detects movement throughout the night.
The data from the watch revealed participant’s with their partner’s smell next to them had a more peaceful sleep and did not toss and turn as much.
The next morning, participants were asked to fill in a survey saying how well rested they felt.
People who slept with their partner’s smell had, on average, nine minutes more sleep a night despite their partner not even being present.
Over the course of a week, this adds up to more than one hour of extra rest.
Study author Marlise Hofer, at the University of British Columbia, in Canada, said: ‘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.’
She added: ‘We saw an effect similar in size to what has been reported from taking oral melatonin supplements – often used as a sleep aid.’