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Smelling your lover s shirt improves sleep quality, new research suggests

Smelling your lover s shirt improves sleep quality, new research suggests
Health
Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that study participants who were exposed to their partners scent overnight experienced better sleep quality, even though their partner was not physically present.

Our participants had an average sleep efficiency improvement of more than two per cent, said Marlise Hofer, the studys lead author and a graduate student in the UBC Department of Psychology.

We saw an effect similar in size to what has been reported from taking oral melatonin supplements, often used as a sleep aid.

The study analyzed sleep data from 155 people who were given two identical-looking T-shirts to use as pillowcases: one had been worn by their romantic partner and the other had been worn by a stranger or was clean.

One of the most surprising findings is how a romantic partners scent can improve sleep quality even outside of our conscious awareness, said Frances Chen, the studys senior author and associate professor in the UBC department of psychology.

Study participants werent told which T-shirt was which and spent two consecutive nights sleeping with each one. Each morning, they completed a survey about how well-rested they felt.

The researchers said the physical presence of a long-term partner is associated with positive health outcomes such as a sense of safety, calm and relaxation, which in turn leads to better sleep.

By signalling recent physical proximity, the mere scent of a partner may have similar benefits, the researchers said.

Hofer said the research could pave the way for future work to improve sleep, such as bringing a partners shirt when travelling alone.

The researchers are now recruiting participants for a pilot study to investigate whether the scent of parents can improve their babys sleep quality.
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