No need for sleeping pills
One of the chemicals that regulate our sleep is melatonin, and when people have trouble sleeping they often take a melatonin supplement to help them sleep. Those supplements usually improve your sleeping quality by two percent. According to the study, sleeping with a partner’s scent (even if it’s just on the pillow next to you or wearing one of their shirts as pajamas) can improve your sleep quality just as well.
Testing it out
The research was conducted on a group of 155 subjects. At first, the subjects’ partners were given a shirt they had to wear for 24 hours. During that time, they were not allowed to use deodorant, smoke, or eat food that has an effect on their body odor. Then, each subject was given their partner’s shirt along with a different shirt that was either clean or worn by a stranger. Each shirt was then used as a pillowcase for the subject to sleep on, switching back and forth between the two. Each night of sleep was followed by a survey the participants filled out when they woke up, and the movements they make in their sleep were monitored by an actigraphy machine. Unsurprisingly, when sleeping on the pillowcase that had their partner’s pheromones on it, they moved less and felt more rested the next day.
Why is that?
Psychology is not necessarily a factor here as the participants weren’t told which pillowcase they were sleeping on, and stills tossed and turned a lot less when they were exposed to their partners’ scents. The theory says that it works because feeling like your long-term romantic partner is by your side helps you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed, which helps you sleep better. In the future, the researchers would like to test if there is a similar effect on babies when they are exposed to their parents’ scent.