Feeling Stressed? Your Partner's Scent May Calm You
When your partner is away overnight, do you find comfort sleeping on his or her side of the bed? If so, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada suggests there’s a biological reason for this.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the scent of a romantic partner helps reduce stress levels. The study involved 96 opposite-sex couples. Researchers gave the men clean T-shirts to wear for 24 hours and instructed them not to smoke, eat strong-smelling foods, or use deodorant or scented body products during this time. They then froze the T-shirts to preserve their scent.
Next, the women in the study were randomly assigned to smell a T-shirt that was unworn, had been worn by their partner, or had been worn by a stranger, and underwent tests to measure stress levels. According to the researchers, women were assigned as “smellers” because they tend to have a better sense of smell than men. Women who had smelled their partner’s shirt were less stressed before and after the tests, while those who had smelled a stranger’s shirt had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.